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Saga Prefecture

Saga is a mostly-rural prefecture, best-known for its pottery and festivals. With a population of less than 1 million people, it is mostly agricultural. But a few places and events stand out for visitors.

Highlights:

  • Karatsu pottery (link): Some of the finest pottery in Japan is made in Saga, and Karatsu town is the most well-known hub. You can also visit the floating Karatsu Castle, originating from the early 1600s. Karatsu City Official Page. (link) (http://www.city.karatsu.lg.jp/foreign/english/)
  • Saga Balloon Festival (link): This important international hot air balloon competition is a must-see. Held in early November every year, the festival features twice-daily hot air balloon launches or landings, as well as evening illuminations of grounded balloons in the shape of popular characters. Take JR to Balloon-Saga station. Be sure to check the website for (frequent) schedule changes, and consider calling their tourist line in cases of inclement weather. Saga Balloon Festival page.  http://www.sibf.jp/e/

  • Karatsu Kunchi Festival (link): Held from November 2nd to the 4th, this annual festival is Saga’s biggest party. The festival features music, food, and most of all, hikiyama, the huge, illuminated floats paraded through the streets. Karatsu City Sightseeing Page. http://www.city.karatsu.lg.jp/foreign/english/sightseeing.html