Hello everyone, it’s Romain and today I would like to introduce you to the welcoming prefecture of SAGA who is just in the south of FUKUOKA.
I've been invited for a tour by the city of Saga in order to promote the region and increase tourism. Most of people visiting the north of Kyushu Island are going to Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Oita forgetting about Saga. Many times I've been asking about this region and many people told me that there is nothing to do or nothing to see. They are “Nothing there”? Big mistake, Saga has a lot to propose. With a nature that never changed with the time, you can taste a pure Japanese landscape, enjoy seasonal scenery, taste lovely local food and enjoy lots of different events.
I went on Ariake Sea between Saga and Nagasaki with a small fisher boat to visit the biggest Nori (seaweed) culture of Japan. The culture is 320 km2 big and provides most of the Nori you can eat in the region. The Nori of Saga is the best of the world due to the perfect condition of production. To produce the best seaweed you need a lot of sunlight. In this area, the sea is 3 meters deep so they can use a special technique with poles that make sure the seaweed can grow at the surface of the water and get most of the sunshine. Kyushu is very sunny in winter, the best season is January. Nori is harvest at night from 9pm to 9 am in the cold cause during the day Nori photosynthesis with the sunlight. Thank you saga people for the hard work!
Nori is dried and you can eat with many dishes like Ramen, Soba and principally Onigiri (rice ball). Seaweed is one of the most physiological foods for human’s body.
Saga is very rich due to the quality of its products; it's a country side land who can offer the best Nori but also the best fruits and vegetables. I visited the tomato farm of Mister Ejima. He got the passion for tomato from his father who started the production, today he is proposing the best “Koju” tomato of the world. The land of his farm is close to the see that make the ground very rich due to the minerals contain in the water. He is also using ancient seeds that are difficult to grow but provide the best quality and the best nutritional value. Mr. Ejima produce over 200 tones a year on 3.5 hectare of the most expensive tomatos of japan, around 300-400 yen for one and it's sold only in Saga and Tokyo with the strong reputation of the finest tomato of the country.
I could then enjoy the best and freshest products of the area at Hana Hana restaurant. We add plenty of oysters, squids, shrimps, Saga beef, scallop and chicken. The Sake from Saga was also perfect to fit those incredibles products; it was literally one of the best meals of my life.
Hina-doll festival is a 1000 years old festival that is celebrates every year on the 3rd of March. Dolls are exhibited in every family who has girls to wish them health, happiness success and future marriage. In Saga you can find a 90 years old museum that present the collection of the Nabeshima clan’s dolls, a clan who ruled over Saga during the Edo period.
Hina means small and cute.
We ended up this tour by visiting the impressive and beautiful Saga shrine that is holding 8 deferent gods with the famous EBISU god who is bringing money and good business. The shrine propose one of the best sightseeing of the city, you can also visit saga castle who is nearby, it's a special castle cause it got only one floor and it's very rare in Japan, the castle is impressive cause the ground is tatami only.
Ebisu is usually holding a fishing rod in his right hand. God of the merchants, he is bringing good business. Saga city has the largest number of Ebisu statues in Japan.
Saga has a lot to offer, especially if you like the nature, good food and beautiful landscapes. It has one of the best sakes of the country, one of the best sea foods, beef and rice are specialties , history is strong and the locals are very nice. In Saga you will enjoy many good and traditional restaurants like Izakaya style, many museums, farms where you can pick your fruits and vegetable yourself and also Ryokans (traditional inn). You will find many old traditional houses and beautiful parks like Yoshinogari Historical Park. Saga also holds a big balloon Festival in autumn.
Something I would like to point out as an Onsen lover, you should definitely try Furuyu Onsen and Ureshino Onsen city, two of the best Onsen of the country in Saga! By the way I’m preparing an Onsen guide so stay tuned.
I really enjoyed my day and I wish now you will consider visiting Saga cause there are “many things there”. I also would like to thanks Mister FURUTA, Mister OTSUBO and Mister MIYAZU from Saga city hall for this great time and I wish to come back very soon.
Thank you and see you soon at SUiTO FUKUOKA !