Takeo City has an estimated population of 50,000 and boasts a lovely topography of mountains, mountain basins, and riverside plains. It lies in the western part of Saga Prefecture situated between Arita, Imari, Ureshino, Shiroishi, Omachi, and Taku.
Takeo is most famous for its Onsen (Romon Gate), the 3000 year old tree located near Takeo Shrine, and the newly renovated Takeo City library. Check out the Starbucks inside! Also, in 2011, the City Government switched to using Facebook for its website.
Takeo is made up of 9 towns: Takeo (central), Asahi (slightly north), Tachibana (slightly east), Wakaki (North), Takeuchi (Northwest), Higashi kawanobori (South), Nishi Kawanobori (Southwest), Kitagata (Northeast), and Yamauchi (West).
In Takeo, there are four city JETs and two prefectural JETs.
Places of interest
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.
- 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 & Science Museum – The museum is open between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. everyday except Mondays (unless Monday is a public holiday – then it’s open).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. 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.
Trains run frequently form Takeo-Onsen station 武雄温泉駅 on the Sasebo Line that runs to Hizen-Yamaguchi, Arita, Haiki, and Tosu. There are also limited express services to Huis Ten Bosch, Sasebo, Saga, and Hakata.