Here’s a list of some of the many things you can see and do around Sajo District!
- Tafuse River – the Tafuse River runs through Northern and into Central Saga City, and has scenic trails on either side of it. The trails are good for biking, running, and walking, and the small parks and pavilions which line them make great spots for picnics during hanami season. Many residents of Saga City name the Tafuse River among their favorite places in the city to view cherry blossoms and fall foliage.
- Kono Park – a small park by the Tafuse River, Kono Park has a children’s amusement park, a tea house, a swamp (sort of), a miniature version of the Japanese driving school, and a small zoo. Another hanami favorite of Saga City residents.
- Saga General Sports Grounds (“Sogo Grounds”) – located on the main road just north of the bypass. Many schools use these grounds for sports clubs. There is a small stadium, a track, tennis courts, a pool, martial arts facilities, a small (and quite old) gym, etc. There is also a well-lit running track which loops around the grounds.
- Saga Sunrise Park (Sogo Taiikukan) – the prefectural general gymnasium which is located right next to the culture hall. There is the Saga city gym inside which only costs around 300 yen to enter (it is a little small and old) and it is also the home of the local basketball team, Saga Ballooners. The halls here can be privately reserved by groups for sports activities.
The whole area around the park and sports grounds is currently undergoing major construction which will unveil new and improved sports facilities for the prefecture in 2023.
- Saga Culture Hall (Bunkakaikan) – just across the street from the Sogo Grounds. The Culture Hall has a couple of auditoriums and plenty of large ballrooms, and hosts many different events throughout the year. If a concert series or performer comes through Saga, they will likely make a stop here. Saga City schools also make use of the facilities for their own performances.
- Saga Prefectural Museum/Saga Prefectural Art Museum – near Kencho and across the street from the Saga Castle History Museum. You can find many different exhibits throughout the year. It also houses Café Tres, which is owned by the same people as Day’s Kitchen.
- Saga Castle History Museum – Explore the history of Saga at this partially replicated castle. Admission is on a donation basis. Sometimes, there will be handcraft markets or seasonal events on the castle grounds.
- Round One – An entertainment complex located near Youme Town. You can play a ton of different sports, play arcade games, roller skate, bowl, do karaoke, etc.–all just for the price of admission!
- Furuyu Onsen – The hot springs in Furuyu, northern Saga City, are lower in temperature than those found elsewhere in the prefecture, meaning you can relax in the water for longer. Furuyu is just a 45 minute bus/car ride from downtown Saga.
- Yoshinogari Historic Park – is a large park that has a famous archaeological site that has been excavated and restored. The park is a World Heritage site and is important for learning about Japanese prehistory. You can visit the recreated Yayoi village, learn some traditional crafts, and take part in some unique festivals (such as the May Tea Festival) in and around the park. Within the park area in the summer you can also have BBQs.
- Yoshinogari Forest Adventure – a treetop forest adventure that is located in the mountains of Yoshinogari. You can book an “adventure course” which is a treetop course. There is something called the “Zip Trip Tour” which is a guided zipline course along the mountains and there is also an option called “trail adventure” where you ride mountain bikes around the woods. For all courses, you must make a reservation in advance. The place is a little difficult to reach unless you have a car, however, it is definitely worth the trip.
- Eki Real Estate Stadium – this is the home stadium for the local football team, SaganTosu. You can come here to watch home games. You can buy tickets in advance online or you can buy tickets from the stadium on the day.
- Mt. Sefuri – If you are looking to experience nature, this mountain is great in every season. The snowy winter scene is especially nice, particularly when viewed from some of the onsen found on the mountain.
- Youme Town – A massive shopping mall about 20-25 minutes (walking) northeast from the station. A special bus provides access to and from the Bus Center. Special points of interest include Kaldi (an import store), several bakeries, a large grocery store, Uniqlo, Muji, Toys R Us, Daiso (100 Yen Shop), Best Denki (Electronics), Nittori (Home Furnishings), several barbers, Food Court, a wide selection of restaurants, and much more.
- Mallage – Another large shopping mall located south east of the station. A special bus provides access to and from the Bus Center. Special points of interest include a huge grocery store, Jupiter (an import store), movie theater, Seria (a more upscale 100 yen shop), Mr. Max (general low price store), and much more.
- Aeon – Yet another large shopping mall but this one is located rather north of the station. There isn’t a bus provided to get there, however, there are buses that go close to the mall. Special points on interest include a very large Daiso (100 yen shop), Nittori (Home Furnishings) and a movie theatre.
- Tosu Outlet – A huge outlet park that is situated in Tosu. There is a bus that can take you straight to the outlet from the station and back. If you happen to miss the bus, a taxi there isn’t too expensive. There are shops such as; Nike, Lego, Lacoste, Adidas, Tefal, Levis and many more. There is also a food court that has a lot of delicious food options.
- Sunny Place – located south east of Saga city, close to Saga shrine, Sunny Place is quite arguably the best burger restaurant within the city. They have a huge variety of American style burgers and sides. (Something to note: their opening hours do not always line up with what google says. You often just have to go and hope it is open.)
Location: 〒840-0831 Saga, Matsubara, 3 Chome−3−7 増田ビル
- Nanarokupan (76pain) – this is a bakery that is down the main street of Saga in between Tojinmachi and Shirayama. They have a huge selection of delicious freshly baked goods! One of the best points of this bakery is that one the 3rd floor there is a café called “Orutana”. You can buy your bakery goods from the first floor and you can go and eat them in the café with a tasty beverage.
(Closed on Mondays)
Location: 〒840-0831 Saga, Tojin 2 Chome-2-14
- Myeongdong (明洞) – a Korean restaurant that is located near the main branch of Saga bank. This restaurant is run by a Korean ahjumma (grandma) and so the food is tasty, authentic and filled with love. They also have a great selection of Korean alcohol.
(Closed on Wednesdays)
Location: 〒840-0812 Saga, Ekiminamihonmachi, 4−24 南棟
- Godai (羊肉酒場 悟大 佐賀駅前店) – A lamb BBQ restaurant that is located just two blocks south of the station on a corner. The lamb is to die for, the staff are friendly and they have the biggest steins of beer.
Location: 〒840-0816 Saga, Ekiminamihonmachi, 6−6 アルテビル佐賀 1階
- Gin – this restaurant and pub is located on the main street of Saga in an area called Tojinmachi. This is an almost western style pub that has beers such as Guinness and Heineken on tap. However, their food is what makes the place. There is a diverse menu from things such as curry, chilli con carne, pizza, pasta, proper meat pies and even fish and chips!
(Closed on Tuesdays)
Location: 2 Chome-5-2 Tojin, Saga, 840-0813
- Glass Onion – a really great Italian restaurant that is located in the south of Saga on the same street as a lot of bars. They have an actual cheese wheel which they toss your pasta in, it is great.
(Closed on Sundays)
Location: 2 Chome-2-2 Matsubara, Saga, 840-0831
- EAD – a lovely Italian restaurant located opposite Myeongdong. It is a great place to go for lunch as it has special lunchvsets that consist of things such as pasta, salads and omurice (Japanese omlette and rice). (Closed on Tuesdays)
Location: 〒840-0816 Saga, Ekiminamihonmachi, 4−24 スカイアベニュ 2階
- Steak and Hamburg Ebisu -situated down south in the popular bar area, this restaurant boast high quality steak and hamburg. (Closed on Mondays)
Location: 1-5 Gofuku Motomachi, Saga, 840-0824
- IK Italia, Gyoza and Bar – these are three different restaurants, owned by the same owner, with different food, that are in the same building. IK Italia is tasty Italian food with an option of all you can drink Sangria. IK Gyoza is a dumpling restaurant and IK Bar is a cosy bar setting that also offers food. It is located south of the station but down a street that runs adjacent to the main street, not on the main street.
(IK Bar closed on Wednesdays, IK Gyoza closed on Tuesdays)
Location: 〒840-0812 Saga, Aikeicho, 4−10 ZEST
- Ufufu – this is a budget friendly chain restaurant that has a variety of food such as pizza, pasta, hamburg, friend chicken and doria. It is most know for its expansive and not so expensive dessert menu that includes parfaits of soufflé pancakes. There is one located in Saga station.
- Fukunoie Aikei (ふくの家愛敬店) – This is a Kurume style tonkotsu ramen restaurant. It is located just south of the station and bus centre, next to drugstore mori. This place has very inexpensive tonkotsu ramen along with the popular side of gyoza (dumplings). A bowl of their normal ramen is only around 400yen and you purchase your food through a machine so you don’t have to speak to anyone! (Although there are staff available to help).
(Monday to Wednesday = 11am – 8pm Thursday to Sunday = 11am – 4am)
Location: 11-20 Aikeicho, Saga, 840-0812
- Restaurante Vital-i – located on the same street and just down the road to the IK restaurants, this is a restaurant that offers Vegan and Gluten free options. (Closed on Mondays)
Location: 〒840-0812 Saga, Aikeicho, 4−8 紅屋館 1F
- Ikkyuu Ken (一休軒 呉服元町店) – located just next to the Darkside and only open until 4 or so, this is one of the most famous restaurants in Saga and many say it has the best ramen. Makes for a very authentic experience! (Closed on Mondays)
Location: 1-8 Gofuku Motomachi, Saga, 840-0824
- Meat Sticks (焼鳥工房 若楠店) – though not actually called “Meat Sticks”, this takeout yakitori restaurant sells just that. Located conveniently across the street from MaxValu.
(Closed on Wednesdays)
Location: 2 Chome-5-11 Wakakusu, Saga, 849-0928
- Kusu Kusu – A small bakery just past Golden Lucky on the left. It has a great atmosphere and offers a small selection of delicious baked goods. (Closed on Thursdays)
Location: 1 Chome-10-45 Wakamiya, Saga, 849-0926
- Sushiro – near Youme Town, this kaitenzushi (conveyer belt sushi) chain is a favorite among Japanese and foreigners alike. At only ￥100 per plate, there is no better deal in town.
Location: 4 Chome-4-32 Hyogokita, Saga, 849-0915
- Fruits Garden Shinsun – just south of the Sogo grounds. The bottom floor sells (quite expensive) fruit, but the upstairs has a small cafe where you can buy various desserts made with fruit. The parfaits are pricey but worth it. (Closed on Wednesdays)
Location: 1 Chome-3-21 Wakamiya, Saga, 849-0926
- Bishnu – Located on the main drag of Saga City, Bishnu offers delicious Indian Food at reasonable prices.
Location: 2-1 Ekiminamihonmachi, Saga, 840-0816
- YakinikuChingu – Delicious Korean restaurant located on the main drag of Saga City.
(Closed on Tuesdays)
Location: 1 Chome-2-7 Tojin, Saga, 840-0813
- Wine Restaurant Bibi – an Italian restaurant utilizing local, seasonal ingredients and offering a selection of wines from around the world at a reasonable price. Located about two minutes south of Saga Station, across from the police box/small park.
(Closed on Sundays)
Location: 6-7 Ekiminamihonmachi, Saga, 840-0816
- Gyuushou (個室佐賀牛 牛笑) – a yakiniku restaurant specializing in Saga’s famed Saga Beef. Enjoy some of the best beef Japan has to offer along with a glass of renowned Saga sake. Just around the corner from Bibi.
Location: 6-2 Ekiminamihonmachi, Saga, 840-0816
- Soba Road – Numerous soba restaurants line the roadway in Mitsuse, northern Saga City. Makes the perfect lunch for a relaxing drive through the mountains.
- OK Coffee – Located just a three minute or less walk from Yoshinogari station, this coffee shop has its own bean roastery and excellent quality coffee. The owner is also very friendly!
(Closed on Tuesdays)
Location: 273-11 Yoshida, Yoshinogari, Kanzaki District, Saga 842-0031
Shinchuka (中華料理・新中華) – This is a Chinese restaurant that is located just an eight minute walk west of Yoshinogari station. The restaurant has very good Chinese food!
Location: 76-1 Yoshida, Yoshinogari, Kanzaki District, Saga 842-0031
- Katsumiya – Best udon, a must go while in Tosu! The place can sell out around 7-8pm and there can be up to an hour wait on weekends. A friendly couple runs the shop and they cater dietary restrictions. (Can ask for udon with soy sauce and veggie tempura)
Location: 1256-4 Motomachi, Tosu, Saga 841-0051
- Buggy Burger & Restaurant – Delicious burgers close to the station with a great athmosphere! They have a lunch special on weekdays.
Location: 537-6 Hondosumachi, Tosu, Saga 841-0026
- Kura Sushi – Conveyor belt sushi chain close to the station! Affordable and English friendly!
Location: 537-1 Hondosumachi, Tosu, Saga 841-0026
- SushiRo– Conveyor belt sushi chain. Affordable and English friendly! Can never go wrong with SushiRo!
Location: 335-1 Kogamachi, Tosu, Saga 841-0083
- Banshakutei Tosu – Yakitori stand starting at 90￥ It is 2min walk from the housing provided by work!
Location: 1012-8 Shukumachi, Tosu, Saga 841-0052
- CoCo Ichibanya Tosu Bypass – You will find a variety of ways to eat curry. Vegan friendly options available! 1-10 levels of heat, how much can you handle?
Location: 4 Chome-117 Tosu, Saga 841-0056
- Tempura Maki (天ぷら まき 鳥栖本店) – Popular spot for tempura! Have you ever seen a rice serving machine before? You can also take tempura fried crumbs home for free!
Location: 〒841-0046 Saga, Tosu, Makimachi, 1092-11
- Azuma Kiyama – Soba shop! Hot or cold, whichever you are in the mood for!
Location: 972-1 Kokura Kiyama, Miyaki District, Saga 841-0201
To find out what events are coming up around the prefecture, check this month’s events page.
- Koinobori – When the koinobori (carp flags) are up around early May, head North towards the mountains to see the red bridge as they put up many koinobori above the river.
- Saga Charity Christmas Party – Every year in December the Saga Charity Christmas Party is held at the Culture Hall. Volunteer to help out with the party, or even just attend – it’s a great way to give back to the community.
- Sakura Marathon – The Sakura Marathon begins and ends in Northern Saga City at the Sogo Grounds.
- Saga Balloon Festa – The annual Saga Balloon Festa is held along the Kase River in Northwestern Saga. A temporary station is set up to access the festival, though it can also be reached by bike (if you’re up for it) or by car.
- Saga International Festival – this is an international festival that is hosted by SPIRA. The festival takes place in a different city around the prefecture each year. It is usually hosted on the last weekend of October. The festival includes; food stalls from all around the world, a main stage with a variety of different cultural performances, souvenir stalls, as well as stalls where you can get involved and try new activities from different cultures. Circle time (the programme where us ALTs volunteer once a month to spend an hour teaching English to very young kids) usually runs a stall with different Halloween themed activities for children.
- Saga Saiko Festival – Saga Saiko festival is a festival within Saga city, that celebrates everything about Saga. “Saiko” means “the best” in Japanese. The festival takes place outside of the Saga Prefectural Museum and at the event there is a host of different stalls where you can buy items that were handmade in Saga. There is also live music and a variety of different food stalls where you can buy delicious food. The festival is usually on a weekend in October.
- Saga Thai Festival – the Thai festa, which takes place just north of the saiko festa outside of the Saga prefectural library, is a festival that celebrates everything to do with Thai culture. It takes place the same weekend as the Saiko festa in October. There are food stalls, souvenir stalls as well as a host of different live shows which include Thai music, traditional Thai dancing and Thai kick boxing (that you can try yourself).
- Saga Coffee Festival – Saga is passionate about its coffee. This festival also takes place outside of the Saga Prefectural Museum in Saga city. At this festival there are stalls of coffee shops from all across Saga prefecture. All festivals are free to enter but at this event you can pay to buy tickets which allow you to try 5 different coffees from different stalls. There are also food trucks and live music. If you are a coffee lover, you definitely shouldn’t miss this festival.
- Dragon Boat Race Festival – Around the end of August each year, teams compete in a boat race in traditional dragon boats! (We often make a JET team to compete so keep your ears out if you are interested in joining!)
- Sonezaki Oimatsu Shrine Lion Dance – The Sunday before March 29, come see the traditional Lion Dance done to pray for a good harvest and to clean away the evil spirits (Tosu).
- Heart Light Festa – In late November to early December, come to the Central Park area of Tosu to see this illumination.
- Azalea Festival at Daikozenji Park – Make the trip down to Kiyama to see 50,000 Azalea flowers in bloom. Daikozenji park is also a fantastic place to see the Autumn leaves or hop back over to Shirasaka park to see the terraced fields with 20,000 large blooming flowers.