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15 Fun Things to Do in Saga - Places to Go, Local Food & Sightseeing Tips

15 Fun Things to Do in Saga - Places to Go, Local Food & Sightseeing Tips

Date published: 30 June 2021

Occupying a northwest corner of the southern island of Kyushu, Saga Prefecture has coasts facing both the Sea of Japan and the Ariake Sea and is famous for Arita porcelain as well as its excellent seafood.

1. Saga Castle History Museum

1. Saga Castle History Museum
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

This museum showcases Saga’s attractiveness and energy during the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, a time in history that paved the way for Japan's modernization.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Saga Castle History Museum is a faithful reconstruction of a part of Saga Castle's honmaru (main keep), which existed here during the end of the Edo Period. It boasts a status as one of the largest wooden reconstructions in Japan. The building is surrounded by historical scenes such as a tenshudai, moat, and Shachi no Mon, or Killer Whale Gate, which is a designated Important Cultural Property of Japan.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation
  • Saga Castle History Museum
    佐賀県立佐賀城本丸歴史館
    • Address 2 Chome-18-1 Jonai, Saga, 840-0041

2. Kitagata Shiki no Oka Park

2. Kitagata Shiki no Oka Park

Kitagata Shiki-no-Oka Park is a waterside park with flowers that bloom wildly in all four seasons and lush greenery. The park is situated on the hilly ground beside the scenic Yakimai-tameike Lake. From the lookout, visitors have a panoramic view of the lake, and grand mountains such as Mount Kishima, as well as the Rokkaku River, which snakes from east to west. The resource center in the park exhibits tools once used in coal mines as well as old-fashioned farming tools. Every year on the last Sunday in April, the "Shiki-no-Oka Festa in Kitagata" is held.

  • Kitagata Shiki no Oka Park
    きたがた四季の丘公園
    • Address 5581 Kitagatacho Oaza Shiku, Takeo, Saga 849-2201

3. Mt. Hachimandake (Prefectural Natural Park)

3. Mt. Hachimandake (Prefectural Natural Park)

From the summit of Mt. Hachimandake, you can enjoy majestic views of the Genkai Sea to the north, Saga plains and Ariake Sea to the south, Mt. Kurogami to the southwest, as well as the mountains of Taradake and Unzen in the distance.

This entire area has been designated a Prefectural Natural Park and features the Kyushu Nature Walk and a camping ground, making this area ideal for casual hiking. At the foot of the mountain lies the Warabino rice terraces, which have been chosen as Japan's most beautiful rice terraces.

  • Mt. Hachiman
    八幡岳
    • Address Ochicho Hirayamakami, Karatsu, Saga 849-3203

4. Yobuko Ohashi Bridge

4. Yobuko Ohashi Bridge
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Yobuko Town in Karatsu City, blessed with a good natural port, once flourished as a base for whaling.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

These days it is visited by many sightseers all year round, who come seeking fresh seafood by trying fresh squid sashimi or visiting Yobuko Morning Market. Yobuko Ohashi Bridge, over 728 meters in length, is said to be the symbol of Yobuko. Kabeshima Island, which is across the bridge, has plenty to see, including "Kaze-no-Mieruoka Park," Tashima Shrine, which is shrouded in the legend of Princess Sayo Matsura, and an array of gourmet spots.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation
  • Yobuko Ohashi Bridge
    呼子大橋
    • Address Kabejima, Yobuko-cho, Karatsu-shi, Saga 847-0305

5. Cape Hado

5. Cape Hado
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

This beautiful cape has a lot to offer – swimming in pristine seas, fishing, hiking, beach camping, and facilities like tennis courts.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

A must-see when visiting Hadomisaki is the sub-sea observation tower built out into the ocean, with both an above-water and undersea deck that allows you to observe the local sea life. The specialty of this area is grilled sazae, a local mollusk with a distinctive shell, but seafood is plentiful at the local restaurants. Those who want to stay longer to explore the cape can find comfortable accommodation at the Hadomisaki Public Lodge.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation
  • Cape Hado
    波戸岬
    • Address 947 Chinzeimachi Hado, Karatsu, Saga 847-0404

6. Kiyomizu Falls

6. Kiyomizu Falls
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

With a sheer drop of 75 meters, Kiyomizu Falls is a beautiful sight to behold, and the hike through the forest reveals fantastic scenery.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Next to the waterfall is a stone monument dedicated in 1787 to a samurai warrior who went to the falls to pray for his master's health but died from the cold while doing so. Kiyomizu Falls has a long history of being a place of worship and prayer. The water is pristine, and if you stop by the nearby town of Ogi, which gets its water from the same source, be sure to try the local carp, which are caught from these waters.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation
  • Kiyomizu Falls
    清水の滝
    • Address Ogimachi Matsuo, Ogi, Saga 845-0004

7. Kyoseki Giant Rock Park

7. Kyoseki Giant Rock Park
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Strap on your hiking boots and explore the natural wonders of Kyoseki Park, where a beautiful mountain trail reveals 17 impressive megaliths (giant stones) in the forest.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

This area has long been considered a sacred place and a 'power spot .' The giant stones with their distinct shapes all hold their own legends. You can see all of the megaliths in a one-hour hike, though there is a longer 3-hour mountain trail for more hardcore hikers.

  • Kyoseki Giant Rock Park
    巨石パーク
    • Address 329-5 Yamatocho Oaza Umeno, Saga, 840-0203

8. Mitsuse Le Vert Farm Donguri Village

8. Mitsuse Le Vert Farm Donguri Village
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Modeled on a village in the south of France, Mitsuse Donguri Mura is a theme park with a difference where visitors can experience the delights of rural life.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Visit the wine exhibition hall to learn all about the wine-making process, with wines from Mitsuse's sister city of Cussac (near Bordeaux, France) available to sample.
Other attractions include a working milk plant that makes delicious ice cream, a cowshed to try your hand at milking dairy cows, horse riding, and play areas for kids. At the 'Chez Nous' restaurant, try tasty dishes made from the local and top-grade Mitsuse chicken.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation
  • Mitsuse Le Vert Farm Donguri Village
    三瀬ルベール牧場 どんぐり村
    • Address 2234-67 Mitsusemurayuzuriha, Saga, 842-0303

9. Yamabiko-No-Yu

9. Yamabiko-No-Yu

Enjoy the nature and landscape of Saga while refreshing your body and mind in relaxing waters. This popular hot spring has separate large common baths for males and females, with panoramic ceiling-high windows offering splendid views of the surrounding rice paddies. There are also separate open-air baths, saunas, an utase-style bath, and five private family baths.

If all the bathing gives you an appetite, head to restaurant 'Sankei' for delicious dishes, or even bring your own food to eat in the large dining hall. Other onsite facilities include a tennis court, karaoke room, and meeting room.

  • Yamabiko-No-Yu
    三瀬温泉 やまびこの湯
    • Address 3929-2 Mitsusemura Fujibaru, Saga, 842-0302

10. Saga Castle Ruins

10. Saga Castle Ruins
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Completed in 1611, Saga Castle was actually an upgrade of the even older Muranaka Castle sitting in a strategic position on the plains.

Originally the main castle enclosure measured 126m from east to west and 122m from north to south, with 9m high stone walls, a large moat, and a five-tier castle tower in the northwest corner. However, the castle has been burnt down and reconstructed many times, and it also suffered damage in the Saga Rebellion of 1874. At the Shachi no Mon (Killer Whale Gate), bullet holes from the uprising are still visible.

Explore the moat and beautiful grounds, which have all been incorporated into the Prefectural Saga Castle Park.

  • Saga Castle Ruins
    佐賀城跡
    • Address 2-18-1 Jonai, Saga, 840-0041

11. Karatsu Castle

11. Karatsu Castle
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Karatsu Castle was constructed in 1608 on an island connected to the mainland called Mount Mitsushima.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

After the abolition of feudal domains in 1871, the castle was abandoned, with the remains of the main enclosure becoming part of Maizuru Park. However, the current building was restored in 1966 for cultural and tourist purposes.

The five-story castle tower symbolizes Karatsu, and the building houses invaluable archaeological items from the feudal period. The tower's top floor serves as an observatory, and Maizuru Park is a famous spot for viewing cherry blossoms in the spring. Karatsu Castle is also illuminated at night to create an enchanting scene.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation
  • Karatsu Castle
    唐津城
    • Address 8 Higashijonai, Karatsu, Saga 847-0016

12. Mifuneyama Rakuen

12. Mifuneyama Rakuen
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

With 50,000 azaleas and 5,000 cherry blossoms flowering against the rugged backdrop of Mt. Mifune in spring, Saga's Mifuneyama Park is a sight not to be missed.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

You can also see 10,000 plum trees blossoming in the grove from mid-February to early May at the Plum Viewing festival. Although climbing Mt. Mifune is not permitted, there's more than enough in the way of events such as tea parties and photo sessions to keep you occupied in the park.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation
  • Mifuneyama Rakuen
    御船山楽園
    • Address 4100 Takeo, Takeo-cho, Takeo-shi, Saga 843-0022

13. Saga Beef

13. Saga Beef
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Saga Beef is one of the highest-graded types of Japanese Wagyu in the country.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Saga cattle are carefully bred, head by head, following a long-nurtured breeding method that matches the climate of the Saga area and is characterized by secure feed, mild climate, pure air, delicious water, and, overall, a rich natural environment that contributes to its excellent quality.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

14. Saga International Balloon Fiesta (Late Oct/Early Nov)

14. Saga International Balloon Fiesta (Late Oct/Early Nov)
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

With multiple competitions and other events attracting entrants and spectators from dozens of countries, the Saga International Balloon Fiesta truly lives up to its name.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Join the other 800,000 visitors who come to marvel at the sight of the colorful hot air balloons rising beside the Kase River to fill the crisp morning sky. In addition to the competitive balloons, check out the many fun balloons in the shape of cartoon characters, animals, and more. Food vendors and plenty of picnic space also make the Fiesta ideal for families.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation
  • Saga International Balloon Fiesta
    佐賀インターナショナル バルーンフェスタ
    • Address Kase Riverbed, Saga City, Saga Prefecture, 840-0861
    • Nearest Station Balloon Saga Station

15. Ureshino Onsen Boiled Tofu

15. Ureshino Onsen Boiled Tofu
Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

This tofu dish is available nowhere else in the world, specially boiled in the hot spring waters of Saga.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation

Ureshino Onsen's Hot Spring Tofu is simmered in the Onsen's own hot water until it becomes milky white and silky soft. The alkaline in the water acts as an enhancer making the tofu extra smooth. The tofu can be purchased at the onsen or delivered as a set which includes water, garnish, and sauce.

Photo courtesy of Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation
  • Ureshino Onsen Information Center
    嬉野温泉観光協会観光案内所
    • Address 2202-55, Oto, Shimoyado, Ureshino-cho, Ureshino-shi, Saga 843-0301
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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