Take a trip off the beaten track to discover a prefecture full of nature
Japan 2019 Travel Guide: Saga
Saga is one of Japan’s more unknown destinations – but that doesn’t make the Kyushu destination any less attractive…
The Culture Vulture
Ever wanted to be a ninja? Well, the Ninja Village Hizen Yumekaido gives you the chance. Not only can you rent ninja costumes but you can try out different skills in this park themed around ninjas. Plus, there is a ninja show performed every day.
You might want a drink after that! The Saga Prefecture is Japan’s leading rice producer and thus its sake has a distinct flavour. There are 30 sake breweries in the area, so give it a try at local bars.
The region is also known for its ceramics, notably Imari-yaki and Arita-yaki pottery, which have 400 years of history in Japan. There are numerous places around the prefecture when you can see pottery exhibits and designs, while there are also many china-painting workshops available if you’re feeling creative.
Saga is famous for Takezaki crab, a blue crab that grows to more than 25cm wide, as well as Saga beef, high-quality marbled meat.
Somen noodles are another local speciality and are served hot or cold.
Go for a hike around Kyoseki Park – a mysterious place full of amazing huge rocks – and try stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) in the calm waves and beautiful sea around Karatsu. Or if you’re experienced at SUP, head to Nanatsugama for an adventure tour.
For a unique experience, head to the tidal flats of the Ariake Sea where you can get stuck into the mud when the tide is out – showers are available but you’ll want to take a change of clothes!
The Party Animal
Enjoy restaurants, bars, clubs and karaoke in the Aikei area of Saga – you’ll find them less expensive than in many of Japan’s big cities.
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How to get there
You can reach Saga by express train in just 45 minutes from Fukuoka’s Hakata station. Kyushu-Saga International Airport is 35 minutes from Saga by bus. There are also regular buses from Fukuoka to the Saga Prefecture.