For domestic tourists, Ureshino, Saga Prefecture, is synonymous with onsen (hot springs), ceramics and green tea.

Every year, the city attracts tens of thousands of visitors from across the country. Most join a tour or workshop at one of the kiln halls or museums to learn about the local Hizen-Yoshida pottery, which dates back 400 years, before taking a soak in the area’s onsen with waters considered among the top three nationwide for beautifying skin. Still more try tea picking, explore tea factories or go shopping for tea and tea-related souvenirs.

However, Ureshino has long missed out on the same level of interest from overseas visitors. Outside Japan, few people are aware of the vital role this city of 25,000 people has played in shaping the country’s green tea culture.