Saga Prefecture

Saga Prefecture (佐賀県 Saga-ken) is a prefecture in the northwest part of the island of Kyushu, Japan.[1] 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 Saga.[1]

Saga Prefecture

Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese佐賀県
 • RōmajiSaga-ken
Flag of Saga Prefecture

Official logo of Saga Prefecture

Location of Saga Prefecture
SubdivisionsDistricts: 6, Municipalities: 20
 • GovernorYoshinori Yamaguchi
 • Total2,440.68 km2 (942.35 sq mi)
Area rank42nd
 (June 1, 2019)
 • Total815,164
 • Rank42nd
 • Density330/km2 (870/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeJP-41
BirdBlack-billed magpie (Pica pica)
FlowerCamphor blossom (Cinnamomum camphora)
TreeCamphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora)
Emblem of Saga prefecture
The seal of Saga Prefecture
Flag of Saga Prefecture
The flag 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 Province.[2] 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 period

Sagajyou shachinomon
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 at Saga Rebellion
Eto Shimpei in Saga. Woodblock print from Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun, 1874.


Kyushu's 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.

Geographical features


  • 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 lakes

  • Chikugo River (15.5 km in Saga), Kase River (57.5 km), Matsuura River (45.3 km), Rokkaku River (43.6 km)
  • Hokuzan Dam, Kase River Dam



  • Higashimatsuura Peninsula, part of Kitamatsuura Peninsula


  • Genkai Sea: Takashima, Kashiwajima, Ogawajima, Kakarajima, Matsushima, Madarajima, Kabeshima, Mukushima, Iroha Islands[4]
  • Ariake Sea: Okinoshima


  • Niji-no-Matsubara[4]


  • Nanatsugama Caves[4]

Land use

Total area: 2439.31 km2

  • Forest, rough lands: 49.2% – 1/3 of the national average.
    • Forested area: 1096.9 km2 – From 2000, 42nd in the country.
  • Arable land: 39.1% – 2 times the national average.
  • Residential: 6.8% – 1.4 times the national average.
  • Other: 4.9% – 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 Parks.[5]


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


Map of Saga Prefecture Ja
Map of Saga Prefecture showing municipal boundaries.
     City      Town
Saga cityscape from mount Kinryu
Saga City
100731 Central of Karatsu
Tara town center from west of Kamezaki
Tara Town

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:

Metropolitan areas

  • 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 (29.3%), Western Europe (26.1%), and the Newly Industrializing Economies of South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore (19.9%). Imports come principally from North America (40.6%), the ASEAN nations (23.3%), and the People's Republic of China (12.2%).


  • Bank of Saga
  • Saga Kyoei Bank




As of 2002, the census recorded a population 873,885 in Saga. Of these, 15.9% were aged 0–14, 62.7% were age 15–64, and 21.4% were over 65 years old. There were 3,596 foreigners (0.4%) and 307 exchange students (0.03%) living in the prefecture.




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.



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 Fiesta

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 Kunchi

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 Gatalympics

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 Festival

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 teams

Teams listed below are based in Saga Prefecture.

Football (soccer)



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 people

  • 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 city.[6]

The Seven Wise Men of Saga

"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.

See also


  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 September 26, 2012.
  5. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment (Japan). April 1, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  6. ^ "Yuna". Love Flare. 2005. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved June 10, 2015.


External links

Coordinates: 33°17′N 130°10′E / 33.283°N 130.167°E

Ekimae Real Estate Stadium

Ekimae Real Estate Stadium (駅前不動産スタジアム, Ekimae Fudōsan Sutajiamu) is a football stadium in Tosu, Saga, Japan. It serves as a home ground of J1 League club Sagan Tosu. The stadium holds 24,130 people and was built in 1996.

It was built in the site of Tosu rail yard and Tosu classification yard in accord with the JR Kyushu's Tosu Station.

It was formerly known as Tosu Stadium (鳥栖スタジアム, Tosu Sutajiamu) then it was called Best Amenity Stadium from January 2008 to January 2019 for the naming rights.

Ekimae Real Estate Holdings Co., Ltd., a real estate company in Kurume City, won the naming rights agreement from Tosu City, then renamed the stadium as Ekimae Real Estate Stadium (駅前不動産スタジアム, Ekimae Fudōsan Sutajiamu) from 1 February 2019.

Hichiku dialect

The Hichiku dialect (肥筑方言 Hichiku hōgen) is a group of the Japanese dialects spoken in the western Kyushu. The name Hichiku (肥筑) is constructed by extracting a representative kanji from Hizen (肥前), Higo (肥後), Chikuzen (筑前) and Chikugo (筑後), names of old provinces in there.

The Hichiku dialect is:

Hakata dialect (western Fukuoka Prefecture, formerly known as Chikuzen Province, especially Hakata district in Fukuoka)

Chikugo dialect (southern Fukuoka Prefecture, formerly known as Chikugo Province)

Ōmuta dialect (Ōmuta)

Yanagawa dialect (Yanagawa)

Chikuhō dialect (central Fukuoka Prefecture such as Iizuka)

Saga dialect (Saga Prefecture)

Karatsu dialect (northern Saga Prefecture centered Karatsu)

Tashiro dialect (easternmost Saga Prefecture centered Tashiro)

Nagasaki dialect (Nagasaki Prefecture)

Sasebo dialect (northern Nagasaki Prefecture centered Sasebo)

Hirado dialect (Hirado Island, west of Nagasaki Prefecture)

Kumamoto dialect (Kumamoto Prefecture)

Hita dialect (Hita, southwestern Oita Prefecture)

Iki dialect (Iki Island of Nagasaki Prefecture)

Tsushima dialect (Tsushima Island of Nagasaki Prefecture)

Gotō dialect (Gotō Islands of Nagasaki Prefecture)

Hizen Province

Hizen Province (肥前国, Hizen no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area of Saga and Nagasaki prefectures. It was sometimes called Hishū (肥州), with Higo Province. Hizen bordered on the provinces of Chikuzen and Chikugo. The province was included in Saikaidō. It did not include the regions of Tsushima and Iki that are now part of modern Nagasaki Prefecture.

Imari, Saga

Imari (伊万里市, Imari-shi) is a city located in Saga Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan. Imari is most notable because of Imari porcelain, which is the European collectors' name for Japanese porcelain wares made in the town of Arita, Saga Prefecture. The porcelain was exported from the port of Imari specifically for the European export trade.

As of October 1, 2016, the city has an estimated population of 54,907 and a population density of 220 persons per km². The total area is 254.99 km².

Japan National Route 207

National Route 207 (国道207号, Kokudō Nihyaku Nana-gō) is a highway in Japan on the island of Kyūshū which runs from Saga City in Saga Prefecture to Togitsu in Nagasaki Prefecture. From Kōhoku it runs along the Ariake Sea towards Isahaya. Hence, that portion of the road runs mostly parallel to the Nagasaki Main Line.

Japan National Route 34

National Route 34 is a highway in Japan on the island of Kyūshū which runs from Saga City in Saga Prefecture to Nagasaki in Nagasaki Prefecture. It follows the old Nagasaki Kaidō, a road from the Edo period. About 10% of the route is 4 lanes or more, and the rest is two lanes.

Karatsu ware

Karatsu ware (唐津焼, Karatsu-yaki) is a style of Japanese pottery produced traditionally in and around Karatsu, Saga Prefecture.

Kiyama Station (Saga)

Kiyama Station (基山駅, Kiyama-eki) is a railway station in Kiyama, Saga prefecture, Japan.

Metabaru Air Field

Metabaru Air Field (目達原飛行場, Metabaru Hikōjō) (ICAO: RJDM) is a military aerodrome of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). It is located at JGSDF Camp Metabaru (目達原駐屯地, Metabaru Chūtonchi), in Yoshinogari, Saga Prefecture, Japan.

On February 5, 2018 an AH-64D Apache of the JGSDF helicopter based at Metabaru crashed in nearby Kanzaki, Saga. Both crew members were killed in the crash, a local person was injured and a house was destroyed.

Saga (city)

Saga (佐賀市, Saga-shi, Japanese: [saꜜɡa]) is the capital city of Saga Prefecture, located on the island of Kyushu, Japan.

Saga was the capital of Saga Domain in the Edo period, and largest city of former Hizen Province.

As of June 1, 2019, the city has an estimated population of 233,546 and a population density of 541 persons per km². The total area is 431.84 km².

On October 1, 2005, Saga absorbed the towns of Fuji, Morodomi and Yamato (all from Saga District) and the village of Mitsuse (from Kanzaki District) to create the new and expanded city of Saga. With this creation, the city now neighbors the city of Fukuoka (in Fukuoka Prefecture).

On October 1, 2007 the towns of Higashiyoka, Kawasoe, and Kubota (all from Saga District) were also incorporated into Saga, further expanding its borders.

Although Saga is the capital of Saga Prefecture, it can also be said to be within the Greater Fukuoka metropolitan area, and by extension, Fukuoka-Kitakyushu Metropolitan Area.

Saga Airport

Saga Airport (佐賀空港, Saga-kūkō) (IATA: HSG, ICAO: RJFS) is an airport in the Kawasoe area of Saga, Saga Prefecture, Japan. It also uses the unofficial name Kyushu Saga International Airport (九州佐賀国際空港, Kyūshū Saga Kokusai Kūkō).Saga Airport is located on the edge of the Ariake Sea, in what could best be described as a reclaimed mudflat, 35 minutes from JR Saga Station by bus.

Saga Ballooners

The Saga Ballooners is a professional basketball team that will compete in the third division of the Japanese B.League.

Saga Sunrise Park General Gymnasium

Saga Prefectural Gymnasium is an arena in Saga, Saga, Japan. It is the home arena of the Saga Ballooners of the B.League, Japan's professional basketball league.

Sagan Tosu

Sagan Tosu (サガン鳥栖, Sagan Tosu) is a Japanese professional football club, currently playing in the J1 League. The team is located in Tosu, Saga Prefecture.

Sagan is a coined word with a couple of meanings behind it. One of its homophones is sandstone (砂岩, sagan) in Japanese. This symbolises many small elements uniting to form one formidable object, for example as a metaphor for a team.

Tashiro Station

Tashiro Station (田代駅, Tashiro-eki) is a railway station in Tosu City, Saga prefecture, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.

Tosu, Saga

Tosu (鳥栖市, Tosu-shi) is a city located in the eastern part of Saga Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan.

As of February 28, 2017, the city has an estimated population of 72,755 and a population density of 1,000 persons per km2. The total area is 71.73 km2.

Yayoigaoka Station

Yayoigaoka Station (弥生が丘駅, Yayoigaoka-eki) is a railway station operated by JR Kyushu in Tosu City, Saga prefecture, Japan.

Yoshinogari site

Yoshinogari (吉野ヶ里 遺跡 Yoshinogari iseki) is the name of a large and complex Yayoi archaeological site in Yoshinogari and Kanzaki in Saga Prefecture, Kyūshū, Japan. According to the Yayoi chronology established by pottery seriations in the 20th century, Yoshinogari dates to between the 3rd century BC and the 3rd century AD. However, recent attempts to use absolute dating methods such as AMS radiocarbon dating have shown that the earliest Yayoi component of Yoshinogari dates to before 400 BC.

This archaeological site is of great importance in Japanese and world prehistory because of the massive size and important nature of the settlement and the artifacts found there. Yoshinogari consists of a settlement, a cemetery, and multiple ditch-and-palisade enclosed precincts. Bronze mirrors from China, Japanese-style bronze mirrors, bronze daggers, coins, bells, and halberds, iron tools, wooden tools, prehistoric human hair, and many other precious artifacts have been unearthed from Yoshinogari features. The total area of this site is approximately 40 hectares. This site has been continuously excavated by a number of different agencies and institutions since 1986. Due to the superior features, artifacts, and significance in Japanese prehistory and protohistory, the site was designated as a "Special National Historic Site" in 1991, and a National Park was created there in 1992. Ancient structures are being reconstructed on the site and the park is a major tourist attraction.

Yoshinogari is located 12 km from the Ariake Sea on a low hill that extends out of the Sefuri Mountains and is surrounded on three sides by land that is suitable for wet-rice (paddy) cultivation.

Shadow picture of Saga PrefectureSaga Prefecture
Special city
47 Prefectures


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.