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Spots in Karatsu / Yobuko Area

  • Karatsu Castle (Maizuru-jo “Dancing Crane Castle”)
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Higashijounai 8-1
    This is a castle which could also be called a symbol of Karatsu, located in the northern part of Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture. Terazawa Hirotaka, a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, spent seven years to build this castle. The inner citadel sits on Mt. Mitsushima which projects out into Karatsu Bay, while the outer citadel is on the west bank and the third citadel leads to a renkaku style flatland mountain castle. The inner citadel has now been turned into Maizuru Park, and also you can see the superb views of Matsuura Bay from that observation point, the current castle keep which was completed in 1966.
  • Yobuko Morning Market
    Yobuko cho Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture
    One of Japan’s three largest morning markets, Yobuko operates 364 days a year (only closing on New Year’s Day). Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., on weekdays some 40 stands operate and 60 on weekends and holidays. The market is particularly famous for its squid ikizukuri sashimi, made with a variety of squid throughout the year. In addition to the squid, visitors are encouraged to try the mackerel ikizukuri, which is fast becoming a new specialty for the market. Take the Showa Bus bound for Yobuko at Oteguchi Bus Center in front of JR Karatsu Station and get off at the Yobuko stop; the market is just a three-minute walk from there. 30 minutes by car.
  • Nakazato Tarouemon Tobo
    8 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Chouda 3-6-29
    The Nakazato family is the only family to maintain the traditions of ancient Karatsu and today, this Karatsu ware ceramics studio continues to be operated by the 14th head. Visitors can tour the studio’s gallery where Karatsu ware is displayed and sold as well as the Tojin-machi Ochawangama kiln, a nationally designated Historic Site. From 1734 through the Taisho period, the Tojin-machi Ochawangama kiln was used for official purposes by the local government. An eight-minute walk from the South Exit of Karatsu Station.

    唐津市の広い道から入った静かな唐津焼の工房。 車にナビがないとちょっと行き着けないようなところですが、 私たちが言っている時も探してくる人が多い工房です。 14代目がおられました。 2階に上がると入口があり、靴脱ぎで履物を置いて中に入りますと作品が並んでいます。 買いやすい工房のものが並んでいます。 その建物か池をまたぐ廊下を過ぎると何代にもわたって作られてきた作品が並ぶ部屋があります。 お値段も...

  • 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.
  • The Former Takatori Residence
    122 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Kitajounai 5-40
    This is the mansion built as a home and for welcoming guests by the coal mine (including Kishima Coal Mine) baron, Koreyoshi Takatori. There are two large buildings on a vast plot of land of about 7613 square meters. It has modern Japanese-style building architecture with a combination of Western style rooms while also still having Japanese style as a keynote. A must-see is the reception hall for the Noh stage and 72 “Sugido-e” (painting on cedar-board doors) paintings by the painter of the Kyoto Shijyo Faction, Koho Mizuno. You can have a good tour of the mansion as there are also always tour guides stationed here. In 1998, it was designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan.

    It is a former residence of Takatori family, a very wealthy family, which had coal mines. As this house was gradually expanded, you can see different styles in one house. There is even a room for No...

  • 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.
  • Karatsu Burger Matsubara Main Shop
    6 Reviews
    Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture Rainbow Matsubara
    A local burger sold at the Nijinomatsubara parking area in Karatsu City. People love these hearty burgers slathered in a distinctive sweet sauce and sandwiched between a crisply toasted bun. The burgers are fresh-made inside a mobile kitchen car and brought to your vehicle or nearby bench when your order is cooked.

    It is walking distance from Seaside Hotel, walking along the old pine tree street. There is a walking pass (you will find the pass once you get in), so follow it and you will find the van making and...

  • Mt. Kagami Observatory
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Kagami Mountain summit
    A viewing platform at the top of Mt. Kagami, a mountain once visited by numerous poets in the Nara period (710–794) and much praised in the poems of the Man'yoshu (The Ten Thousand Leaves), Japan’s oldest poetry anthology. 283 meters above sea level, this popular photo spot offers a spectacular view of Nijinomatsubara and Karatsu Bay. Approximately 15 minutes by train from JR Nijinomatsubara Station.
  • Nanatsugama Caves
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Yakataishi
    This is a group of seven sea caves which stand in a row along the coast of Karatsu City in Saga Prefecture. It is a scenic spot formed by the erosion of the basalt cliff face which reaches a height of 40 meters by the violent waves. If you board a pleasure boat, you can see the powerful rocks up close. In 1925, the caves were designated as National Natural Monuments as “the seven pots of Yakataishi”.
  • Oura Terraced Rice Fields Lookout
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Hizenmachioura hill
    This lookout has a splendid view of the Oura Terraced Rice Fields, designated as one of the top 100 rice field terraces in the country. The name refers to the rice terraces of three hamlets: Ouraoka, Ourahama, and Mitsukoshi. Its 1,100 fields cover an area of around 30 hectares. The contrast with Imari Bay in the background recalls the legend of Irohajima Islands where Kobo Daishi finds the scenery so beautiful, he throws his brush.
  • 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."
  • Kagamiyama Onsen Chaya Bijin no Yu
    18 Reviews
    Accommodations / Hot Spring
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Kagami 4733
    "A hot spring bathhouse situated along the Karatsu Bypass in Kagami, Karatsu City. The facility's outdoor bath, indoor bath area, barrel bath, private reservable bath, and other baths are constantly replenished ""kakenagashi"" style from a source spring welling up 1,600 meters underground. Containing an abundance of iron and radon, the waters of this spring are said to have a powerful skin beautifying effect. The bathhouse also has a teahouse where visitors can enjoy meals created based on the concept of local production for local consumption, and a shop selling local specialty products from Karatsu and the surrounding area."

    Honestly, we visited this restaurant because we just want to try the same Yuris most favorite katsudon in the series. At first, Im surprised by the hospitality of the staffs. We arrived around 4...

  • Genkai
    Gourmet / Alcohol
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Yobukochoutononoura 508-3
    A live seafood restaurant located in the Yobuko-cho area of Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture. The restaurant keeps its stock in some 10 fish tanks on the premises. As the tanks circulate water from and back out to the Genkai Sea, the restaurant’s specialty squid, select mackerel, horse mackerel, sea bream, and abalone are kept healthy and can be prepared in the freshest possible state. Genkai is renowned for its chewy squid ikizukuri (slices of fresh raw fish arranged to look lifelike) and other seafood kaiseki course cuisine. The restaurant also offers ikizukuri and broiled fish dishes à la carte, making it a great place to enjoy a casual meal as well.
  • Kawatarou Yobuko Branch
    178 Reviews
    Gourmet / Alcohol
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Yobukochouyobuko 1744-17
    A live seafood restaurant located in Yobokucho, Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture; on the first floor, diners can enjoy watching squid swim lively in the fish tank located in the center. The shop’s vaunted squid a brought directly via tank from the boats of local fisherman. The ikizukuri special, which includes squid sashimi prepared direct from the tank, is so fresh the squid’s arms may still move. The restaurant also offers a variety of other fresh seafood dishes, including tempura and kaiseki course cuisine. In addition to table seating, Kawatarou offers tatami seating and private rooms and can also accommodate group meals and parties.

    九州では有名店のようで休日は開店前から行列ができます。開店30分前に並べば最初の回で入店でき、料理もすぐに食べることができました。 産地でなければ食べられないとても新鮮なイカを刺身と揚げ物でいただき、大変満足です。 This restaurant is famous for fresh squid in Kyushu. There is a long line on weekends...

  • Niji no Matsubara
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Higashikaratsu / Hamakita cho
    A grove of some one million black pines grown along a 4.5 kilometer stretch of Karatsu Bay. Together with the Miho no Matsubara and Kehi no Matsubara, it is considered one of the three most beautiful pine groves in Japan and is a nationally designated Place of Scenic Beauty. The pines, planted to provide protection against winds and tides, have grown twisted into beautiful shapes. The grove’s “Seven Curiosities,” facts and legends relating to the grove which have existed since ancient times, are also fascinating.
  • Hoto-jinja Shrine
    110 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Takashima 523
    Visited by great throngs of people seeking luck due to this Shinto shrine’s name, which means “to strike upon treasure,” the numerous winners of large lottery prizes who attribute their good fortune to the shrine has resulted in it become famous almost overnight as the “lottery-winning shrine.” Today, the shrine is visited by some 200 thousand people annually. A reservation is required to engage in go-kitou (a prayer ceremony). The shrine’s Hitto-mamori (which provides luck with winning in games of chance and other situations) and other charms are also popular souvenirs.


  • Marinepal Yobuko
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Yobukochouyobuko
    This is an embarkation point for two types of pleasure cruises around the Yobuko coastal waters. On the semi-submersible type “Zeela,” one can watch fish and other sea creatures swimming around 1.2 meters under the surface from the boat’s windows. On “Ikamaru,” which features a squid motif as the Japanese “ika” suggests, one can see and take a cruise along the mysterious rocky beauty of the Nanatsugama sea caves.
    10 Reviews
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Yobukochouyobuko 1740-11
    A wholesaler for JF Saga Genkai Fisherman’s Association in “Yobuko Daiba Minato Plaza”, they have a full selection of fresh squid, sea urchin, turban shell, abalone, mackerel, sea bream and other seafood, as well as packed meat, fruits, and regional goods. There is a restaurant, a barbeque corner for cooking the seafood just purchased at the wholesaler, and an adjacent bathing facility Yobuko Daiba no Yu where you get a full view of Yobuko Ohashi Bridge and Yobuko Bay.


  • Underwater Restaurant Manbo
    Gourmet / Alcohol
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Yobukochoutononoura 1944-1
    Located along the Yobuko coast, this is Japan’s first restaurant in the sea. In the center is a huge fish preserve connected to the sea, creating an aquarium-like atmosphere. The underwater table and tatami-room seats allow one to watch the fish in close proximity, and in the tatami hall above one can look out over the Yobuko mountains and Yobuko Ohashi bridge in a preeminent location while tasting fish cuisine of unparalleled freshness. At the front they sell souvenirs including the famous squid steamed dumpling.
  • Kashibaru Marsh
    Travel / Tourism
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Nanayamaikebaru
    This is a beautiful marshy area of 12 hectares at an altitude of 600 meters, also known as the “Ose of Kyushu.” Here, nature remains unspoiled with 60 species of marsh plant, insects and wild birds inhabiting the area. Beautiful flowers such as buckbean and water shield bloom among the seasons, with the best time being August when the fringed orchids are a must-see for their beautiful flowers that resemble a white heron opening its wings for flight.

Saga Areas


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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