Despite having saddled itself with the dire name of Centrair Airport, Japan's newest air facility, which opened last month near Nagoya, looks to have started off well enough.

Like Kansai International Airport, Centrair has been built on an offshore artificial island. But whereas Kansai International has physically subsided 12 meters and sunk into a financial pit as investment has subsided even more drastically, Centrair has been built on solid seabed and was constructed under budget. Also unlike its Kansai cousin, Centrair has an interesting spot right on its doorstep -- a town by the name of Tokoname.

Most passengers arriving at Centrair will naturally want to whisk themselves with all due haste straight to Nagoya -- on that trundling little Meitetsu Line that takes absolutely forever. But Tokoname is an interesting town and most definitely worth a stop, even if you don't happen to be an aficionado of the commodity with which it is most closely associated. Since ancient times, Tokoname has been one of the great centers of ceramic production in Japan.