[Kyushu 100] Saga Tourist Spot Top 30
“Kyushu 100″ is the project to introduce the fascinations of 100 spots representing Kyushu chosen by traveler’s review. In order to let you know more fascination of Kyushu beyond 100 spots, we introduce the spots for “Eat” ,”Play” and “Stay” of 7 prefectures in ranking order.
Saga Prefecture, having a long history of interaction with the Asian Continent because of its location in the northern part of Kyushu, abounds in sites to illustrate the history. In addition to a number of ruins and tourist spots flavored with culture, the rich nature must not be overlooked. Here, unique tourist spots in Saga Prefecture are introduced in the order of popularity.
Former Takatori House (Karatsu City)
This is a wooden residence of Koreyoshi Takatori, known as owner of Saga’s largest Kishima coal mine and other mines. There are 2 large structures on a 7,600㎡parcel of land. While the residence has a characteristic of modern Japanese architecture with both Japanese- and Western-style rooms, it has its unique features such as a Noh stage in the great hall.
Yutoku Inari Shrine (Kashima City)
The tower gate and the main shrine are lavishly lacquered throughout and richly colored. If you follow the approach road which continues to the hill behind, walking up the stairs, you will find the inner shrine. The shrine nestled among rows and rows of Torii gates in the mountain quietly exudes a fantastic and mysterious atmosphere. Turn around, and the magnificent scenery of Kashima City and Ariake Sea spreads out.
The Kyushu Ceramic Museum (Arita Town)
This is a museum specializing in ceramics from not only Hizen Province (old name for Saga Prefecture) but also from different districts in Kyushu. The Arita ware trick-action musical box clock is worth seeing. Its dial face 70cm in diameter opens up every half an hour, activating the clock’s beautiful trick mechanism.
#4 Kagamiyama Observatory (Karatsu City)
Kagamiyama Observatory is a viewpoint from which the entire panoramic view of Niji-no-matsubara (the rainbow pine grove) and Karatsu Bay can be observed. Mt. Kagami, at 284m in height, has been mentioned by many poets since the Nara period. At the entrance of the observatory, a great Torii gate stands majestically to welcome visitors.
Again, if you have transport, this attraction is easy to reach and free. “Review from ChrisMisa
#5 Yoshinogari Historical Park (Yoshinogari Town)
This is a historical park focused on preservation and restoration of the Yoshinogari ruins, exhibiting excavated artifacts. In the center is the Moat-Encircled Village zone. The Entrance Zone has a mini-theater and a restaurant. The Ancient Field Zone is used for recreational activities such as athletics and ground golf.
#6 Imari Okawachiyama (Imari City)
The perimeter of Mt. Okawachi is a pottery village where the Nabeshima clan of Saga Domain used to have its patronized kiln in the Edo period. Traditional techniques from the Edo period have been handed down from generation to generation and, today, some 30 potteries are still active. The pottery market held twice a year in spring and autumn is bustling with pottery enthusiasts.
#7 Takeo no Okusu (Takeo City)
When you walk past Takeo Shrine through a bamboo thicket, a huge 3,000-year-old camphor tree emerges, boasting a height of 27m and a root circumference of 26m. The hollow at the base is almost 40 ㎡wide. You cannot go inside but can see the Tenjin deity enshrined there.
#8 Nanatsugama (Karatsu City)
Nanatsugama is a group of sea caves on a precipitous cliff in Higashimatsuura Peninsula, known for the beautiful cobalt blue ocean. The unique terrain was formed of basalt eroded by the rough waves of Genkai Sea. It can be seen from promenades and viewing platforms in Genkai Quasi-National Park, but the best view is obtained from a pleasure boat on the water.
#9 Daikozenji Temple (Kiyama Town)
Daikozenji is an old temple located at the foot of Mt. Chigiri, with a history going back as far as 1,300 years. It is famous for azaleas in April-May and for Japanese maples in November-December. During the season for autumn leaves, trees will be illuminated.
We were fortunate enough to go on a sunny day when the azaleas were in full bloom (26 April 2016). One of, if not the most stunning floral vistas I have witnessed all within a tranquil setting. We visited Kawachi Fuji-en Garden on the same day. What a day.We travelled 10000 km to see this and other gardens in Japan. This one day was worth the trip. See the attached photo, it is only part of a hillside of azaleas (looks better at 10mb) “Review from bill2512
#10 Yodohime Shrine (Saga City)
Since its foundation in 564 (25th year of Emperor Kinmei), Yodohime Shrine has been revered and worshipped as home to the god of sea, river and water for over 1,450 years. The shrine’s precinct, where a number of sacred trees including a nearly 1,500-year-old camphor tree are growing, is designated as an important building of the Saga City landscape.
#11 Saga Castle History Museum (Saga City)
This is an authentic reproduction of the Honmaru palace of Saga Castle. The Honmaru palace is the main building where the feudal lord actually governed and resided. Within the museum, there is a 45m-long Tatami-matted corridor and a great hall over 1,000㎡in area. There are devices and facilities such as an information corner simulated as a small private school (of the Edo period) where you can learn things while enjoying.
#12 Mikaeri-no-Taki (Karatsu City)
This is the highest waterfall in Kyushu and is one of Japan’s best 100 waterfalls. From season to season, it is colored by various flowers – such as cherries and Japanese maples – in full bloom, and hydrangeas are particularly beautiful. In June-July, about 40,000 hydrangeas of 40 species will bloom in multiple colors.
#13 Tosu Stadium (Tosu City)
It is the home base of J. League’s Sagan Tosu soccer club. Known as the Best Amenity Stadium, it is a stadium exclusive for soccer games. Its stands are designed with a steep pitch, so that it is highly praised among soccer fans as a great stadium to watch games.
#14 Niji-no-Matsubara (Karatsu City)
Together with Miho-no-Matsubara and Kehi-no-Matsubara, this is a scenic spot considered as one of the three most scenic pine groves in Japan. Here, on a beach in Karatsu Bay, about 1 million Japanese black pines grow in colonies. Since olden days, a legend of seven wonders – such as no cicada shrills in summer and very short height of pines – has been handed down.
#15 Arita Hot Spring (Arita Town)
This is a casual walk-in Onsen spa facility where you can enjoy a unique somewhat slimy hot spring. In the spacious bathing room, there is a cold mineral spring that is perfect on a hot summer day where you can soak in 17-degree spring water directly from the source. There are also 7 privately reserved baths.
#16 Arita Tojinosato Plaza (Arita Town)
It is a shopping mall with 25 shops specializing in Arita ware ceramics. Here, visitors can find a great variety of pottery and chinaware ranging from daily tableware to pieces of art. Throughout the year, various events are held and, in particular, Arita Porcelain Fair held every year during Golden Week attracts a huge number of shoppers.
#17 Former Karatsu Bank (Karatsu City)
Red bricks and white granite provide a graceful contrast on this building. It is a modern architecture designed by a leading Japanese architect, Kingo Tatsuno, who designed the Tokyo Central Station and the Bank of Japan, and one of his disciples, Minoru Tanaka, and completed in 1912 (45th year of Meiji). After an extensive restoration work, the building is now open to the public.
#18 Koransha Arita Honten (Arita Town)
Around the time of Meiji Restoration, Koransha established the delicate and ornate “Koransha Classic” brand and laid the foundation of modern Arita ware. At this main store, visitors may enjoy leisurely shopping in a classic and traditional atmosphere. The Koransha Art Gallery on the 2nd floor is open to the public free of charge.
#19 Takeo City Library (Takeo City)
This is an entirely new style of book center where, in addition to a conventional library and historical archives, Tsutaya book shop, Tsutaya CD/DVD rental shop and Starbucks Coffee are operating under one roof. You can use this library like a book café.
#20 Hamanoura Rice Terrace (Genkai Town)
The terraced paddy field covering the slope in a step-like manner from a little cove at Hamanoura beach presents a unique landscape. During April-May, when the paddies are filled with water, the sight of the ocean and paddies taking on an orange glow of the setting sun is particularly spectacular, attracting a great many tourists from all over the country.
#21 Karatsu Castle (Karatsu City)
When Hideyoshi Toyotomi sent troops to Korea during the War of Bunroku-Keicho, Karatsu Castle was used as the base because of its strategic location. In the Edo period, the castle was demolished by Ieyasu Tokugawa, but was restored to the original glory in 1966 (41st year of Showa). It is a beloved scenic spot overlooking Niji-no-Matsubara pine grove.
#22 Kunen-an (Kanzaki City)
It is called Kunen-an (a 9-year hermitage) because it took 9 years to build the garden from 1900 (33rd year of Meiji). Azaleas and Japanese maples are planted throughout the 6,800㎡ garden, and colored autumn maple leaves are truly magnificent. A Sukiya-style (built in the manner of a tea-ceremony house) villa built in 1892 (25th year of Meiji) is very much worth seeing.
#23 Yobuko Ohashi (Karatsu City)
Yobuko Ohashi is a 728m-long bridge linking Yobuko and Kabe Island. It is the largest cable-stayed bridge in Japan with pre-stressed concrete girders. Closer down to the sea, there is Benten promenade, where you can enjoy a stroll looking up at the bridge above and feeling the sea breeze.
#24 Takeo Onsen (Takeo City)
The tower gate, which was designed by Kingo Tatsuno and is now designated as an Important Cultural Property, is a symbolic landmark of this Onsen spa town. The spring water is transparent, rich in moisture-retaining property, and is classified as mildly alkaline simple hot spring. It is soft and pleasant on your skin. Please enjoy an exquisite bathing experience.
#25 Road Station Tara (Tara Town)
At the local specialty products shop “Tarafuku-kan”, mandarin oranges are divided into lots by producer, and customers can choose their favorite by comparing the taste. The Kinboshi Pork Burger served at the restaurant “Ryoshi-no-Yakata” is a popular and inexpensive local specialty fast food.
#26 Tozan Shrine (Arita Town)
Tozan Shrine is a very unique shrine where everything – from Torii gate to guardian dogs and down to balustrade – is made of pottery. At this shrine, Lee Cam Pyung, the pioneer of Arita porcelain is enshrined and, since its foundation in around 1658 in the early Edo period, it has been much worshipped by potters.
#27 Kashima Road Station (Kashima City)
People visit roadside stations to buy fresh local agricultural and marine products. Here in Kashima, the special feature is that visitors can experience a variety of things in the mudflat of the adjacent Ariake Sea. You can try the traditional fishing method called Mutsukake to catch Mutsugoro mudskippers, or Subokaki to catch Warasubo (a kind of eel goby) that lives only in the Ariake Sea in Japan.
#28 Nagoya Castle Ruins (Karatsu City)
There used to stand a 5-layer 7-story castle tower, but it was destroyed in the early Edo period. These days, people visit here after beautiful cherry blossoms in spring and after the superb view of distant Tsushima in winter. The excavated stone walls and remains of old buildings are worth seeing, too.
#29 Hikiyama Exhibition Hall (Karatsu City)
The autumn regular festival of Karatsu Shrine known as Karatsu Kunchi is a favorite seasonal tradition, with enormous floats going around the old castle town. At this exhibition hall, these floats are on public display all year round (except during the festival), so that you may take a good look at the gorgeous decoration up close.
#30 China on the Park (Arita Town)
This is a theme park on chinaware, operated by the distinguished Arita potter of Fukagawa Seiji. There is Gallery Chujikan where items of chinaware are on display. Jikigura is an outlet store directly operated by the factory. And there is a restaurant where you can enjoy French cuisine served on tableware made by Fukagawa.
Every spot of “Kyushu 100″ chosen by travelers is full of fascination. Now, let’s go and experience 100 spots chosen by travelers!
Ranking method:”Saga Tourist Spot Top 30″ was aggregated by the unique algorithm based on the review evaluations in Japanese posted during September 2015 – August 2016 in terms of Tourist Spots in Saga.