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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Castles, caves, and a day at the beach

Karatsu is a small, coastal city in the northern region of Saga Prefecture . The area has a variety of attractions on offer including beautiful beaches, caves, castles, and a fish market. If you are looking for a hassle-free trip with a variety of historical and natural sites to explore, Karatsu City is definitely for you.

Don't Miss

  • Explore natural history on a Nanatsugama Caves tour
  • Make an early morning stop by the Yobuko Fish Market
  • Relax on Nijininomatsubara Beach

How to Get There

Karatsu is easy to access on the JR Chikuhi Line, which connects directly to Fukuoka.

If you're flying into the area via Fukuoka Airport, the best way to get to Karatsu is to catch the Kuko Line to Nishi-Karatsu from Hakata Station. From the nearby city of Saga, catch the JR Karatsu Line heading to Nishi-Karatsu.

Scale the castle top observatory

The centerpiece of the city is Karatsu Castle . A hilltop-style castle that you can climb or take an elevator. The castle is sometimes referred to as Maizuru, which means dancing crane, because the castle's top tower and lower roofs resemble a crane's head, body, and wings. The top floor is an observatory where you can enjoy a spectacular 360-degree view of the city, Karatsu Bay and the Ariake Sea.

Early morning fish market

If you enjoy dining on seafood, visit the Yobuko Fish Market, which is famous for its sashimi-style squid. It's also known as the Morning Yobuko Fish Market, because it's common for visitors to arrive here early to get their hands on the freshest fish straight off the boat.

Journey caves by boat

Among all the boats near the Yobuko Fish Market, there's a small cruise boat that will take you into the Nanatsugama Limestone Caves . There are seven caves in total that have been formed by the crashing waves. Sit back and relax as you enjoy geological wonders—each designated a natural monument of Japan. Above the caves is a plateau offering some alternate views.

Take some time to celebrate

If you happen to be in the area around the first few days of November, don't miss the famous Karatsu Kunchi Festival , which draws crowds by the thousands. Witness the lavishly decorated hikiyama floats that come in many forms from ferocious dragons to giant sea creatures. During the rest of the year, the elaborately decorated floats are on display in the festival museum.

Stunning waterfalls

Head over to rural Ouchi Town, just south of Karastu where you can explore Mikaeri Falls . Mikaeri has been listed within Japan's top 100 waterfalls and features a hydrangea festival from the second weekend in June until late July.

Finish off the day with a beach sunset

Karatsu is home to some of Japan's most beautiful coastline, which is definitely worth exploring when you're in the area. Nearby is the Nijinomatsubara Forest, which stretches out around five kilometers and is comprised of over a million Japanese black pine trees. It can be explored on foot, by bike, or car.

Exploring deeper

If you still have time for some historical exploration, there's the Hizen Nagoya Castle ruins, located around 10km north of Karatsu City. This was once a wartime castle strategically built during the infamous 16th-century invasion of Korea by the warlord, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. While it's primarily a park, there are still visible remnants of Japan's tumultuous warring states era.

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