Saga is the smallest prefecture on the island of Kyushu, best known for its prized and pricey pottery.
Located between the lively Nagasaki and Fukuoka, Saga’s attractions are refreshingly rural. Visitors are drawn to the picturesque natural landscape and hot springs dotted around the prefecture, safe knowing they’re unlikely to run into large crowds of other tourists.
Nestled in the mountains and above the Ariake Sea lies Kashima City, home to several onsen, nature trails and agricultural experiences. The city’s most famous attraction is Yutoku Inari Shrine, one of the three largest Inari shrines in the country. Near the shrine’s entrance is Yutoku Monzen Shopping Street, which is especially vibrant during cherry blossom season.
Nature lovers and campers will enjoy the nearby Hiratani Valley. Here, streams flow with cool crystal clear water, and leaves are lush green in spring and vibrant shades of red in autumn.
For a blend of nature and human engineering, visit the Nakakoba Dam on the Kashima River. A nearby park features 5000 beautiful Japanese hydrangeas. Visit in June for the odd but spectacular Kashima Gatalympics. During the event, participants race across the Ariake Sea’s muddy tidal land.
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