Saga may unfamiliar to many, but this prefecture in Kyushu's northwest offers plenty of natural wonders, history and artistry. It’s famous for being the birthplace of ceramics in Japan, chiefly in the historic pottery towns of Karatsu, Arita and Imari. Saga traded heavily with the continent, and has been influenced by Chinese and Korean culture. The evidence is at places like the Tashiro-Ota-kofun, a mound in the city of Tosu known for an ancient color picture-decorated grave. The Yoshinogari Remains, featuring a reconstructed 12-meter tall watchtower and an ancient colony, is reportedly where Yamatai-koku, a primitive nation mentioned in the ancient Chinese history book Gishi-wajin-den, stood. Saga Castle and Nagoya Castle stand as remnants of Saga’s feudal past. The area's natural attractions include Niji-no-matsubara, Rainbow Pine Grove, a Japanese black pine forest stretching five kilometers from east to west along Karatsu Bay, and the sea caves of Karatsu. There are many hot spring areas, including Takeo Onsen and Ureshino Onsen, ready to supply mental and physical relaxation.
Saga is easily accessible from Hakata Station via the JR Kamome or JR Midori-Huis Ten Bosch line. A highway bus travels directly from Hakata Bus Terminal to Saga Station. Saga also has its own airport, with flights directly to and from Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
Saga is an easy trip in Kyushu if you are based in Fukuoka. The local JR trains will get you from Hakata Station to Saga Station in just 3 stops at around 35 minutes. There is plenty of lodging around the station. From Saga Station, you can take a number of local lines for easy access to the surrounding areas such as Takeo, Arita and Karatsu. Saga Airport (also known as Kyushu Saga International Airport) is the fastest way from Tokyo, with the flight taking under two hours. Flights from other destinations in Japan as well as abroad to other major Asian citiies such as Seoul, Hong Kong and Taipei stop here as well.
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Spring in Saga brings out awe-inspiring cherry blossoms, carp streamers along the Kawakami Ravine, spring hiking in Mitsuse, and the Arita Ceramics Fair.
Time for fireworks festivals at Kawakamikyo and Nouryou. Visit one of Saga’s waterfalls to escape the heat, or enjoy the hydrangea festival, which peaks during the rainy season.
Revel in the seasonal color changes at Daikozenji Temple and Kunenan, attend events like the Karatsu Kunchi Festival and Saga International Balloon Festa, soak in an onsen, or enjoy a lighted bamboo lantern festival that creates an ethereal setting.
Enjoy winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding on Mt. Tenzan in Ogi. Take a stroll through downtown Saga during the Saga Light Fantasy display. Feel the warmth of the Ureshino Hot Spring Matsuri.