Taku is a city of around 20,000 people located right in the centre of Saga Prefecture. It is nestled in a valley area surrounded by mountains, the most notable of which is Tenzan.
A booming mining town around 50 years ago, Taku is now an area that survives on farming and some remaining quarrying activity. As the mines have dried up, the population has steadily dwindled over the years from its high of about 50,000 people, with most young people now moving elsewhere to find work. Interesting remnants of mining works and run-down buildings can be seen in many parts of the City.
Taku is well-known in Saga Prefecture for the Taku Seibyo – one of only 3 major Confucian temples in Japan and the oldest surviving one, having been built in 1708. Taku people are very proud of the temple and hold a festival there twice each year to celebrate the temple’s Chinese heritage.
Taku is also famous for its Manju, which people apparently come from all over the Prefecture to buy!
Most people in Kyushu only know Taku as a place one passes through to get from Saga to Karatsu, or from Tosu to Nagasaki/Sasebo on the expressway. Indeed, there are not a lot of reasons for people to stop here on a regular basis.
However according to Penny, who lived there for 3 years, Taku has a very relaxed lifestyle and the people are super friendly. This and its natural beauty make it a lovely place to live, not to mention the fact that being in the middle of the Prefecture makes it easy to get out and visit everyone else!
Taku can be accessed by car on Route 203 (between Saga and Karatsu) or via the Nagasaki expressway. Taku is also on the local Saga-Karatsu train line, where trains run about once every 30-40mins in each direction. Taku is actually so spread out that it has 3 separate train stops in different parts of the City.
Something that most people don’t know about Taku is that the author of the famous Japanese manga turned anime, Sazae-san, (Machiko Hasegawa) was born there.
If you are interested in stopping by Taku sometime, talk to Penny.