The capital of the Saga Prefecture may be synonymous with the rice paddies which surround the area, but if you are curious enough to venture to this little metropolitan perhaps on your way from Fukuoka to Nagasaki, you will be delighted with the hidden treasure that you will uncover.
Firstly, Saga City is far more urbanised than you think. It’s full of high rise buildings, has an excellent selection of restaurants and shops, it’s own Youme Town and Round One, and an area dedicated to bars and clubs, if you are looking for a medium sized city with all the modern conveniences you need than I can’t recommend Saga more.
Saga is a cultural hub of Japan home to many intellectuals and the 7 wise men of Saga. Most visitors come to Saga to view Saga Castle, which occasionally holds re-enactments and shows from the time when the castle was in use. There are several museums around Saga detailing Saga’s colourful history. It also has it’s own onsen near Youme Town. Of course there is always the fabulous hot air balloon festival which goes on every October.
Saga has many small shops and boutiques around the area with high fashion pieces. For those who are more mainstream, Uniqlo, Daiso and all your other Japanese favourites can be found in Saga’s large Youme Town. Electronic and more gadget style items can be found at nearby Don Quixote.
Since the “No Dancing” in Fukuoka rule was passed last year the popularity of going out in Saga has risen dramatically. All Saga nightlife remains in one area of the city on the south side of the station, where you can find numerous hostess clubs, bars and snack shops. There is also a host club and Saga’s mainstream club G collection, which plays, pop, R n B and dance music.
Located between Fukuoka and Nagasaki, Saga has great transport links to surrounding cities by train and by bus. Saga also has an airport, although not many flights fly into there, and is only an hour and a direct bus away from the much larger Fukuoka International Airport. Saga is not a large city and the most popular form of transportation is by bike, but there are also several buses which service almost everywhere in the city.
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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