I’ve heard about Saga Prefecture before, and I’m so excited to finally get to visit it today! We headed to Karatsu first, which is located in northern Saga. It took us 2 hours by car to drive there from Fukuoka Airport.
For starters, we had the famous Saga cuisine, Yobuko squid. It was really sweet and tasty. I think the highlight of the dish was how it was prepared: the live, freshly cut-up squid was arranged beautifully on a plate before being served to us. It was really delicious whether you eat it by itself or even if you put a little soy sauce on it. For those who can’t eat raw food, squid tempura and fried squid are also available. Don’t forget to have this if you go here!
After having our fill, we went to a farm called Suginohara to see grazing cows. These aren’t your normal cows, though - the cows here are being raised as the highly-expensive, Saga-wagyu beef. From the barn where the cows live, a spectacular view of the ocean can be seen below. If you love nature, you should definitely go to Suginohara for the constant cool breeze, the “Sound of Music”-like feel and the peaceful surroundings.
We went to Hadomisaki next. Viewers of the Thai drama “Stay” will surely remember this; they shot scenes of the drama here, too. The heart-shaped monument there is also a known dating spot. After taking some photos, we walked around for a bit until we saw the underground observation tower. This tower is located below sea level so you have to climb down to enter it. Once we did, we saw a lot of fish! It was amazing! You can also buy feed for the fish to eat. It’s a really awesome place to go to.
Feeling tired? There’s a van here selling kakigori (shaved ice). But if you want to sunbathe, I would recommend sitting on the beach and taking a nap there. If you’re hungry, there are a lot of shops selling grilled sazae (turban shell) and grilled abalone lined up. The abalone costs 500 JPY for 3 pieces. It was really delicious.
We saw Karatsu Castle as we headed to the city. A known symbol of Karatsu, the castle is built surrounded by the sea. Also, if you want to see a wonderful scenery, I recommend going to Mount Kagamiyama. You have to do a bit of climbing, but once you reach the viewing deck you will be treated to a 360-degree, really beautiful panoramic view of Karatsu City.
By the way, you definitely shouldn’t miss going to Nijinomatsubara, too. It’s 4.5 kilometers away. If you happen to think, “Huh? Why is there a van here? Is it selling something?” the answer is, it’s selling Karatsu burgers!
This stall has been selling delicious burgers for 50 years already.
Lastly, we arrived at the place where we will be staying for the night, Forest Inn Imari. They have a kind Thai person among their staff. Our rooms were beautiful. The finale to our day is having Saga wagyu beef for dinner.