Saga Prefecture Course (by public transport)
Saga Prefecture Course (by public transportation)
[10 minutes by foot from Karatsu Station] Hikiyama Exhibition Hall (30 min.) Karatsu Kunchi Festival is definitely the highlight of autumn in Karatsu. The hikiyama (or giant floats) which are the protagonists of the Kunchi Festival, are on display all year round here at Hikiyama Exhibition Hall located next to Karatsu Shrine. The history of hikiyama dates back to 1819 when the first hikiyama, Akajishi or red lion, was made as an offering to the shrine. The remaining fourteen hikiyama floats have been carefully protected and inherited through the years. Over 100 years since the first hikiyama was built, they were designated as Saga Prefectural Important Tangible Folk Cultural Properties.
[15 minutes by bus from Imari Station] Nabeshima Domain Kiln Park and Ookawachiyama (90 min.) Ookawachiyama used to be home to the Nabeshima Domain Kilns, which produced a number of masterpiece porcelains such as "Iro Nabeshima", "Nabeshima Sometsuke" and "Nabeshima Seiji" under the domain's strict control. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, the area has a distinctive atmosphere of secret kilns, much like a landscape featured in Shan shui paintings. Nabeshima domain Kiln Park reproduces beautifully the old checking station that protected the potting secrets, the remains of ascending kilns such as Okyo Ishi Gama (Sutra stone kiln) and the Kiyohara Kiln, and the potters' houses.
At the Meotoshi Tower where you can listen to the sound produced by fourteen wind chimes made of Imari-yaki pottery. The clear sound has been chosen as one of Japan's 100 most attractive soundscapes.
[15 minutes by foot from Arita Station] The Saga Prefectural Kyushu Ceramic Museum (60 min.) The Kyushu Ceramic Museum collects pottery and porcelain from all over Kyushu, with a focus on Hizen Porcelain. Inside the museum, you will find detailed exhibits related to the history of Kyushu ceramics and the characteristics of each era, as well as artworks by contemporary potters. On permanent exhibition are ceramic masterpieces such as the Hizen Kokaratsu ware, early Imari-yaki pottery, Kakiemon style ceramics and ceramics of the Nabeshima Domain Kiln.
The must-see exhibition "Kanbara Collection" houses an extensive collection of Koimari-yaki adorned with gorgeous decorations, which were exported to Europe from the Imari Port during the Edo era. They fascinated the royalty and aristocracy of the times. Spend one day at the Kyushu Ceramic Museum to become an expert on Kyushu ceramics.
[10 minutes by foot from Takeo-Onsen Station] Takeo-Onsen Romon (60 min.) Takeo Onsen is an ancient hot spring described in 'Hizen Fudoki' (description of the culture and climate of Hizen province) as being "a hot spring in the west of the province surrounded by rough terrain and off the beaten path".
Many famous people such as lord of the Saga Domain, Musashi Miyamoto and Philipp Franz von Siebold are said to have bathed here.
The symbol of Takeo Onsen is the red-coated Romon (two-storied gate) which evokes the feeling of Ryugu-jo, the mystical ocean castle. This gate was designed in 1914 by Kingo Tatsuno, who was born in Karatsu city, Saga prefecture, and is famous for designing the red brick Tokyo Station building.