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Asakura-shi

At a Glance

Composed of Asakura-machi, Amagi-shi, and Haki-Machi, Asakura-shi is perhaps most famous for its Three Water Wheels. Vistors can also see Amagi’s Akizuki region’s fireflies in summer and changing leaves in autumn, or relax at the idyllic Harazuru onsen area or one of the many small onsen in Haki-machi.

Festivals

Bata Bata Ichi January 1st

Amagi’s Gion Yamakasa Matsuri July 13th-15th

Amagi Hanabi Matsuri August, second week

Himawari Matsuri Mid-September

Oshioroi Matsuri December 2nd

Getting There

By train…
– For the Nishitetsu-Amagi line, transfer at Miyanojin. For Amagi-Tetsudo, transfer at JR Kiyama (connected station) or Nishitetsu-Ogori (leave the station and walk towards Tenjin for two minutes)

By bus…
– Buses #40 and #41 from Asakura Gaido station go to the Amagi Bus Center near the train station. – The highway bus between Hita, the airport, Tenjin and Hakata stops at Kosoku Amagi and the Asakura Interchange.

By car…
– The E-W Highway (Asakura exit), Route 386 and Route 80 run through Asakura.

Points of Interest

Fujii Honey Factory has a small museum dedicated to apiculture (bee keeping), as well as a store featuring ten different types of honey (free samples available), natural health and beauty products, a cafe, and all things bee related. The owners even follow the bees’ migration from Kyushu to Hokkaido every year. 10am-6pm every day. Tel 0946-52-2151.

getting there…
By bus, get off at the Hishino bus stop, cross the street, and look for the big red and white sign. By car take Route 386 towards Hita, and take a right at Hishino.

Three Water Wheels, the largest example in Japan of automatically rotating and pumping water wheels, were constructed in the mid-18th Century. Connected together, they are a rare sight best seen in summer and can be found next to the Honey Factory.

Yoshino (Kobayashi) Gallery sells used but spotless kimono, and traditional Japanese gifts in their small, hard-to-find café and store. Visit the traditional restaurant next door. 10am-6pm every day. Tel 0946-52-9747.

getting there…
By bus, get off at the Hishino bus stop and follow the brown signs. By car, take Route 386 towards Hita, turn left on Hishino West and follow the brown signs.

Amagi-koen or Maruyama-koen, home to 4000 cherry trees, is a great place for spring hanami.

getting there…
By bus, get off at Amagi, and with the stop on your left, walk straight, pass the post office, and turn left at the second light. Walk straight for another 10 minutes and you’ll see the park on your right. By car, from Route 386, turn north onto Route 322 and follow the signs.

Akizuki Region contains the Akizuki Castle Ruins, dating back to 1623; the Megane Bashi, one of the most famous bridges in Japan; and the Akizuki Kyodo-kan Museum, which showcases swords, armor, kimono, pottery, porcelain, archaeological literature and Japanese and Western paintings. 9am-5pm. Closed Mondays and holidays. 695-1 Katakoji, Notori, Akizuki, Asakura-shi. Museum Tel 0946-74-0895. Amagi City Tourist Association Tel 0946-24-6758.

getting there…
By bus, from Amagi station or the Bus Center take the purple bus to Akizuki and get off at Kyodokan Mae. By car, from Route 386, turn north on Route 322.

Himiko no Yu is a small natural onsen located in the Amagi Pepot community center. Go for a bath, lunch or the exercise equipment, but beware it gets crowded on the weekends. 400 if you say you live in Amagi. 10am-10pm. Closed Mon.

getting there…
From the Amagi Train Station, take a left at the stoplight. Walk two minutes and turn right at Route 523. By car, from Route 386, turn north on Route 322 and follow the signs.

Mori no Yu Onsen remains somewhat secluded in the mountains of Amagi. The Japanese architecture and the beautiful green scenery makes it a great place to relax after a hard day’s work. The first ones you pass are kazokuyu, which you can rent as a set with a Japanese meal. The onsen further up is a public bath. The area around the onsen is a picturesque town, with little cafes and a quilt shop. The family onsen costs 3000-6000, depending on how long you stay. The public onsen is 600 per person. 10am-11pm. Closed every third Wednesday. Tel 0946-24-0380.

getting there…
The purple “new life” Amagi bus leaves from the Amagi Railbus Center and Amagi City Hall. It costs 800 and runs infrequently, but it allows you plenty of time for a long, relaxing bath in the splendid rotenburo, and it saves you the steep hike into the hills or the even steeper cab fare. By car, take a right at Koganchaya off Route 386 heading towards Hita. Take a right at the 7-11. Follow the road for a bit and then turn right at the green and white sign with a red arrow.

Harazuru overlooks the Chikugo River and has the largest collection of hot springs found in the prefecture. Many hotels and ryokan offer a wide variety, allowing one to try many different onsen. Or spend the night at one of the ryokan and enjoy the full Japanese onsen experience. Harazuru is also famous for cormorant fishing, a traditional method in which flames are used to attract fish and specially trained birds catch them. Onsen prices: 250-1000.

getting there…
Located on Route 386 between Amagi and Hita. By car you can take the E-W Highway and get off at the Haki Interchange.

Hotel Parens Onoya, located in Harazuru, features an onsen set in a Japanese garden. You can also get massages or eat blueberry pie in the cafe. 11am-8pm every day. Tel 0946-62- 1120.

View Hotel Heisei is on the top of Koyama and has a large rock onsen with a sweeping view of the Chikugo Valley. The onsen is in a separate building from the hotel, so please pay at the hotel’s front desk before going in. 10am-7pm every day. Tel 0946-62-1150.

getting there…
If you’re coming by bus it’s best to take a taxi from the Haki bus stop. By car from Amagi take Route 386 towards Hita and turn left at Koyama.

Hana Noka is just below the View Hotel Heisei on Koyama. It has public baths for 600 or private kazokuyu for 2000 an hour. In a separate building, local photographs and crafts are on sale, as well as a traditional Japanese lunch. 10am-7pm (private baths 10:30am-6pm). Closed Thu. Tel 0946-62-1150.

getting there…
Head to the View Hotel Heisei and see it just below.

Eating and Drinking

Cafes

Apple Land is a bright and cheery pie shop next to the Honey Factory, and it’s one of the few places in the area where you can relax with a good cappuccino. The pies made from scratch and freshly made apple juice are recommended. There is a small garden with picnic tables for al fresco dining. 10am-5pm. Closed Tue. Tel 0946- 53-0374.

Hatomame lures passer-by with the smell of freshly baked cream puffs. If you decide to dine in, expect to be served tea and pickles. While there, pick up some food omiyage from their great selection. It’s located at the crossroads of Route 386 and Route 80 near the Hiramatsu Chugakkomae bus stop. 9am-7pm every day except for the second and fourth Sunday of the month. Tel 0946-52-0036.

Restaurants

Apple Pie-ya is a hilltop restaurant with applebased foods, such as curry, tea, and of course, pie. A set with all these things costs 1200. Make sure you check out the adjoining twostory gift shop featuring handicrafts from the region. To get there, take the bus or Route 386 to Hishino. Continue towards Hita and take a left on Yamada. The restaurant is on the top of the hill on the right. 10am-6pm every day. Tel 0946- 52-0913.

Ibiza is a funky little place in Amagi with smoked sausage, well priced pizzas, and the occasional flamenco show. They are also happy to accommodate vegetarians. Make sure you try out their sherry selection, or try the tsubaki for a new and refreshing twist on beer. It’s across from the Nishitetsu Amagi Bus Center, next to Fukuoka Bank. 10am-11pm every day. Tel 0946- 22-4877. vegy

San Marco serves pizza and pasta, and features a wall of photos including former ALTs. All entrees can be made vegetarian and take out pizza is available. Dinner set of salad, drink, individual pizza, and dessert costs only 1000. It’s near Hatomame, in the small shopping center across from A Co-op. 12-10pm every day. Tel 0946-52- 3120.

Tachiban makes fresh soba and udon to order in a clean, friendly restaurant. Located near the Hiramatsu Chugakkomae bus stop, across from the 7-11. 11am-7pm every day. Tel 0946- 52-1645.

Shopping Centers

Jusco, near the Amagi Interchange and kosoku Amagi bus stop, has a good selection of foreign food, especially, chips, cookies, and cheese. It is host to Mister Donut and McDonald’s, and with a Uniqlo, Best Denki and Daiso 100 store just down the street, this area is by far the most popular place to shop for clothes, shoes and groceries. It also has a collection of ATMs from all the local banks near the far right of the building. 9am-11pm every day (until 10pm in the winter). Other shops, 10am-9pm every day.

Grocery Stores

Asakura Farmers’ Market, located next to Tachiban, offers cheap and fresh vegetables and fruits as well as breads, kimchi, and mochi made by the townspeople. The staff is friendly and always willing to identify exactly what type of produce you are buying. Outside are maps and information about special events in Asakura-gun. 9am-5pm Tue, Thu, and weekends.

Green Co-op specializes in organic food and delivers to local schools. Ask your teachers if you are interested in having Green Co-op deliver to you, or find it by the fire station on the same road as Jusco by looking for the happy yellow squirrel in green overalls with a one-toothed smile.

Fitness

B and G Swimming Pool lets you escape the summer heat or gives you a warm place to exercise in winter. Five minutes before every hour, everyone must vacate the pool for a rest. It costs 260 to swim and they will lend you a swim cap for free. By bus get off at Koganchaya, backtrack to the Konganchaya light, and turn right. By car, heading toward Hita, turn left at Koganchaya. The pool will be on the left after the first light. 6-9pm Tue-Fri, 10am-5:30pm on weekends. Summer hours vary, so call ahead. Tel 0946-24-9500.

Health

For health services, go to Kurume or Fukuoka-shi.

Other

Amagi Nishitetsu Travel’s Eguchi-san speaks wonderful English. He is a great resource for domestic travel and tries to get you the cheapest price possible. You can book all types of tickets and get some great discount packages from him. When he has time, he will personally deliver your ticket to your school. Tel 0946-22-4517.

Libraries in Amagi and Asakura have English books, movies, and CDs that you can rent for free.

Local Nurseries in Asakura offer cheap plants, vegetables and flowers ready for planting. Big plants are four for 500 yen and small plants and flowers are eight for 500 yen. Neither is staffed, so bring correct change for the payment box. From the Three Water Wheels, follow the signs for Yoshino Gallery, and you will see two nurseries on your left. Both are open dawn to dusk every day.