Karatsu in Saga prefecture


Travel within Japan

After a long time, I finally got to travel within Japan. The year 2020 has been quite unique in many ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We now don’t see foreign tourists across Japan which has hugely damaged the tourisum industry since the beginning of 2020. Even after a State of Emergency in response to the novel Coronavirus disease was lifted in Japan in May 2020, a lot of Japanese people still refrained from traveling within the country. Recently, the Japanese government launched “Go To Travel” subsidy campaign which is intended to boost Japan’s domestic travel industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Luckly, I was able to utilize the subsidy while I was on vacation in late October. It seems people are gradually coming back to tourist spots but still a lot to be done before we see tourism industry to benefit from the campaign. Let me introduce some of the places that I have traveled during my vacation in the next few articles. The first spot is Saga prefecture in the Kyushu island.

Where is Saga prefecture?

 Saga prefecture is located in the northern part of the Kyushu island and is adjacent to Fukuoka prefecture. The capital of the prefecture is Saga city. The prefecture’s best known tourist attraction is its pottery, especially the pottery from the town of Arita. Saga is a small prefecture but has been prosperous from ancient times as an important point for trade with Mainland China and Korea.

Karatsu city

Karatsu city, located on the Higashi Matsuura Peninsula in the north-western part of Saga-prefecture, is a coastal city and has a variety of attractions to offer including beautiful beaches, caves, castles, and a fish market. Also, the city is famous for good seafood, especially, fresh squid sashimi.

Squid legs will be deep-fried (a picture below) so that not just squid sashimi but you can also enjoy squid tempura.

Karatsu castle

One of the places you should stop by in Karatsu is Karatsu castle. Not just the castle but you can also enjoy the beautiful ocean view from the top of the castle.

The original construction of Karatsu castule began in 1602 and took seven years to comlete. The castle was built by Terazawa Shimanokami Hirotaka, a former retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a Japanese daimyƍ and politician of the late Sengoku period regarded as the second “Great Unifier” of Japan. 

It is believed that some of the construction materials came from Nagoya castle (also located in Saga prefecture) which was dimantled when the Tokugawa clan took power.

Following the Terazawa clan, the Okubo clan and ater the Matsudaira, Doi, Mizuno, and Ogasawara clans became lords of the castle. In 1877, the castle precincts were opened as Maizuru park. The present-day castle keep, built in the style of the early 17th century, was raised on foundations laid in the feudal period. It was completed in October 1966 as a cultural and sightseeing facility.

The facility has 5 floors and each floor has exhibitions of Karatsu city, Karatsu castle and its history. On the 5th floor, you can observe a panoramic view of Karatsu bay and Matsura river.

Karatsu bay view
Matsura river view

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  1. Great travel idea!
    Good to hear that Japan is promoting domestic travel in the country!
    Hope tourism picks up soon.
    ~ Doreen

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