Travel / Tourism Spots in Saga Area

  • Karatsu Yaki Cooperatives Karatsu Pottery Gallery
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Shinkoumachi 2881-1 Furusato Kaikan Arpino 2nd Floor
    An exhibition hall and shop on the second floor of Furusato Hall Arpino next to JR Karatsu Station. Visitors can see a variety of pottery works in one place and purchase some as well. The hall offers a variety of dishes and containers perfect for everyday use, making this a great place to pick up a souvenir. The hall also presents how Karatsu ware is made through informational panels and other means. Pottery painting workshops available.
  • Hikiyama Exhibition Hall
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Nishijounai 6-33
    This exhibition hall displays the 14 hikiyama festival floats used in the Karatsu Kunchi Festival, a harvest festival held each year from November 2 to 4. Each of the floats was dedicated sometime between the late Edo period and Meiji period. They were made by wrapping wooden frames with hundreds of sheets of Japanese washi paper and then applying and re-applying various colors of lacquer. Bold in design and modeled after themes such as a samurai helmet, Chinese lion, and sea bream, even when looked at through a protective case one can feel their power.
  • Kakiemongama
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Saga Pref. Nishimatsuragunaritachou Nanzan Ding 352
    A pottery workshop which was once operated by Sakaida Kakiemon, a renowned potter from Arita Town in Saga Prefecture. The Kakiemon style is characterized by the use of red paint baked onto a beautiful milky-white pottery base called nigoshide. The workshop’s pieces began being exported around the world starting in the Edo period and remain popular to this day. The workshop is adjoined by a museum where visitors can learn about its 380 year history and view actual pieces from various time periods.
  • Izumiyama Magnet Field
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Nishimatsuragunaritachou Izumiyama 1-5
    Pottery stone, a raw material used to make Arita ware, was excavated here. Pottery stone was discovered here by Korean potter Yi Sam-pyeong in the early Edo period, giving rise to the first porcelain produced in Japan. Highly collectible early and old Imari ware were also made with the pottery stone from this site. The site is no longer used for mining but visitors can view the area from beyond a fence.
  • Kyushu Ceramic Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Saga Pref. Nishimatsuragunaritachou Toshaku Yu 3100-1
    A prefectural museum in Arita Town which is dedicated to preserving and displaying ceramics from areas throughout Kyushu. The museum’s collection focuses on pieces from the former Hizen Province, particularly porcelain such as Imari ware and Karatsu ware. Highlights include the giant music box made of Arita ware and the Meissen porcelain bells. The 25 bells, made in the Meissen State Porcelain Manufactory in Meisen, Arita’s sister city, play a song related to the two nations every hour, announcing the time.
  • Kouyaji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Takeoshi Kitagatachou Shiku 3245
    "This temple is located a 15-minute drive from Takeo Onsen Station on the JR Sasebo Line. It was opened by Kobo Daishi in the quiet atmosphere deep inside the mountains. Visited by many praying for childbirth, easy childbirth and senility prevention as Vaisravana's sacred place, it was known as a training hall for purgation in literature from the Kamakura period (1185-1333) which says ""Any criminals can be forgiven for their sins if they run into the precincts of Kouyaji Temple."", it is counted as one of the Kyushu 88 temples and 108 sacred sites. In addition, 1,000 rhododendrons of 20 rare species bloom in the flatlands of the area, and the best time to see them is from April to May."
  • Udono Sekibutsu Buddhist Rock Carvings (Prefectural Historic Site)
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Ouchichououchi
    "Located around 20 minutes' walk from Ouchi Station on the JR Karatsu Line, the Buddhist rock carvings of various sizes comprise a group of 60 or so Magaibutsu (Buddhist images carved into cliffs or caves) carved into a protruding cliff. The carvings have been designated as a Prefectural Historic Site by Saga Prefectural Government, and were also selected for inclusion in the ""New List of 100 Scenic Spots in Saga."" According to tradition, the first Buddhist carving on the site was made in a cave by Kobo Daishi in 806. That statue has not survived, and the cave subsequently collapsed, leaving only the inner wall. The surviving carvings appear to have been made during various different periods, from the Nanboku-cho period (in the 14th century) through to the Edo period (1603-1868). Several of the carvings-including a statute of 11-headed Kanzeon Bodhisattva , and statues of Vaisravana and Dhrtarastra, show a pronounced influence from Esoteric Buddhism."
  • Taku Seibyo (Confucian Temple)
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Takushi Takumachi 1642
    "Taku Seibyo (Confucian Temple) is located around 20 minutes' drive from the Taku Interchange of the Nagasaki Expressway. Confucius was the founder of the Confucian school of philosophy, and is revered as the god of learning. Taku Shigefumi, the fourth lord of the Taku domain, ordered the construction of the temple in 1708 because he wanted to help the domain's residents to cultivate a proper attitude of Confucian ""respect."" Taku Seibyo (Confucian Temple) is the third oldest surviving Confucian temple in Japan, after Ashikaga Gakko in Tochigi Prefecture and Shizutani Gakko in Okayama Prefecture, and has been designated as a National Important Cultural Property. Seibyo Sekisai ceremonies are held at the temple in the spring and in the autumn each year; after the ceremony, ordinary members of the public are allowed to worship in and look round the temple."
  • Ureshino Ochachamura
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Ureshinoshi Ureshinomachiwayagawachi No. 3537
    A green tea processing factory situated along National Route 34 in Iwayagawachi, Ureshino-machi, Ureshino City. Surrounded by tea fields, inside visitors can see how tea is made. Visitors can also sample the factory's teas and purchase freshly- made tea leaves at reasonable prices in the factory's shop.
  • Former Karatsu Bank
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Karatsu-shi Honmachi 1513-15
    "This historic building is on the Karatsu-kaido Road in Hon-machi, Karatsu City. The building, completed in 1912, was designed by Minoru Tanaka, an apprentice of the designer of Tokyo Station, Tatsuno Kingo. The bank building is of a Victorian design incorporating Japanese style, known as the ""Tatsuno style"". The building was used as a bank until 1997, and then donated to the city. It has since been designated as an Important Cultural Property of the city and is now open to the public free of charge."
  • Kunenan
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Kanzakishi Kanzakimachikuha
    "A National Place of Scenic Beauty located in Ikuwa, Kanzaki-machi, Kanzaki City. The site consists of a garden and a villa which was built by Saga businessman Yataro Itami in 1892. Its name literally means the ""Nine Year Hermitage,"" a reference to the nine years it took to complete the garden. The site is opened to the general public each year in the fresh verdure of spring and the autumn foliage of fall."
  • Yobuko Ohashi Bridge
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Prefecture Yotsukocho, Karatsu
    A bridge which connects Kabe Island and Tononoura, Yobuko-cho in Karatsu City. The gently curving, 728-meter-long bridge serves as a symbol of the Yobuko area. Outfitted with a pedestrian walkway, visitors can stroll along the length of the bridge and take in gorgeous ocean views. Kaze no Mieru Oka Park, located on the Kabe Island side of the bridge, offers a sweeping view of the Genkai Sea.
  • Kosen Kiln
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Imarishi Okawachichou Otsu 1823
    A pottery gallery located in Okawachiyama, Okawachi-cho, Imari City. The gallery displays and sells Imari ware tableware and decorations and also holds Imari ware classes using a potter's wheel (advance reservation required). A cafe on the second floor of the gallery serves a daily changing selection of handmade cakes plus coffee using Imari ware tableware.
  • Todoroki no Taki Park
    Travel / Tourism
    Ureshino, Saga Prefecture Ureshino Town
    A park located in Shimojuku, Ureshino-machi, Ureshino City. The park centers on Todoroki Falls, a three stage, 11-meter-tall waterfall which sounds like roaring thunder located on the upper reaches of the Ureshino River a kilometer away from the Ureshino Onsen. A nearby bridge offers an optimum view of the falls. The park also has a baseball field. In addition, the grounds are a renowned destination for cherry blossom viewing in the spring.
  • Mietsu Naval Dock Site
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Sagashi Kawasoemachihayatsuetsu 446-1
    "A National Historic Site located in Hayatsuetsu Kawasoe-machi, Saga City. The site also makes up part of the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining. Originally built as a shipbuilding training yard by the former Saga Domain in 1858, the site was used for Western style ship naval education and construction. The site contributed significantly to the modernization of Saga Domain at the end of the Edo period, including being used to build Japan's first practical steamship, the ""Ryofu-maru"". In the adjoining ""Tsunetami Sano Memorial Museum"", visitors can view VR exhibits and restored scale models."
  • Nanatsugama Sightseeing Cruise
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Yobukochouyobuko
    "A sightseeing cruise which leaves from Marinepal Yobuko in Yobuko Yobuko-cho, Karatsu City. Aboard the ""Ika-maru"", cruise goers can enjoy the natural beauty of Yobuko from the sea, including ""Nanatsugama"", a marine eroded cavern consisting of pillars of basalt. Cruises last around 40 minutes and normally leave about every hour from 9:30 to 16:30."
  • Matsuuraichi Sake Brewing Co., Ltd.
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Imarishi Yamashirochou Kusuku 312
    "A sake brewery located in Kusuku Yamashiro-cho, Imari City. Established in 1716, the brewery crafts liquors such as the renowned sake, ""Matsuuraichi"". Visitors can check out the brewery and view historic items such as old farming and brewery equipment used up until the mid-1950s, as well as the mummy of a kappa goblin viewed as a water guardian deity. With an advance reservation, visitors can also receive a guided brewery tour."
  • Karatsu Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Minamijounai 3-13
    A Shinto shrine located in Minamijonai, Karatsu City. Records state this ancient shrine was established in the distant Nara period. Famous for the Karatsu Kunchi, a large autumn festival held each year from November 2 through 4, many tourists come to watch the festival parade consisting of 14 colorful traditional floats. This festival has also been designated a National Important Intangible Folk-Cultural Property.
  • Toshoka
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Imarishi Okawachichou Otsu 1810-1
    "A pottery studio located in Okawachi-cho, Imari City. From the Edo through the Meiji periods, this studio was an official supplier of pottery to the bygone Nabeshima Domain and is also one of the studios in Okawauchiyama which has been included in the ""Okawachi Nabeshima Kiln Sites"" National Historic Site listing. The studio sells pottery made using traditional techniques, incorporating modern designs, and decorated by the hand of the studio head."
  • Nabeshima Oniwayaki
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Imarishi Okawachichou Otsu 1822-1
    A pottery studio located Otsu Okawachi-cho, Imari City. One of the pottery studios situated in Okawachiyama, an area which was home to pottery studios which officially supplied what was Nabeshima Domain from the Edo to the Meiji periods, this studio is the only one currently in operation which can trace its lineage directly to one of these fabled official kilns. The studio was the only one permitted by Nabeshima Domain to use the apricot leaf mark still imprinted on the backs of the studio's pieces.

Saga Areas

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Away from the fast-paced cities of mainland Japan, Kyushu’s Saga prefecture offers quaint towns and cities known for their traditional crafts, particularly ceramics. Rich in kaolin (a type of clay), Saga became the homeland of Arita ware, a delicate, decorative porcelain that is now celebrated worldwide and can be discovered in the towns of Arita, Imari, and Karatsu.

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