Just a 15 minute train ride from Saga City there is the more rural town of Ogi, getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and into the world of the real Japan. While Ogi is something of a hidden charm there are many reasons why you would want to visit.
Firstly, there is Ogi Park. Ogi Park is a beautiful park all year round, with sports fields, ponds full of beckoning koi carp and picturesque walkways and forestry to explore, but in sakura season the whole area is totally transformed. Voted one of the 100 best places to view cherry blossoms in Japan, the trees from sakura archways that line the roads, meaning you walk under, through and down rose tinted paths. It’s the perfect place to celebrate and have a hanami.
While Ogi Park is great in spring, Ogi also has something to offer for fans of winter sports. The town of Ogi is pleasantly surrounded by towering mountainscape that can be seen from all over the town. Tenzan Resort just outside of Ogi town, offers skiing and snowboarding, for people of all skills levels from absolute beginners to people at home at the slopes.
Ogi is also famous for its stunning fireflies. Fireflies are one of the towns symbols and by night they come out in force to light the way for the residents of Ogi. The best place to view this stunning natural phenomenon, is at the site of another, Kiyomizu Waterwall. Northeast of the town, the waterfall tumbles through stunning trees bright green in summer, and vivid shades of golden, orange and red through autumn. Lanterns light the way to the waterfall along with the flight of the fireflies. You can enjoy the waterfall by taking the riverboat down from Yanagawa, and enjoy the peaceful scenery as you float.
Then of course there are the specialities of Ogi to enjoy, such as their Youkan or sweet bean jelly, which is sold in special stores all over the city. Or you can try one of the areas other specialities, such as Saga beef or mentaiko.
So if you are in Saga Prefecture, drop by and explore the natural beauty of Ogi.
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George is a 20-something hitchhiker, solo female traveller and cunning linguist, currently teaching in Kyushu, Japan. She circumnavigates the globe and teaches languages to all those in her wake. She has travelled Europe and Oz extensively, and has taught languages in 6 different countries and counting. She writes about a mix of language learning, TEFL tips and general travel tales. Follow her journey at http://georgeonthego.org or on www.facebook.com/georgegoingdown or www.twitter.com/georgieonthego