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Saga Prefecture

saga prefecture, saga prefecture tourism
Saga Prefecture 佐賀県, Saga-ken is a prefecture in the northwest part of the island of Kyushu, Japan1 It touches both the Sea of Japan and the Ariake Sea The western part of the prefecture is a region famous for producing ceramics and porcelain, particularly the towns of Karatsu, Imari, and Arita The capital is the city of Saga1


  • 1 History
    • 11 Feudal period
    • 12 Timeline
  • 2 Geography
    • 21 Geographical features
      • 211 Plains
      • 212 Mountains
      • 213 Rivers and lakes
      • 214 Seas
      • 215 Peninsulas
      • 216 Islands
      • 217 Forests
      • 218 Caves
    • 22 Land use
    • 23 Climate
  • 3 Municipalities
    • 31 Cities
    • 32 Towns
    • 33 Mergers
    • 34 Metropolitan areas
  • 4 Economy
    • 41 Banks
  • 5 Education
    • 51 Universities
  • 6 Demographics
  • 7 Transportation
    • 71 Air
    • 72 Rail
    • 73 Road
  • 8 Culture
  • 9 Language
  • 10 Festivals
    • 101 Saga International Balloon Fiesta
    • 102 Karatsu Kunchi
    • 103 Kashima Gatalympics
    • 104 Imari Ton-Ten-Ton Festival
  • 11 Sports
    • 111 Sports teams
  • 12 Tourism
  • 13 Notable people
  • 14 The Seven Wise Men of Saga
  • 15 See also
  • 16 Notes
  • 17 References
  • 18 External links


See also: Historic Sites of Saga Prefecture A reconstruction of a Yayoi period building at the Yoshinogari site

In ancient times, the area composed by Nagasaki Prefecture and Saga Prefecture was called Hizen Province2 The current name dates from the Meiji Restoration Rice farming culture has prospered here since ancient times, and vestiges can be seen at the ruins of Nabatake in Karatsu and the Yoshinogari site in Yoshinogari

Feudal periodedit

Saga Castle Shachi gate

From the Kamakura period to the Muromachi period, it is thought that over 100 feudal clans existed Also exerting great influence during this time was a samurai clan operating along the Genkai Sea called the Matsuratō Upon entering the Sengoku period, the Ryūzōji clan expanded their control to include all of Hizen and Chikugo Provinces, and part of Higo and Chikuzen Provinces After the death of daimyō Takanobu Ryūzōji, Naoshige Nabeshima took control of the political situation, and by 1607 all of the Ryūzōji clan's domain was under the control of the Nabeshima clan

In the Edo period this area was called the Saga Domain 佐賀藩 Saga-han, and it included three sub-domains: the Hasunoike, Ogi and Kashima Domains Also within the current borders of Saga Prefecture during this time were the Karatsu Domain 唐津藩 Karatsu-han and two territories of the Tsushima-Fuchū Domain 対馬府中藩 Tsushimafuchū-han Saga Domain and its sub-domains continued to be ruled by the Nabeshima clan, its various illegitimate family lineages and members of the former Ryūzōji clan, and politically the area was relatively stable However, the cost of defending Nagasaki was increasing and, difficult from the start, the financial situation was worsened by the great Kyōhō famine and the Siebold Typhoon of 1828 Nevertheless, due to the large area of reclaimed land from the Ariake Sea arable land was able to increase significantly and by the 1840s the annual koku of Saga Domain increased to about 670,000, twice that of 200 years before

Around the middle of the 19th century, Naomasa Nabeshima strove to set right the domain's financial affairs, reduce the number of government officials, and encourage local industry such as Arita porcelain, green tea, and coal Also, thanks to the proximity of the international port of Nagasaki, new technologies were introduced from overseas, such as the reverberatory furnace and models of steam locomotives

After the Boshin War, many people from Saga Domain assisted in the Meiji Restoration In the Meiji era the modernization of coal mines in Kishima and Higashimatsuura districts, among others, progressed bolstered by the construction of railroads


Eto Shimpei in Saga Woodblock print from Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun, 1871
  • 6th century BC end of the Jōmon period: Estimated date of the Nabatake ruins in Karatsu
  • 1st century BC middle of the Yayoi period: Villages flourished at what is now the Yoshinogari site
  • 665: After losing the Battle of Baekgang, Kii Castle in present-day Kiyama amassed its defenses to protect Dazaifu
  • 733: Hizen Fudoki created
  • 1274: Battle of Bun'ei, the first invasion in the Mongol invasions of Japan
  • 1281: Battle of Kōan, the second invasion in the Mongol invasions of Japan
  • 1591: Construction of Nagoya Castle After the Japanese invasions of Korea the castle fell in 1598
  • 1602: Construction of Karatsu Castle and Saga Castle
  • 1607: Control of Saga Domain moved from the Ryūzōji clan to the Nabeshima clan
  • 1771: Nijinomatsubara Uprising
  • 1781: Establishment of Kōdōkan, the Saga Han school
  • 1828: Heavy damage from the Siebold Typhoon, deaths estimated at over 10,000
  • 1871, July 14: Abolition of the han system All of the han became prefectures
  • 1871, November 14: The prefectures of Saga, Hasuike, Ogi, Kashima, Karatsu and part of Tsushima merged to form one prefecture, Imari Prefecture
  • 1872, May 29: Imari Prefecture renamed Saga Prefecture
  • 1874, February: Saga Rebellion3
  • 1876, April 18: Incorporation of Mizuma Prefecture
  • 1883: Separation from Nagasaki Prefecture
  • 1889, April 1: The city of Saga is founded
  • 1891: The Kyushu Railroad Nagasaki Line opens, beginning with a section from Tosu to Saga
  • 1895: Opening of railroad from Saga to Takeo
  • 1897: Opening of railroad from Takeo to Haiki
  • 1903: Opening of railroad from Saga to Nishi-Karatsu
  • 1932, January 1: The city of Karatsu is founded
  • 1935: The Japanese National Railways Saga Line opens
  • 1954: During the Great Showa Merger the cities of Tosu, Imari, Takeo, Kashima and Taku are formed At this point there are 7 cities, 8 districts, 18 towns and 35 villages in Saga Prefecture
  • 1972: With the closing of the Nishiki coal mine, all coal mines in Saga are closed
  • 1975: The Genkai Nuclear Power Plant begins operation
  • 1987: The Japanese National Railways Saga Line closes
  • 1992: The Yoshinogari History Park opens to the public
  • 1998: The Saga Airport opens in Kawasoe, in what is now the city of Saga
  • 2005: As a part of the Great Heisei Merger various municipalities are reorganized
    • January 1: Karatsu and Shiroishi
    • March 1: Ogi and Miyaki
    • October 1: Saga
  • 2006: The Great Heisei Merger continues
    • January 1: Karatsu and Ureshino
    • March 1: Takeo, Yoshinogari, and Arita
    • March 20: Kanzaki
  • 2007, October 1: The towns of Higashiyoka, Kawasoe and Kubota merge with the city of Saga
  • 2011, March 12: The Kyushu Shinkansen opens


Kyushu's smallest prefecture, Saga, is located on the northwest corner of the island, bordered by the Genkai Sea and the Tsushima Strait to the north and the Ariake Sea to the south Saga's proximity to mainland Asia has made it an important gateway for the transmission of culture and trade throughout Japanese history Largely rural outside of the two largest cities of Saga and Karatsu, agricultural and forested lands comprise over 68% of the total prefectural land area There are six prefectural parks and one quasi-national park in Saga

  • Northernmost point: Enuonohana, Kakarajima, Karatsu – 33°36′N 129°51′E / 33600°N 129850°E / 33600; 129850
  • Easternmost point: Iida-machi, Tosu – 33°23′N 130°32′E / 33383°N 130533°E / 33383; 130533
  • Southernmost point: Ōurakō, Tara – 32°57′N 130°13′E / 32950°N 130217°E / 32950; 130217
  • Westernmost point: Ōse, Madarashima, Karatsu – 33°34′N 129°44′E / 33567°N 129733°E / 33567; 129733

Geographical featuresedit


  • Saga Plains


  • Sefuri Mountains, Tara Mountains
  • Mount Kyōga 1,076 m, the highest point in Saga, Mount Sefuri 1,056 m, Tenzan 1,046 m, Taradake 996 m , Mount Ihara 962 m, Kinzan 957 m, Raizan 955 m, Mount Hagane 900 m

Rivers and lakesedit

  • Chikugo River 155 km in Saga, Kase River 575 km, Matsuura River 453 km, Rokkaku River 436 km
  • Hokuzan Dam, Kase River Dam


  • East China Sea: Ariake Sea, Isahaya Bay
  • Sea of Japan: Genkai Sea, Karatsu Bay, Imari Bay,


  • Higashimatsuura Peninsula, part of Kitamatsuura Peninsula


  • Genkai Sea: Takashima, Kashiwajima, Ogawajima, Kakarajima, Matsushima, Madarajima, Kabeshima, Mukushima, Iroha Islands4
  • Ariake Sea: Okinoshima


  • Niji-no-Matsubara4


  • Nanatsugama Caves4

Land useedit

Total area: 243931 km2

  • Forest, rough lands: 492% – 1/3 of the national average
    • Forested area: 10969 km2 – From 2000, 42nd in the country
  • Arable land: 391% – 2 times the national average
  • Residential: 68% – 14 times the national average
  • Other: 49% – Roughly the same as the national average

As of March 31, 2008, 11% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Genkai Quasi-National Park and Hachimandake, Kawakami-Kinryū, Kurokamiyama, Sefuri-Kitayama, Taradake, and Tenzan Prefectural Natural Parks5


Saga Prefecture has a mild climate with an average temperate of about 16 °C 61 °F


Map of Saga Prefecture showing municipal boundaries

As of October 1, 2007, there are 10 cities, six districts, and 10 towns in Saga Prefecture, a total of 20 municipalities As a part of the Great Heisei Merger, the number of municipalities has decreased since January 1, 2005 On March 20, 2006 the village of Sefuri merged with the city of Kanzaki, leaving Saga with no more villages


Ten cities are located in Saga Prefecture:


These are the towns in each district:


Main article: List of mergers in Saga Prefecture

Metropolitan areasedit

  • Saga
    • Saga, Taku, Ogi, Kanzaki
  • Karatsu-Higashimatsuura
    • Karatsu, Genkai
  • Tosu
    • Tosu, Kamimine, Kiyama, Yoshinogari, Miyaki
  • Kitō
    • Takeo, Kashima, Ureshino, Shiroishi, Ōmachi, Kōhoku, Tara


Agriculture, forestry, and coastal fisheries form a large portion of the prefectural economy Regional agricultural specialties include Saga beef, onions, and strawberries The prefecture is the largest producer of mochigome sticky rice and greenhouse mandarin oranges in Japan

According to 2002 figures, regional trade exports are focused primarily towards North America 293%, Western Europe 261%, and the Newly Industrializing Economies of South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore 199% Imports come principally from North America 406%, the ASEAN nations 233%, and the People's Republic of China 122%


  • Bank of Saga
  • Saga Kyoei Bank



  • Saga University
  • Nishikyushu University
  • Nishikyushu University Junior College former Saga Junior College
  • Saga Women's Junior College
  • Kyushu Ryukoku Junior College
  • Saga Prefectural Agricultural College


As of 2002, the census recorded a population 873,885 in Saga Of these, 159% were aged 0–14, 627% were age 15–64, and 214% were over 65 years old There were 3,596 foreigners 04% and 307 exchange students 003% living in the prefecture



  • Saga Airport


Major stations in the prefecture include Saga Station, Tosu Station, Karatsu Station and Imari Station The new Kyushu Shinkansen line stop at the Shin-Tosu Station

  • JR Kyushu
    • Chikuhi Line
    • Kagoshima Main Line
    • Karatsu Line
    • Kyūshū Shinkansen
    • Nagasaki Main Line
    • Sasebo Line
  • Matsuura Railway
    • Nishi-Kyūshū Line
  • Amagi Railway
    • Amagi Line


  • Tollways
    • Nagasaki Expressway, Kyūshū Expressway, Nishikyūshū Expressway
    • Nijō-Hamatama Road, Kyūragi-Taku Road, Mitsuse Tunnel
  • National highways
    • Route 34, Route 35
    • Route 202, Route 203, Route 204, Route 207, Route 263, Route 264, Route 323, Route 385, Route 444, Route 498


Arita, Imari and Karatsu are famous for the beautiful porcelain that is created there The top porcelain houses in the country are located in these areas, including Imaemon Porcelain, Genemon Porcelain and Fukagawa Porcelain


Saga-ben Saga-dialect is Saga's own variation of Japanese


Saga International Balloon Fiestaedit

The Saga International Balloon Fiesta is held at the beginning of November every year just outside Saga City along the Kase River This is a very popular event and attracts competitors from all over the world

Karatsu Kunchiedit

The Karatsu Kunchi is held at the beginning of November in Karatsu City This is Saga's most famous festival and attracts around 500,000 visitors every year

Kashima Gatalympicsedit

The Kashima Gatalympics are held every May–June in the city of Kashima This event involves playing a variety of sports in the mudflats of the Ariake Sea The Gatalympics are not held if the weather is raining

Imari Ton-Ten-Ton Festivaledit

The Imari Ton-Ten-Ton Festival is held for 3 days every year near the end of October Located in Imari City, the festival is one of the three great fighting festivals in Japan In the festival a crashing battle takes place between the two huge portable shrines, the Ara-mikoshi and the Danjiri The name "Ton-Ten-Ton" represents the sound of drums used in the festival


Sports teamsedit

Teams listed below are based in Saga Prefecture

Football soccer

  • Sagan Tosu Tosu


  • Hisamitsu Springs Tosu


Karatsu Castle

Karatsu, with its fine castle, is a popular tourist destination in Saga The remains of a Yayoi village in Yoshinogari also attract large numbers of sightseers Another place to visit is Yūtoku Inari Shrine, one of Japan's three biggest Inari shrines

Notable peopleedit

  • Comedian and J-Pop singer Hanawa became famous for comically singing about Saga Prefecture and its oddities
  • Former TV personality Masashi Tashiro was born in Saga Prefecture
  • World War II fighter ace Saburō Sakai was born in Saga Prefecture
  • Actress and J-pop singer Yasuko Matsuyuki and her younger brother, J-pop/rock singer Yuna Katsuki of Lazy Knack and Red, are from Saga city6

The Seven Wise Men of Sagaedit

"The Seven Wise Men of Saga" is the name given to these seven men from Saga, each of whom have made a significant contribution to the modernisation of Japan Their contributions began in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and continued into the Meiji Restoration Even today, this era shines impressively in Saga's history

  • Lord Naomasa Nabeshima, feudal lord of the Nabeshima clan, helped to bring about the development of Saga through introducing European technology and culture
  • Sano Tsunetami founded the Japanese Red Cross
  • Shima Yoshitake contributed to the exploration of Hokkaidō
  • Soejima Taneomi served the roles of Diet member, Foreign Minister, Minister of Domestic Affairs and was well known for his Chinese Poetry and talented writing skills
  • Ōki Takatō was Minister of Civil Affairs, Education and Legal Affairs, held the position of a Diet member and made considerable contributions to the establishment of the modern education system in Japan
  • Etō Shimpei, also once a Minister of Legal Affairs, became a Diet member and created the foundation for Japan's judicial system
  • Ōkuma Shigenobu served two terms as Prime Minister of Japan He also established Waseda University

See alsoedit

  • Saga Domain
  • Saga Rebellion


  1. ^ a b Nussbaum & Roth 2005, "Saga prefecture", p 804
  2. ^ Nussbaum & Roth 2005, "Provinces and prefectures", p 780
  3. ^ Nussbaum & Roth 2005, "Saga no ran", p 804
  4. ^ a b c "The Saga Sightseeing Information: Nature" Saga Tourist Federation Information Center Tourism Division Archived from the original on September 8, 2014 Retrieved 26 September 2012 
  5. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" PDF Ministry of the Environment Japan 1 April 2014 Retrieved 4 February 2012 
  6. ^ "Yuna" Love Flare 2005 Archived from the original on March 27, 2012 Retrieved June 10, 2015 


  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric; Käthe Roth 2005 Japan Encyclopedia Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press pp 780, 804 ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5 OCLC 58053128 
  • "Welcome to Saga" Saga Prefecture: International Exchange Division, General Affairs Department  Missing or empty |url= help

External linksedit

  • Saga City website
  • Saga Prefecture website
  • SagaJET website
  • Hagakure

Coordinates: 33°17′N 130°10′E / 33283°N 130167°E / 33283; 130167

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