KARATSU / YOBUKO
Karatsu has long been prosperous as an international trading port town and at one time it also flourished as a castle town.
Today, the city retains its historical atmosphere. Karatsu Castle is a dignified symbol of the city set against the backdrop of the Sea of Genkai. At Arupino Furusato Kaikan House, which is adjacent to Karatsu Station, there is a shop area where you can find local specialties of Karatsu and a travel information area where you can obtain travel information concerning the Karatsu region.
Saga Prefecture is one of the most famous pottery and porcelain centers in Japan. Karatsu-yaki porcelain has nearly 400 years of history. Karatsu-yaki ware is also called Karatsu “tea ware” and is used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Those who enjoy Japanese tea ceremonies will love Karatsu ware. On Ochawan-gama Street, located south of Karatsu Station, there are several pottery kilns as well as museums. A walk along this street is an exciting experience.
If you climb Mount Kagami, you can see from above the Sea of Genkai and Nijino-matsubara, one of the largest pine forests in Japan. With the sky spreading before you, the Sea of Genkai below, and the verdant pine forest that stretches 5km long and 1km wide, this is a magnificent view.
November brings the Karatsu Kunchi festival, an important intangible folk cultural property, and the city bustles with many people every year.
A 30-minute bus ride from Karatsu will take you to Yobuko morning market, one of Japan’s largest. It is open every morning from 7:30 and sells fresh seafood and vegetables on a shopping street called Asaichi-dori (Morning market street). Yobuko is very famous for squid. It is wonderful to eat fresh squid with transparent skin. There are eateries that specialize in squid dishes, and these will satisfy your stomach.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi (a warlord, 1536-1598) built Nagoya Castle to use as a base when he invaded the Korean Peninsula in 1591. The Nagoya Castle Museum is built on the remains of this castle to help strengthen the friendship between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Articles from the ruins of Nagoya Castle and other documents and materials regarding Japan and Korea are displayed here.