[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.

Photo by miyosiko

Photo by salmasan

Excellent example of a wealthy industrialist utilising the best craftsmen of the period to produce Japanese features at the turn of the 20th century. One room only is westernised for the comfort of his European guests. Stunning outlooks would have existed when first built including a view of Karatsu Castle. Review from wakeling2015
We had a wonderful tour at the Takatori House. For 510yen, we were provided with a guided tour in English. Our guide took us throughout the home pointing out art, explaining how each room was used, and educating us on the customs of the era. There were also signs in English in each room.The home is a national treasure and is owned by the city of Karatsu.Review from Klm9802

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.

Photo by タルボ

Photo by mofumofu2

This was one of the highlights of our Japan trip. Instead of starting at HizenKashima station and taking the bus, I contacted Saga Trip Genius to ask if it was possible to cycle to the temple from HizenHama station. When we got there there were bicycles waiting for us. The man at the station was very helpful, gave us directions and looked after our bags. The ride there was easy, just under 3 kms and flat. The temple was beautiful and we climbed up to the top which was much more difficult than the bicycle ride. Review from jingjo j
Very different from the traditional shrines as this one is built on a slope and requires quite some climbing. When you climb up the path is lines with small shrines each with its own gate(s). Reaching the top in summer was a bit of a challenge, but rewarding.Mainly Japanese worshippers/visitors and without a car this shrine is time consuming to reach. One of our highlights.Review from Stephan1954

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.

Photo by takayuki t

Photo by takayuki t

We arrived at Arita station at 3.45pm it was a 2 minute walk to the base of the hill, then 10 minute walk/climb up the hill to the museum.Free Entry and there are 3 connecting exhibition rooms plus the basement of special collection. Main exhibition rooms have English name tags but not English explanations.Really beautiful works, excellent variety.Review from ChloCasabi

#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.

Photo by コナパッチョ

“We ride bikes, and this small mountain is a lovely summit to visit, the observatory offers an amazing view of Karatsu, Karatsu Castle and the sea. At the top there is a small shop, where last time we visited, we we offered tea, there is a gift shop, a noodle shop and a lovely pottery shop, for which Karatsu is famous. There is a walking course as well as a small lake, so not only is the observation point is interesting.
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.

Photo by おおもりみかん

Entrance fee is nothing compare to their well management. This is like historical park, huge property with history of old time. Fascinating to know how people live in the past. Recommend to those who likes history and culture.Review from Wichayakorn

#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.

Photo by tukusigal

Surrounded by mountains on three sides, the Nabeshima potters, favorites of the ruling class were relocated here over 400 years ago to keep their techniques and formulas secret. This is one of the main places Imari ware, so loved and copied in Europe, was developed. The village houses step up the mountain on brick paths with a lush green forest base; old kilns can be seen between the houses.Review from Catbird28
There a quite a few shops lining this quiet pretty village. The shops line a road leading up the hill, and are nestled among the houses, as the potters presumably stay in the village too. The village is quiet easy to locate – if you have a map and GPS.Review from MBev

#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.

Photo by tadJapan

The shrine is nice and is unusually white instead of the black and orange that I have grown accustom to. If you want to see the very very old tree (who wouldn’t?) Go towards the shrine and head to the left. There are signs and a path. Follow it a little ways and through some bamboo and there you will see a huge tree with a mini shrine inside. You can’t go near it (anymore?) but it is hollow in the middle.Review from CaffineFreek

#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.

Photo by mat_mak

There were several caves at a cliff where faced sea. one of the caves was a tunnel. a small boat is able to go through the cave. ocean was very clear blue, and so beautiful! caves were very unique shapes. ocean waves are whittling walls of caves. it makes very unique and incredible texture of rocks. Review from mat_mak

#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.

Photo by ニッサンサンニイ

“This temple is a short taxi ride (1300 yen) from Kiyama station (22 minutes from Hakata in Fukuoka).
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.

Photo by ゆみゆみ070

This is very nice and quiet place to see nature and thinking about life. Big park has both Buddhist and Shinto shrines. I was there during golden autumn period and there is was no people. I enjoyed to see trees with different colors leaves. Review from Edwardowski
So, so peaceful and the location is lovely as it is next to the river and mountains. All the people we met there were so friendly and welcoming and we hope to return very soon. Review from Handsomeprince

#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.

Photo by Hiroyuki M

The castle offers an English audio tour (for free), which if you take the time will teach you a substantial amount about the importance of the Saga district of Japan in the 1800’s. When we visited at the end of December, there were hardly any other visitors/tourists, so it was very delightful. Review from chocolate_dreamer

#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.

Photo by ぶちぶち

There was a waterfall in a silent and flourishing forest. Really fantastic view. This is Japan. You need a car because there was no chance by public transportation. Review from DoctorSnufkin

#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.

Photo by 健 関

We attended a SaganTosu soccer game, SaganTosu v. Kobe. The stadium is modern, easy to get around, there is tasty food available and it was a fantastic experience. Photo by Cathy C

#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.

Photo by trip6100

Staying in Fukuoka, we hired a car and took a day trip to Karatsu. There is a hilltop castle with some interesting exhibits and fabulous 360 degree views of the town, the sea, and amazing beach. Heading back in the direction of Fukuoka, we drove through this beautiful, atmospheric pine forest.Review from Jackie W

#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.

Photo by ANA修行僧

Around Arita town area, only this place has a sauna and there is a open-air water bath in front of the sauna. The combination of sauna and water bath is highly recommended. So refreshing!Review from Chikushino

#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.

Photo by GGHolliday

It is a compact place to shop & chill. You may find awesomely cheap tea pot set, ramen bowl, and so on to bring home or personal sake glass, porcelain artwork, and magnificent decorative dishes made by top ceramic manufacturer. Wide variety of selection lures customers to linger way longer than they expected. Review from Sun Ju L

#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.

Photo by インテリゲンちゃん

Very close to Karatsu Station. You can learn history of Karatsu during early Meiji Ara and several works of Architect Tatsuno from this area who also designed Tokyo Station. Free of Charge! Review from Keizo

#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.

Photo by Travelerontheglobe

There is an exhibit of the original kaleidoscope made in the old days on the 1st floor, and, you can admire the beautiful ceramics in the showroom on the 2nd floor. If you are interested in ARITA porcelain, highly recommended. Review from Goroman

#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.

Photo by とろさうるす

Fantastic range of books and information, very helpful staff and a modern design that worked well for all visitors.Review from richard s
Stylish library featuring Starbucks with a sophisticated atmosphere. Ideal place for meeting with friends.Review from freshjuice

#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.

Photo by oa0120

This landscape made by the terraced paddy field is top-class. At dusk on a fine day before the Golden Week season, you can see the amazing view with the reflection of water in the paddy field. Review from koso88

#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.

Photo by tsuyoshik532

There is the museum inside the castle, where you get acquainted with the samurai life and history of that era. At the castle there is a small park with trees. On top of castle there is observation deck offers a panoramic view of town and Karatsu bay. Review from Edwardowski

#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.

Photo by じーさん熊本

Must go to this place if you are nearby, very beautiful, you can spend an hour looking at the plants, the tree, the temple, there are some shops to visit and buy souvenirs as well. Review from hatong g

#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.

Photo by 1012パンダ

This bridge was chosen as one of the great routes in Saga, When running over this bridge, I felt as if I were flying over the sea like a bird. You can enjoy the shimmering sea and pleasant breeze! Review by hoshikura

#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.

Photo by ニッサンサンニイ

It is a good choice to have a hot spring here and you also can stay overnight. There has public bath and private bath and recommended the public one as the price difference is wide. Review from chan1r2n2
Reasonable price and very good spa! You can relax and feel a historic ambience around this area.Review from rena_fr

#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.

Photo by mofumofu2

It is located on Route 207, travelling from Saga to Nagasaki. Good place for self-drive drivers to stop-over for some rest and at the same time shops for local foods. There also some restaurant & grilled oyster stalls next to it. Big car park space. Review from YuenYW

#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.

Photo by aritaCIR

Just a quick walk up the mountain in the back (the adventerous can hike up the path behind the shrine, others can take the longer route via the path that starts from the parking lot below), you can reach the top of the mountain where you have a fantastic view of the town. The monument on top is dedicated to Ri Sam Pei and was build in 1916 (300th anniversary of Arita`s porcelain industry). Review from aritaCIR

#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.

Photo by rikky88

Along National Highway 207, they are selling a variety of items such as fresh vegetables, fruits and seafood from the Kashima area. Especially, a bucket of oysters is 1000 yen for 1.5 kilos! So profitable. Review from sj7594

#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.

Photo by palphy

We visited the castle with our two small children. It is well signposted and the view from the top across the peninsula is amazing. What is left of the castle hints at the scale and complexity of what Toyotomi was trying to accomplish. Worth a visit! Review from NinetySouth

#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.

Photo by ロジャーちゃん

This is really a glorified garage housing the parade floats for the Hikiyama Festival. That being said, you really shouldn’t miss this. The floats are larger than life and are crafted with exquisite details. It’s a quick stop but well worth the 310yen! Review from Klm9802

#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.

Photo by ルロワ

Have been going to China on the Park for the past twenty five plus years. There are two areas for china in the complex, one with the best “Fukazawa” ware including priceless pieces from the past (up the stairs) as well as the large open shop with discounted pieces and new items on the ground level. There is also a separate restaurant on the premises where you can have lunch or tea. Review from captainked

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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.