Today, we are going to discover 2 prefectures about which we speak very little on the island of Kyushu : the Saga prefecture and the Nagasaki prefecture. A travel between history and nature, all tinted with pretty fall colors !
Direction first Saga prefecture, the least known and popular place on the whole island of Kyushu. We often miss it, preferring other corners like Fukuoka, Kumamoto or Yakushima. Yet there are beautiful treasures there!
OKAWACHIYAMA, THE POTTERY VILLAGE
Direction first of all the village ofOkawachiyama located in the city ofImari, the cradle of Japanese pottery. It was a secret village, hidden in the mountains which housed the best craftsmen of the country and remained isolated for several centuries to preserve their techniques and know-how.
It is especially a place to discover in summer for its bells festival, Owakachiyama Furin Matsuri, which takes place from June to August, but even during the other seasons it offers a pretty picturesque walk with its many workshops and shops.
I recommend the BaseCamp Imari restaurant run by a Franco-Japanese family in an old traditional house. A little further on, we also find the Tozan-jinja shrine dedicated to porcelain with in particular its impressive porcelain Torii.
YUTOKU INARI-JINJA, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SANCTUARY IN SAGA
Then direction the city of Kashima to visit the Yutoku Inari-jinja, one of the most beautiful sanctuaries on the island of Kyushu. It is part of 3 most important Inari shrines in Japan, that is to say dedicated to the divinity of rice and cereals where we often find plenty of Torii and Kitsune, the foxes who are the messengers of the goddess.
This sanctuary is in any case a real must-see when passing through Saga Prefecture with its many Torii and its beautiful panorama.
TAKEO ONSEN, THE THERMAL VILLAGE OF SAGA
Takeo Onsen is the popular spa village of Saga Prefecture. There are superb inns with magnificent Onsen, for example Shiiba Sanso (it was unfortunately full during my trip) but also several points of interest including the garden Mifuneyama Rakuen which is one of the most beautiful in the region. It is very popular in autumn for its nocturnal illuminations as well as in spring for its azaleas.
In Takeo Onsen, we also find the temple Koyaji, a real nugget with its free garden which offers a dreamlike moment, especially in autumn.
OOUO-JINJA, THE POSTCARD LOCATION OF SAGA PREFECTURE
The flagship place of Saga prefecture, which we constantly find in photos, is the Oouo-jinja shrine and its floating Torii! Located in the city of Tara, it is a real postcard place, that is to say that it makes pretty pictures but there is not much else to do… Also beware of the tide which comes down and gives less pictures. pretty when the Torii dip their feet in the water …
If you like seafood, I recommend the Kakiyaki Hakko restaurant which offers a nice atmosphere in the good franquette.
After Saga prefecture, head to Nagasaki prefecture, just next door, with its eponymous capital: the city of Nagasaki.
NAGASAKI BY NIGHT
Nagasaki by night, it is quite well known in Japan since there is the Mount Inasayama who is considered one of the 3 most beautiful night views of Japan (and also one of the most beautiful in the world)… and indeed, you can enjoy a magnificent view of Nagasaki bay!
You can also stroll through the fairly lively nocturnal streets of the city with a lot of good restaurants.
NAGASAKI BY DAY
During the day, Nagasaki city is just as interesting with several points of interest which are all easily accessible on foot: no need to take transport, you can enjoy the main attractions of the city by walking less than 15 minutes each time !
So we find there Shinchi Chinatown, the Chinese district of Nagasaki which is one of the 3 big Chinese districts of Japan (with those of Yokohama and Kobe). It is the one that I find the least interesting of the 3 but it is still an essential passage.
In addition to Chinatown, there is also the Sofukuji, a Chinese temple which is really very pretty and really changes classic Japanese temples, much less colorful.
Nagasaki is also a place known for its cuisine including the Castella, a sweet imported in the 16th century by the Portuguese that can be tasted in the shop Fukusaya which dates from 1624., the Champon (a kind of bowl of Chinese-inspired noodles) or the Turko rice that we can taste Tsuruchan, an old café opened in 1925.
DEJIMA, THE HISTORICAL ISLAND OF NAGASAKI
Must see place in Nagasaki, the island of Dejima was for more than 220 years the only point of opening of Japan on the West. It was the place where the Dutch lived, the only Westerners able to trade with Japan during the Edo period.
A very interesting visit especially if you are interested in Nagasaki’s story so I invite you to discover it in detail in my video!
UNZEN ONSEN, THE VILLAGE OF HELL
In Nagasaki Prefecture, there are pretty villages with Onsen and Unzen Onsen is one of them. It is a quiet place with a few Ryokan and its main point of interest is its hell park : much wilder and more authentic than the famous hells of Beppu, also on Kyushu Island.
YANAGAWA, IN THE PREFECTURE OF FUKUOKA
To end this trip, head to the fukuoka prefecture but right next to Saga airport: the city of Yanagawa and its historic district.
Not an incredible visit because it’s really dead but I think it must be nice during the seasonal events that animate the neighborhood: for the Hina Matsuri in March or the flowering of wisteria in May.
Here it is, it was finally a very nice trip despite the particular circumstances that we are currently experiencing!