Central Karatsu


Central Karatsu is the most urban area in Tomatsu, with a lot of culture and character that makes the town interesting and fun to be in. There are a sufficient number of places to dine, drink, and make merry, but if you ever feel like you need a change, you can be in downtown Fukuoka city in an hour. Check it!

Who’s here?

  • Four city/town ALTs
  • Three ken ALTs
  • A few private English teachers

Places of Interest

  • Karatsu Castle – stands on top of a hill overlooking the bay; stray cats and cherry blossoms abound
  • Nijinomatsubara Pine Forest – a four kilometers long forest that may or may not be totally haunted
  • Nishinohama beach – the largest beach in Karatsu and is in walking distance from Karatsu Station
  • Mt. Kagami – offers a breath-taking view, and maybe the occasional hang-glider, from its summit
  • Hikiyama Museum – the floats from Kunchi are displayed year-round at this exhibition hall near the Bus Center.



  • Pizza Milano  – Italian thin-crust and American doughy crust pizzas. Between Gofuku-machi shopping arcade and Karatsu Station.
  • OdeCafe  Nice little cafe inspired by European cafe culture. Friendly staff, decent coffee and food, hosts a regular international event called “Friends Party”.
  • Shijack  Rotating sushi restaurant. 105 yen for a plate of two pieces of sushi. Located on the south side of station.
  • Jujiya  Slow service but boasts an impressive selection of foreign foods and alcohol. Between the station and Snack Street.
  • Lagoon  Spacious darts/billiards bar that serves large American-style pizza. Gofuku-machi shopping arcade, open after 7pm.
  • Hamakatsu  – Fried pork and chicken cutlets. In Kagami down the street from Aeon mall.
  • West   Grill-your-own meat barbecue restaurant with salad and dessert bar. Next to Aeon.
  • Teppen  – Japanese-style pub featuring yakitori and other tapas-style small dishes. Behind Oteguchi bus center.

Traditions and Local Events

To find out what events are coming up around the prefecture, check this month’s events page.

  • Karatsu-yaki  world famous earthenware pottery very popular for tea-ceremony enthusiasts.
  • Karatsu Kunchi – a huge festival every November 2nd – 4th.  Read more here.


Getting around

  • Bus: City buses, though infrequent at times, go to most places in the area. The bus to the shopping mall between Aeon and downtown Karatsu is free. There are also regular highway coach buses that go to Fukuoka City (1.2 hour). Most buses start and end at Oteguchi, the main bus stop downtown.
  • Train: Karatsu is connected by train lines to downtown Fukuoka, Fukuoka Airport, Saga City, and Imari City. Trains to Fukuoka are usually twice every hour, once every hour to Saga, and once every two hours to Imari.
  • Bicycle: Downtown Karatsu is mostly flat, so cycling is a good way to get around if that’s your thing. Bike parking at Karatsu Station is free. Arpino has free rental cycles (until 6pm).
  • Car: Most Japanese residents of Karatsu drive. Parking is readily available and having a car is very convenient. Highway tolls to Fukuoka are 1,360yen/one way, 600yen/one way to Saga City.