There’s a lot to do in Takeo; it’s easy to see why it’s popular with tourists.
Here’s a list of the really popular stuff.

Places of interest

  • Takeo Onsen 武雄温泉 – An ancient hot spring with over 1200 years of history that is conveniently located within walking distance of the station and nightclubs. The Romon Gate, which was designed by renowned architect Kingo Tatsuno (Meiji era), is at the entrance of the hot spring area.
  • Takeo Library – The brand new Takeo Library opened April 1, 2013. Other than a library, there is a Starbucks and Tsutaya. If you have time, look for the 3000-year-old tree hidden in an old sacred grove behind Takeo Shrine, across from the library.
  • Mt. Kurokami 黒髪山 – Ready for some light hiking? Mt. Kurokami is not a difficult hike but there are multiple hiking options if you are seeking a little excitement. This hike takes about 2 hrs. If you get off at Mimasaka station, the entrance to the hiking trail is a few kilometers away.
  • Mifuneyama Rakuen 御船山楽園This park dates back to the Edo period when it was built by the lord of the Takeo region, Nabeshima Shigeyoshi, and is a Nationally Registered Monument. Mifuneyama Rakuen is open for every season, and often has illumination or projection mapping displays in the evening. Entrance and hours vary depending on the season. Located about 5-10 minutes from Takeo-Onsen Station by car.

Saga Prefectural Space and Science Museum

SagaS+SMBasic information

  • Hours: Open between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. everyday except Mondays (unless Monday is a public holiday – then it’s open) .
  • Cost: 500 yen gets you in the front door, but if you really want to test your space-related Japanese language skills or are looking for a dark place to spend some time with your date, another 500 yen will buy you a ticket to the planetarium show.
  • Getting there: From the Takeo/Kitagata Highway interchange, hop onto Route 34, turn left at Ringer Hut (towards Kashima), go past Takeo Seiryo High School and continue to a “T” intersection. Turn left at the light and look for signs for the Space Museum. You will turn right and go up a hill.

Museum extras

There is also a romantic 7 p.m. Saturday night planetarium showing where you can sit back, relax and let the melodious Japanese language tumble across your cerebrum. And that’s not all. There’s also an 8 p.m. Music and Star Journey that’s probably even hotter.

Once inside the museum, nothing can get in your way except your imagination and all those adorable little Japanese kids. I’ve found that dressing as a scientist, complete with white laboratory jacket, my hair in disarray and a pocket protector is enough for the staff to give me a personal guided tour of the museum.

You can fool around with the mud skippers (Saga’s beloved mascot), pick up sea cucumbers, watch seaweed grow, take a moon walk, play the simulated spaceship game with friends, look through the eyes of animals, stand in a really cold room and watch an ice crystal form, be strapped into one of those gyro machines that spins you in five directions at once and makes you puke, and the list just goes on and on.

If you do go, be sure and have a cup of coffee. You choose the ceramic cup you fancy made by a famous Saga potter.