Sajo District is comprised of Saga City, Tosu and Yoshinogari. As the capital and most populous city of Saga Prefecture, Saga City is the hub and has many amenities. Saga boasts shopping centers, dining, nightlife, government services, and a host of events and tourist attractions. Travelers can easily access other parts of the prefecture and Kyushu via JR Saga Station and the adjacent Saga Bus Center. The local regional airport also offers weekly flights to destinations both domestic and international.
(Find out more in detail about Tosu, Yoshinogari and the surrounding area on the old Sanshin page.)
- Six prefectural ALTs live in the Northern part of the city and work at area high schools, including those in Ogi, Kanzaki, and Taku.
- Two prefectural ALTs live in Tosu and the one ALT lives in Yoshinogari and works for the local BOE
- Three prefectural CIRs live in Saga City and work for the Saga Prefectural Government. One is English-speaking, one is Chinese, and one is Korean.
- One city CIR lives in Saga City and works for the Saga City Government.
Places of Interest
- 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 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!
- 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 massive 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.
- Seiyu – Located right next to Saga Station, Seiyu has three floors offering food, clothing, and other household goods. The first floor (food floor) is open 24 hours a day and is incredibly convenient. Because Seiyu is owned by Walmart, many Walmart brand (Great Value) goods are sold here.
- Shoko Building – The Shoko Building is located in the Shirahama shopping arcade, just next to S-Platz. Shoko houses SPIRA, which holds a variety of international exchange services. Events include cooking classes, language classes, circle time, and more.
- Around S-Platz – around S-Platz is also known as “Snack Street” and is where almost all of the Snack Bars and “evening establishments” are located. There are also a ton of fabulous restaurants and bars located around here. G Collection, the only real club in Saga, is also located in this area.
- Saga Prefectural Government – if you head straight south from the station on Chuo-Dori you will find the Prefectural Government, or Kencho. The Saga BOE is on the 10th floor. Accessing kencho is fairly easy, as almost all bus lines in Saga pass it at some point on their route.
- Ikkyuu Ken – 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!
- Meat Sticks – though not actually called “Meat Sticks”, this takeout yakitori restaurant sells just that. Located conveniently across the street from MaxValu.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bishnu – Located on the main drag of Saga City, Bishnu offers delicious Indian Food at reasonable prices
- Chingu – Delicious Korean restaurant located on the main drag of Saga City, open till 4am
- Farmer’s Kitchen and Marche Aichan Nouen – a vegetarian restaurant located in Avance.
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.
Transportation within the city is arguably the most convenient in the prefecture. There are buses to major shopping centers and tourist attractions, and plenty within walking distance of the station. For further or less popular destinations, a taxi or bike will suffice.
Fukuoka by bus or train. Nagasaki by train. Karatsu by train. All of Kyushu by various buses and trains (transfers can be made just inside Fukuoka, from which buses depart to almost everywhere below Osaka).