Part of the Saga Prefecture, the modern municipality of Karatsu is full of feudal history and natural beauty. Its festivals and traditions make it a culturally rich corner of Japan popular with locals and tourists alike.
Top attractions in Karatsu include the reconstructed Karatsu Castle, the Nagoya Castle Ruins, the Kagami-yama scenic overlook, and the Niji no Matsubara pine forest. Nearby Minato is home to the Nanatsu-Gama caves and the Tategami-Iwa standing rocks. Karatsu hosts the Hamasaki Gion Festival each summer in the hope of a successful harvest, and the Karatsu Kunchi festival each fall.The area is also well known for its traditional pottery and its unique squid dumplings.
The nearest airport to Karatsu is the Fukuoka International Airport. A subway and train transfer from Fukuoka to Karatsu takes around 90 minutes. There is also a ferry service connecting the town to Iki island in the Nagasaki prefecture. Local buses or bicycle rentals are the best way to get around the town after arrival.
Like most modern Japanese cities and towns, Karatsu is the amalgamation of several older and smaller villages. This particular municipality only dates back to 2005 officially. The name Karatsu references the city’s past significance as a port to China and Korea.