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The 10 Best Things To Do in Saga

Looking for things to do in Saga? From stunning natural views and rich heritage, here are 10 reasons to add Saga to your Japan itinerary.

By 5 min read

Looking for things to do in Saga? Nestled in the northwest corner of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, Saga Prefecture is a delightful surprise that borders both Fukuoka and Nagasaki prefectures. Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, Saga remains a relatively undiscovered gem.

Saga Prefecture­ offers a unique mix of the past’s be­auty with the comfort of today. Whether you’re a culture or history buff, a nature enthusiast or a shopaholic, Saga has something to captivate your interest. It’s particularly appealing to those who enjoy exploring lesser-known destinations far from the crowded tourist hotspots.

Ready to explore? Here are the 10 best things to do in Saga that promise to make your visit memorable!

1. Takeo City Library

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It’s not your average library.

Calling for all bibliophiles! In Takeo City, Saga, the famous architect Tadao Ando designed the beautiful Takeo City Library. It includes two buildings, the primary one holding an extensive book collection worldwide and a separate children’s library. The structure, built mainly from wood and wide glass pieces, provides a bright, cozy place for reading. The library allows visitors to learn and relax amongst stunning hills and vibrant green trees, offering a chance for quiet reflection.

5304-1 Takeocho Oaza, Takeo, Takeo, Saga - Map
Nearest Station: JR Takeo Onsen Station

2. Yoshinogari Historical Park

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A beautiful view in Saga Prefecture.

Do you have a passion for ancient Japan? Then, you’ll be thrilled to visit Yoshinogari Historical Park in Kanzaki, Saga. This extensive archaeological site caters brilliantly to history lovers and offers an incredible insight into Japan’s rich legacy. The park takes you on a journey with its numerous reconstructed old burial mounds and moats that bring the Yayoi Period (300 BC to 300 AD) back to life. Stroll around this impressive site and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere at your own pace.

1843 Tade, Yoshinogari, Kanzaki, Saga - Map
Nearest Station: JR Kanzaki Station, JR Yoshinogari Koen Station
Admission: Over 15 years: ¥460, elderly: ¥200, children: free

3. Arita Porcelain Park

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Saga’s replica of Dresden’s famed Zwinger Palace.

Arita’s 400-year-old tradition of making porcelain shines through its identity today. Its focal point, Arita Porcelain Park, is a testament to this. Here, you find a replica of Dresden’s famed Zwinger Palace and a vast baroque garden filled with seasonal flowers, reflecting European influence on Arita’s porcelain work. You can even craft your own porcelain piece, a rare fusion of Japanese craftsmanship and European design. A visit to this park surely offers a distinct cultural experience!

340-28 Otsu Toya, Arita, Nishimatsuura, Saga - Map
Nearest Station: JR Arita Station

4. Okawachiyama Village

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Okawachiyama is called the “village of secret kilns.”

Located in the town of Imari in Saga Prefecture, Okawachiyama is a historic pottery village. It is famous for its long tradition of producing Imari porcelain, also known as Arita ware, a type of Japanese porcelain that originated in the nearby town of Arita in the early 17th century.

In addition to its pottery heritage, Okawachiyama is known for its charming atmosphere and well-preserved historical buildings, including old kilns, warehouses and traditional Japanese houses. The village offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage and immerses visitors in the timeless art of pottery making.

Otsu-1848 Okawachicho, Imari, Saga - Map
Nearest Station: Imari Station
A direct bus from Imari to Okawachiyama runs every two hours.

5. Tosu Premium Outlets

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Saga’s premier shopping location.

For shopping lovers, Tosu Premium Outlets is the place for you since it offers a high-end shopping experience with over 150 stores. From luxury international brands to popular Japanese labels, there’s a wide range of shopping options, mostly at discounted prices! With beautiful gardens and walkways, this open-air outlet offers pleasure and shopping in one place. It also has a food court that gives variety, ideal for reenergizing after a shop-filled day.

8-1 Yayoigaoka, Tosu, Tosu, Saga - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Tosu Premium Outlet Stop

6. Mifuneyama Rakuen

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Azalea Valley in Mifuneyama Rakuen.

Takeo’s Mifuneyama Rakuen is a large and beautiful garden that provides a serene escape from busy city life. The garden is known for its changing beauty that reflects nature. You can relax and unwind with azaleas in late winter, hanami (flower viewing) under the sakura (cherry blossoms) in spring or witness the gorgeous momiji (autumn leaves) in fall. Additionally, the garden features a historical teahouse and stunning night illuminations that transform the garden into a magical fairyland, creating an enchanting experience for all those who visit.

Oaza Takeo Takeocho, Takeo, Takeo, Saga - Map
Nearest Station: JR Takeo Onsen Station
Admission: Adult: ¥500; Students: ¥300

7. Yutoku Inari Shrine

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Vibrant colors at Yutoki Inari shrine.

Atop a mountain in Kashima, Yutoki Inari Shrine is a beautiful red structure on top of a mountain and is one of Japan’s three main Inari shrines. There are multiple places to worship at the site, with the gohoden (main shrine) standing 18 meters above the ground. The street leading to Yutoku Inari Shrine has various shops with traditional stuff on sale, including snacks that add to the liveliness of one coming here. It’s a peaceful and nice place that will fill your mind with awe.

Furueda, Kashima, Saga - Map
From Saga station, take the Yutoku bus directly to Yutoku Inari Shrine.

8. Daikozenji Temple

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Daikozenji Temple in autumn.

Located amid a verdant mountain range, Daikozenji Temple is famous for its tsutsuji (azalea) festival, held annually in the spring when the grounds are covered in vibrant blooms. The temple offers an ambiance of peace perfectly suited for meditation and relaxation. For instance, you’re presented with breathtaking scenery and opportunities to engage in customary ceremonies at the shrine while still touring around this region on foot.

3628 Sonobe, Kiyama, Miyaki, Saga - Map
Admission: April, May, November, December: Adult: ¥600; Children: ¥300; Outside those months: Adult: ¥300; Children: ¥100
Nearest Station: JR Kiyama Station

9. Karatsu Castle

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Karatsu Castle during the Kyushu Fireworks Festival held in mid-July.

The impressive Karatsu Castle is a historical gem that offers panoramic views of Karatsu Bay. Built using remnants from Nagoya Castle, the architecture and indoor displays provide a glimpse into the era of samurais and Japan’s feudalism. You can climb the hilltop castle to witness the stunning city and sea views. During spring, the area around the castle is even more beautiful due to the numerous Sakura (cherry blossom) trees. This makes it a popular spot among locals and visitors.

8-1 Higashijonai, Karatsu, Karatsu, Saga - Map
Nearest Station: JR Karatsu Station
Admission: ¥500

10. Nanatsugama Caves

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The turquoise water of Sagas, Nanatsugama Caves.

These are a series of seven marine caves carved out by the waves of the Genkai Sea. Accessible by boat tours, the caves offer an adventurous and unique experience. The beauty of these rough caves with transparent water and huge stones is a sign of Saga’s coastal marvels. This trip also enables you to see some maritime animals around there and appreciate the beauty of the place itself. If you prefer not to take a boat tour, you can still enjoy the view from nearby Nanatsugama Park. It’s a perfect destination for a summer holiday.

Yakataishi, Karatsu, Karatsu, Saga - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Nanatsugama Bus Stop
So, are you interested in visiting Saga? Or maybe you have been to Saga before? Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

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