Autumn-leaf viewing spots in Saga Prefecture

Autumn leaves have changed their color into red or yellow. Would you like to travel to Saga to enjoiy viewing beautiful autumn leaves?

We are going to introduce 2 famous places passed Saga City mainly in this blog post, and a couple more in Arita Town.

We went to Kunenan Garden. They are only open to the public for 9 days a year for autumn leaves. This place has a house build for a successful entrepreneur, Yataro Itami in 1892 and it took 9 years to complete its garden. The garden looks stunning with the traditional old house! Absolutely breathtaking.

As you get close to Kunenan Garden, you will notice a lot of parking lots offered by residents in the area (1st picture). The parking fee is 500yen anywhere. After parking, you will have to find the admission desk with yellow tents (2nd picture) and get numbered tickets (3rd picture) but you won’t pay 300yen/adult until later. Follow the sign, pass through the shrine torii and go up the hill to get to the garden. No baby stroller is recommended as the slope is pretty steep and the garden has a lot of stairs (stroller not allowed in the garden.) We paid 300yen/adult at the admission desk by showing our tickets before entering the garden. They do not accept credit cards.

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As you can see, a lot of people were anxiously waiting for this time of the season. It would be better if you could visit before the Japanese holiday (November 23, 2018) as there will be TONS of people towards the end of this period of time. The last day for this year is the 23rd so this garden won’t be open on Saturday and Sunday. If you have no specific plans for Thanksgiving, this would be the perfect way to spend the beginning of the holiday season!

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Kunenan was selected as one of the Places of Scenic Beauty in Japan in 1995.

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You cannot enter inside the house, but everything there is very photogenic.
Please make sure you get there by at least 2:30pm to be able to enter the garden before 4pm as they stop issuing the numbered tickets if there are too many people in the line and they do not think everyone can enter the garden by 4pm.

Please visit Saga Travel Support page for more information.

As we followed everyone else after seeing the beautiful garden around the house , we saw this massive and old camphor tree which is over 800 years old. Then we encountered the entrance of Niiyama Shrine. We walked up the stairs to see the shrine.

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We saw a couple of resting areas that served matcha tea and some little sweets. We do not care for match tea very much, so we just enjoyed watching people resting there.

If you are into collecting goshuin stamps in a shuin book, you can get a stamp there,too.

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Cannot get over how stunning this place was!! Definitely worth a visit, everyone. :)


Now we headed to the next place, called Daikozenji (it’s a temple) by driving for about 30 minutes towards Fukuoka. Remember to take exit “Tosu” if you take a toll road (30minute on the toll, but 50 minutes not on the toll.) Once we arrived there, we parked at their big parking lot up on the hill, then walked for like 5 minutes to the foot of their LONG stairs. I was out of breath because I carried my 22lb baby all the way there. (FYI, my husband was called into work and had to miss all these, so carrying our baby was my mission for the entire day.) But of course my 3-year-old boy was so fast making it up there and waiting for us by cheering for his Mama! Kids are tough indeed.

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Admission fee is 500yen/adult, 300yen/child (6-15 years old), Japanese yen only.

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They light up everything between 5pm and 8pm this weekend and next (November 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25, 2018) only. Please note you can’t see all these if you go during the week.

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An inverted image of the beautiful leaves…maybe it’s not as impressive as the one that is reflected on water, but it was still pretty.

An inverted image of the beautiful leaves…maybe it’s not as impressive as the one that is reflected on water, but it was still pretty.

They have a udon noodle restaurant in the place so you can eat dinner here, too.


Now, I would like to introduce closer places to Sasebo…in Arita Town (my hometown).

“Ooicho (BIG ginkgo tree)” in Arita, no shuin stamp available


Also there is Tozan Shrine nearby that you can visit.

Its Torii gate is made of Arita porcelain! How cool is that?

Niiyama Shrine

Niiyama Shrine

Daikozenji Temple

Daikozenji Temple

Tozan Shrine

Tozan Shrine

You can take lots of pictures but please know you are not allowed to take pictures at worship spots most of the times, and these shrines and temple posted here are all not exceptions. Please follow the rules and enjoy your trip! Let’s go exploring! :)

If you have any comments or questions about these places, please let us know by writing the comments underneath this post.