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SAGA TRIP GENIUS

SAGA

MICHELIN GUIDE

About Saga

Saga is located in the north of Kyushu, the southwestern island of Japan. The northern area of Saga faces the Genkai Sea, whose beautiful coastal area is designated as Genkai Quasi-National Park, and the southern area has a fertile plain stretching out to the Ariake Sea, which is known for its vast tidal flat with the maximum tidal range of 6 meters. Saga is a prefecture with a population of about 800,000, which boasts agriculture and fishery as main industry and features laid-back country landscapes.

The prefecture also offers many other things such as internationally famous potteries, high-quality foods cultivated in the rich nature, relaxing hot springs, festivals and other historical and traditional cultures which are well worth checking out.

Access

There are mainly two transportation means to access Saga; domestic and international flights to KYUSHU-SAGA International Airport or JR train via Fukuoka Airport. Rental car will come in handy when you get around for sightseeing in the prefecture. You can rent a car either at Fukuoka Airport or Saga Airport.

Climate

The climate in Saga is relatively mild and the annual temperature in average is around 16 degrees Celsius (61 degrees Fahrenheit).

During the rainy season (June to July), the prefecture has much rain like other parts of Japan.

In summer (June to July), it can be hot with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), while temperatures fall below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter (December to March) and you will need a warm clothes.

Attractions

Saga is richly endowed with nature. The nature of Saga that cannot be found in urban areas will cure you mentally and physically.

Two oceans with different expressions, gentle mountains good for hiking, and the vast and fertile plain field that bring rich agricultural products; Saga offers various enjoyments; the nature, culture, history, hot springs, festivals, leisure, shopping, and gourmet. And more than anything else, Saga is a mine of good tasty foods. From sushi and Wagyu beef to healthy local dishes using locally produced ingredients, you will find many "delicious" things in Saga.

Nature & Scenic Views

Saga Prefecture is blessed with many beautiful sceneries: the spectacular view of Genkai Sea, the tranquil atmosphere of Ariake Sea, the blooming flowers of cherry blossoms, azalea, and wisteria, the autumn tints found in all parts of the prefecture, and the skiing ground on the Sefuri Mountains.

The rich nature of Saga brings us the delicacies of seafood and vegetables.

Niji No Matsubara (Karatsu City)

Niji No Matsubara

Forming an arch like the shape of a rainbow, Niji No Matsubara is a pine forest stretching along the Karatsu Bay. It is said that the forest, with a length of 5km and a width of 1km, consists of 1 million trees and is considered to be one of the three most scenic pine forests in Japan.

The Ariake Sea

The Ariake Sea

The tide range Ariake Sea, which can be seen from Saga Prefecture, can reach up to 6m at times. Marvel at the mystery of nature!

Daikozenji Temple (Kiyama Town)

Daikozenji Temple (Kiyama Town)

Daikozenji Temple is also referred to by the name “Tsutsuji Temple (Azalea Temple).” The place is well known as a spot to view azaleas in spring and red leaves in autumn.

Mifuneyamarakuen

Mifuneyamarakuen

In spring, you can enjoy the view of 50,000 azaleas and 5,000 cherry blossom trees with the steep cliff of Mt. Mifuneyama in the background. In autumn, you can also enjoy the illumination of red leaves.

Tenzan Resort (Saga City)

Tenzan Resort (Saga City)

Tenzan Resort features an artificial skiing ground, which is rare to find elsewhere in Kyushu. The snow machine will create ski slopes for visitors to enjoy skiing throughout winter.

History & Culture

Saga Prefecture has deepened international relationships with Asian countries since ancient times. We have a variety of tourist spots where you can learn more about the great history of the prefecture such as: Yoshinogari Historical Park, located on the excavation site of the ruins in the Yayoi Period; Saga Castle History Museum, featuring a recreation of the main keep tower of Saga Castle, which was once destroyed by fire.

Yoshinogari Historical Park
(Kanzaki City / Yoshinogari Town)

Yoshinogari Historical Park

The Yoshinogari Ruins is one of Japan's largest ruins of moat encircled village from the Yayoi Period, which lasted about 700 years from the 5th century BC. In the historical park, a settlement, which at its peak dating back to the 3rd century has been recreated, and the place preserves a valuable cultural heritage.

Saga Castle History Museum (Saga City)

Saga Castle History Museum (Saga City)

Saga Castle History Museum is one of Japan’s largest restored wooden architectures from the Edo Period. You can feel an authentic Japanese atmosphere.

Mietsu Shipyard Ruins / Sano Tsunetami Memorial Museum

Mietsu Shipyard Ruins / Sano Tsunetami Memorial Museum

Here you can take a look at the ruins of Mietsu Shipyard, which was owned by the Saga Domain who is said to have led Japan's modernization. The museum displays the materials related to Tsunetami Sano.

Karatsu Castle (Karatsu City)

Karatsu Castle (Karatsu City)

This symbolic castle in Karatsu was built by the first lord of Saga Domain, and took seven years to complete. It is also known by the name of Maizuru Castle.

Nagoya Castle Ruins and Battle Camp Site (Karatsu City)

Nagoya Castle Ruins and Battle Camp Site (Karatsu City)

These ruins are of a castle which is said to have been built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi and have taken only 5 months to complete. More than 130 old local lord's mansions are spotted around here.

Okawachiyama Pottery Village / Nabeshima Domain Kiln Park (Imari City)

Okawachiyama Pottery Village / Nabeshima Domain Kiln Park (Imari City)

The pottery kiln of the Nabeshima Domain used to be located in this area. A guard house, which protected the secrets of making Imari porcelain ware, ascending kilns, the potter’s houses and other old buildings are recreated here to showcase the history.

Yutoku Inari Shrine (Kashima City)

Yutoku Inari Shrine (Kashima City)

This shrine is considered to be one of the three major Inari shrines in Japan. The contrast between the vermilion of the shrine and green trees is very impressive.

Pottery & Other Handicrafts

Saga Prefecture has long been famous for being a major production area for pottery and is home to well-known pottery brands such as Imari, Arita and Karatsu pottery. There are also Saga Nishiki textile, Hizen Vidro glass and other handicrafts showcasing refined artisan skills.

Imari and Arita Pottery (Imari City / Arita Town)

Imari and Arita Pottery (Imari City / Arita Town)

With a history of about 400 years, Imari and Arita Pottery are one of the most famous potteries and have fascinated not only the Japanese people back in the Edo Period but also many people in Europe. There is a wide range of products from dishes for daily use to works of art for aesthetic appreciation.

Karatsu Pottery (Karatsu City)

Karatsu Pottery (Karatsu City)

Karatsu Pottery is regarded as one of Japan's three major ceramic wares for tea ceremony along with Rakuyaki Pottery and Hagi Pottery. It has always been favored by tea ceremony masters. The greatest feature of the pottery is that it gets more rich and glossy in texture as you use it.

Saga Nishiki Textile (Saga City)

Saga Nishiki Textile (Saga City)

The fine and gorgeous geometric pattern is woven into the textile with silk as warp threads and gold, silver and lacquer as weft threads.

Nabeshima Dantsu Carpet (Saga City)

Nabeshima Dantsu Carpet (Saga City)

Nabeshima Dantsu is a traditional cotton carpet with a history of 300 years. It was made as a tribute to Shogun and thereby the trading of the product in the general market was forbidden. It is still produced by hand-weaving as it always has been.

Hizen Vidro Glass (Saga City)

Hizen Vidro Glass (Saga City)

Hizen Vidro glass is formed only by blowing, which is a traditional technique that has been passed down for generations and can be found nowhere else in Japan. Enjoy the fine beauty of the product.

Hizen Nao Washi Paper (Saga City)

Hizen Nao Washi Paper (Saga City)

This handmade Japanese paper can be used for a variety of purposes including wallpapers and lamp shades.

Other: Ozaki Doll (Kanzaki City)
Shiraishi Pottery (Miyaki Town)
Furyumen Mask (Kashima City)

Gourmet

The three major gourmet food of Saga are: Saga beef, which is known as qualified brand beef; fresh and transparent ikizukuri live squid sashimi; and rich and tasty Takezaki crabs. All of them will surely tempt the palate of gourmet enthusiasts. There are also other local dishes made with fresh ingredients from the Genkai Sea, the Ariake Sea and the Saga Plains.

Saga Beef (All around thePrefecture)

Saga Beef (All around thePrefecture)

Saga Beef features fine marbled meat where fat meat minutely blends with tender lean meat. It has rich flavor and excellent taste.

Ikizukuri Live Squid (Yobuko, Karatsu City)

Ikizukuri Live Squid (Yobuko, Karatsu City)

Live squid of Yobuko is transparent and has a melt-in-your-mouth texture and slightly sweet taste. After enjoying the squid sashimi, legs can be enjoyed twice as salty grilled and tempura.

Takezaki Crabs (Tara Town)

Takezaki Crabs (Tara Town)

Takezaki crab is a kind of blue crab. To enjoy the natural flavor of the crabmeat, we recommend boiling in salted water. For Sake lovers, pouring some Sake into the crab shell and drinking it with crab innards is another way to enjoy the crab.

Onsen Yudofu (Ureshino City)

Onsen Yudofu (Ureshino City)

Onsen Yudofu is a Japanese tofu hot pot boiled with hot spring water and is the specialty of Ureshino Onsen. The hot spring water makes milky broth with soft tofu that will melt in your mouth. You will surely enjoy its softness and flavor.

Saga Champon (All around the Prefecture)

Saga Champon (All around the Prefecture)

The two big features of Saga Champon noodles are vegetables such as cabbage and bean sprouts and pork bone soup. Some restaurants serve champon with a plenty of cloud ear fungus as topping. It's a healthy and hearty meal!

Mitsuse Soba (Saga City)

Mitsuse Soba (Saga City)

Soba noodle shops scattered around Mitsuse, located on the foot of the Sefuri Mountains, is called "Soba Kaido Street." Soba noodles made with fresh air and good quality water in the area is delicious.

Grilled Oyster (Kashima City / Tara Town)

Grilled Oyster (Kashima City / Tara Town)

Oyster is one of the winter delicacies of the Ariake Sea. Oyster huts will be set up along the route 207 when it's in season.

Souvenirs

The Nagasaki Kaido Street was referred to as "Sugar Road" in the Edo Period. Located along the street, Saga has developed a lot of famous sweets such as Marubouro (cookies) and Ogi Yokan (azuki-bean jelly). As well as sweets, exquisite Ureshino green tea and local sake made with delicious water and rice are popular souvenirs in Saga.

Marubouro Cookies

Marubouro Cookies

Marubouro cookies were originally introduced from the Netherlands, and became one of the famous sweets in Saga. It is said that they were preservation food for crews on the ship.

Ogi Yokan (Ogi City)

Ogi Yokan (Ogi City)

Ogi Yokan, a sweet bean jelly made of carefully selected beans and pure water of Ogi, is one of Saga’s traditional sweets and has taste of refined sweetness.

Shoro Manju Bun (Karatsu City)

Shoro Manju Bun (Karatsu City)

This is one of the most famous pastries of Saga. Its savory sponge cake is filled with refine sweet bean paste.

Ureshino Green Tea (Ureshino City)

Ureshino Green Tea (Ureshino City)

The smooth Ureshino green tea is extracted from tea leaves grown in a basin surrounded by foggy mountains, crisp air, and pure water.

Saga Seaweed

Saga Seaweed

Saga seaweed is produced in the nutrient-rich tidal flat of the Ariake Sea. Among all the seaweed locations in Japan, Saga has the top quality and production.

Hot Springs

Quite a few new and old hot springs can be found in Saga: Ureshino Hot Spring, known as one of the three major hot springs in Japan for beautiful skin, Takeo Hot Spring, Furuyu Hot Spring, and Tara Takezaki Hot Spring. Enjoy taking a tour around and relax yourself in a hot spring with a view of the ocean in the background, one located in the middle of a forest, and many more famous hot springs in Saga.

Ureshino Hot Spring (Ureshino City)

Ureshino Hot Spring (Ureshino City)

Ureshino Hot Spring has a history of 1300 years. Many traditional Japanese-style hotels built in this area will introduce you to an antiquated and historical atmosphere of a hot spring town. It is also known as one of Japan’s three major hot springs for beautiful skin.

Takeo Hot Spring (Takeo City)

Takeo Hot Spring (Takeo City)

Takeo Hot Spring, which consists of spring water with a mild touch, is a hot spring town. It has a very long history that in fact, it was even mentioned in Hizen Fudoki, a book written 1,300 years ago. Make sure you check out the vermillion-lacquered Sakuramon Gate which stands at the entrance of the town.

Tara Takezaki Hot Spring (Tara Town)

Tara Takezaki Hot Spring (Tara Town)

Tara Takezaki Hot Spring is located on the coast of the Ariake Sea, at which Japan’s largest tidal flat is located. The sodium hydrogen carbonate contained in the spring water helps make your skin moist and smooth.

Furuyu Kumanokawa Hot Spring (Saga City)

Furuyu Kumanokawa Hot Spring (Saga City)

Furuyu Kumanokawa Hot Spring, characterized by slimy lukewarm water, has attracted many artists.

Events

Many seasonal events are hosted in Saga: Arita Porcelain Fair, which attracts more than one million tourists, Kashima Gatalympics, Karatsu Kunchi Festival, Saga International Balloon Festival, etc.

Hina Doll Festival (Various spots around the prefecture)

Hina Doll Festival (Various spots around the prefecture)

Event Period: February-March

Hina Doll Festival is one of the traditional Japanese events held in Saga. You can take a look at the unique Hina dolls made in various parts of the prefecture.

Arita Porcelain Fair(Arita Town)

Arita Porcelain Fair(Arita Town)

Event Period: February 29th-May 5th

The porcelain fair held at the birthplace of Japanese ceramics. Over 500 shops are opened to attract over one million shoppers and tourists each year.

Kashima Gatalympics (Kashima City)

Kashima Gatalympics (Kashima City)

Event Period: May

It is a unique festival since it's held at the tideland of Ariake Sea, which has a biggest tidal variation in Japan and contestants all get muddy.

Mikaeri-No-Taki Falls Hydrangea Festival (Karatsu City)

Mikaeri-No-Taki Falls Hydrangea Festival (Karatsu City)

Event Period: June

The waterfall is chosen as one of the best 100 Waterfalls in Japan. It is naturally decorated with more than 40 types, approximately 40,000 plants of hydrangeas from June onwards.

Okawachiyama Wind Chime Festival (Imari City)

Okawachiyama Wind Chime Festival (Imari City)

Event Period: June-August

The sound of wind chimes are regarded as a symbol of summer in Japan. During the festival, various kinds of wind chimes are hanged from the eaves of 30 potter's houses and welcome visitors with a soothing melody.

Karatsu Kunchi (Karatsu City)

Karatsu Kunchi (Karatsu City)

Event Period: November 2nd-4th

14 festival floats will parade through the town with the sound of flute and drums.

Saga International Balloon Fiesta (Saga City)

Saga International Balloon Fiesta (Saga City)

Event Period: Late October-Early November

This is one of the largest balloon festivals in Asia with over 100 balloons from around the world.

Kunenan Autumn Public Opening (Kanzaki City)

Kunenan Autumn Public Opening (Kanzaki City)

Event Period: November 15th-23rd

Kunenan, a national scenic spot, will be open to the public during a limited time of the year. Visitors will enjoy the beautiful contrast of autumn leaves and green moss on the ground.

Menfuryu (Various spots around the prefecture)

Menfuryu (Various spots around the prefecture)

Event Period: September

Menfuryu is a traditional performing art which represents Saga Prefecture. The players wearing grim demon masks dance to the rhythm of flutes, bells and drums.

Other: Kagoshima Shuzo Sake Brewery Tour in Kashima City (March)
Taku Confucian Temple Spring and Autumn Sekisai Festival in Taku City (April and October)
Shimizu Bamboo Lantern Festival in Ogi City (November)

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