Guideto JapanCulture History
Saga Prefecture is located in northwestern Kyūshū, neighboring Fukuoka and Nagasaki Prefectures. It faces the Genkai Sea to the north and the Ariake Sea to the south. The north and west of the prefecture are hilly, including the Sefuri and Tara mountains, and the southeast is dominated by the Saga and Shiroishi plains. The main population centers are the capital Saga, Karatsu, and Tosu.
Saga Prefecture at a Glance
- Established in 1871 (formerly Hizen province)
- Capital: Saga
- Population: 811,000 (as of Oct. 2020)
- Area: 2,441 km2
Saga consistently ranks low in attractiveness surveys, but this belies the prefecture’s natural beauty and historic sights. The rugged northern coastline is marked by cliffs, caverns, and scenic views, while the sprawling tidal wetlands of the Ariake Sea to the south are a haven for waterfowl and unique aquatic wildlife. Saga also has a number of ancient ruins, one of the largest being the prehistoric Yayoi settlement inside Yoshinogari Park in Kanzaki. Kashima is home to the vibrantly colored Yūtoku Inari Shrine, one of the most famous Inari shrines in Japan, and bathers flock to Ureshino Onsen and Takeo Onsen to enjoy the thermal waters of the hot spring resorts.
Saga’s major industries include foodstuffs, electronic equipment, and machine tools. The prefecture is a center for ceramic production, particularly Imari and Arita wares. Nori is grown in the waters of the Ariake Sea, which also yield abundant catches of fish and shellfish. The Genkai Sea likewise offers rich fishing, including sea bream, squid, and yellowtail.
- Ōkuma Shigenobu (1838–1922): Politician and two-time prime minister of Japan. Founded Waseda University.
- Son Masayoshi (1957–): Technology entrepreneur and investor. Founder of SoftBank.
(Originally published in English. Banner photo: Hot air balloons on the banks of the Kase River lift off during Saga’s annual International Balloon Fiesta. © Pixta.)
For the complete list of the country’s 47 prefectures, see “The Prefectures of Japan.”