The rich, natural beauty of Saga Prefecture is evident in its two distinctive
seas, namely, the Ariake Sea and the Genkai Sea, as well as the Sefuri
Mountain Range in the north and the vast Saga Plains in the south. Saga's
mild climate throughout the year makes it a comfortable place to live.
[A] Ariake Sea
The Ariake Sea, with a maximum tidal range of 6 m, is a shallow sea whose
bottom is made of sandy mud and its water is a mixture of seawater flowing
from the outer sea and fresh river water. Sandy mud and rich nutrients
flow into the sea from the rivers and the bay is shallow for a long distance
from the shore. Therefore, on full or new moon nights, a vast flat land
can be seen.
[B] Niji-no-Matsubara (Karatsu City)
Niji-no-Matsubara, stretching along the Karatsu Bay coastline, is designated
as a national scenic beauty spot and is considered one of the three most
beautiful pine forests in Japan along with Miho-no-Matsubara and Ama-no-Hashidate.
Around one million pine trees cluster for about 5 km, in a 1-km wide strip.
This pine forest dates back to the early 17th century when Terasawa Hirotaka,
the first lord of the Karatsu Clan, started planting pine tress on the
dune along the coastline for protection against the winds and tides.
[C] Rice Terrace (throughout Saga Prefecture)
Rice terraces are rice fields shaped like shelves, which are made on hills
by opening up lands and drawing water from rivers. Many of them can be
found throughout the prefecture. In the 100 best rice fields of Japan selected
by the government, the "Rice Terrace of Warabino (Ouchi Town, Karatsu
City)", the "Rice Terrace of Eriyama (Ogi City)", the "Rice
Terrace of Take (Arita Town)", the "Rice Terrace of Nishi-no-Tani
(Fuji Town, Saga Prefecture)", the "Rice Terrace of Oura (Hizen
Town, Karatsu City)" and the "Rice Terrace of Hama-no-Ura (Genkai
Town)"are listed. One of them, the "Rice Terrace of Hama-no-Ura",
is worth viewing in early May when its 283 paddies of various sizes are
filled with water and they strikingly reflect the evening sunlight, like
giant mirrors. Also, the "Rice Terrace of Warabino" is famous
for its piled stones. The huge stones used in the paddy fields are more
than 1 m in length and width. The tallest pile of stones measures some
8.5 m, and are the tallest in Japan.
[D] Iroha Island (Hizen Town, Karatsu City)
Iroha Island is a general term for the 48 large and small islands in Imari
Bay that share one part of the Genkai Quasi-National Park. Kukai (Kobo-taishi),
a famous monk in the Heian period, named them after 48 Japanese alphabets.
Impressed by the stunning green islands in the blue ocean, even Kukai,
a renowned master of calligraphy, was said to have stopped practicing calligraphy
for a while, for he was in such awe of their beauty.
[E] Nanatsugama Caves (Karatsu City)
The Nanatsugama Caves, designated as a national natural monument, are cliffs
sharpened by the rough waves of the Genkai Sea. Seven large caves dominate
the area. The frontage of the biggest of them is 3 m and its depth is 110
m. There is grassland on the seven caves, where an observatory and walkways
have been built. By taking a ferry, visitors can enjoy a close look at