KYUSHU Saga Feudal castles, historic pottery villages, and restorative onsen
A coastal prefecture dotted with islets and facing the Korean Peninsula, Saga was once a key trading center and home to many of Japan's pottery traditions
How to Get There
Saga is accessible from JR 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, as well as Shanghai, Taipei and Seoul.
Saga is an easy trip within Kyushu if you are based in Fukuoka. The local JR trains will get you from Hakata Station to Saga Station in 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.
- Vast carpets of flowers and trees at Mifuneyama Rakuen in Takeo
- The sacred temple and waterfall setting of Kiyomizunotaki in Ogi
- The soothing waters of Ureshino’s hot springs
- Remnants of Saga’s samurai heritage at Saga Castle
Trending Attractions in Saga
Saga beef is relatively new to the scene, appearing in 1983, but has already established itself as a mouthwatering alternative to more famous brands such as Kobe and Matsusaka. From the Japanese wagyu breed, the meat is known for its glossy marbling and depth of flavor.
The Japanese concept of wabi sabi, or imperfect beauty, runs through every facet of the culture, including 17th century Karatsu-yaki. Originally produced in Saga, not far from Nagasaki, Karatsu is a robust pottery that marries a rough beauty with hand-painted designs to create plates, vases, and tea ceremony bowls.
Saga Prefecture is the birthplace of green tea in Japan, spurred when the monk Eisai brought tea leaves back from China in 1191. Cultivation began in 1440 in the town of Ureshino, which is now the center of tea in Saga. The tea produced in Ureshino is smooth and light in taste.
Exquisitely decorated and delicately crafted, imari yaki fine china is named after the seaport town of Imari but made in Arita—the birthplace of Japanese porcelain painted with colored overglaze. Imari ware dates back to the 17th century, and is thin and light yet solid and durable.
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 in June.
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.