Road Trip on Matsuura Railway Line in Nagasaki and Saga (Part 2)

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Road Trip on Matsuura Railway Line in Nagasaki and Saga

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Japan Hour (Synopsis Only):

Road Trip on Matsuura Railway Line in Nagasaki and Saga (Part 2)

We continue our two-day trip to tourist spots along the Matsuura Railway line that connects the Nagasaki and Saga prefectures. On the first day, before heading to our hotel, we decide to visit Hirado Castle, a symbol of Hirado city. We climb up to the tower to get a panoramic view of the city, the mountains and the sea. After this, we head to Hirado Kaijyo Hotel which is near the seaside. All its guest rooms offer a breathtaking view of the ocean. The hotel has a hot spring and even a private outdoor bath with a great ocean view.

For dinner, we are served a big sashimi plate comprising flounder, sea bream, turban shell and shrimp. The chef also prepares noodles made of seaweed called Kajime. Flying fish, a speciality in Hirado, is used for the soup stock. On top of that, we also get to taste Hirado beef.

On the second day, over 40 dishes are displayed at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. After a hearty meal, we go to Tabira Hiradoguchi Station and take the 9.50am train to Tsukinokawa, which is seven stations ahead. The train runs along the sea and arrives at Tsukinokawa Station after half an hour. We have an hour till our next train so we visit the Matsuura fish market, which is said to have the biggest haul of horse mackerel in Japan. 

We head back to the station and catch the 11.20am train to Uranosaki. The train enters Saga Prefecture and reaches Uranosaki Station after 15 minutes. This station is also known as the “cherry tree station”. The locals planted cherry trees here in 1930 when the station was opened. There are 82 cherry trees and visitors can walk along the “flower tunnel” during the cherry blossom season.

Our next train leaves at 1.35pm, two hours later. So we ask some residents to recommend tourist sites worth visiting. We are told to go to the beach, from where we can see Fukushima and Imari Bay, which has a long ria shoreline with several big and small islands. Another place the locals suggest we go to is Uminosato, which serves sashimi for lunch. It is 4km away so one of the residents is kind enough to drive us there. After a 10-minute ride along the coastline, we arrive at the store. The restaurant is managed by housewives who live in the neighbourhood. It is famous for its delicious homestyle dishes and the 600-yen sashimi lunch comes with free refills of rice and miso soup.

We return to the station and head by train to Imari Station, where we have to change trains to go to Ogi Station, the halfway point between Imari and Arita, the terminal station. We enjoy the view of the Arita River as the train makes its way to Imari Station. The scenic train ride lasts 20 minutes and from Imari, we take another train to Ogi, which is 15 minutes away. The train pulls into Ogi Station at 2.20pm. We have an hour to explore the area and the locals tell us to visit Daikannondo, where there is a hanging scroll of the goddess of Kannon. The statue of the goddess is 10m tall while the scroll is 17m long and 6m wide. It took a painter 7.5 years to finish making the scroll. It is one of the biggest hanging scrolls of the Kannon goddess. In fact, a 23m-high huge wooden shrine had to be built to display the scroll.

After this, we take our last train ride from Ogi to Arita, which is five stations away. It takes us 10 minutes to reach Arita Station. Arita is said to be the birthplace of Japanese porcelain - Arita ware was first produced here about 400 years ago. The locals recommend that we check out Gallery Arita, where we can have a cup of tea or coffee in an Arita ware cup. The cafe was opened in the gallery to promote Arita ware to visitors. Around 2,000 cups are displayed here and customers can have a hot drink using any cup they like. They can also buy Arita ware cups at a shop next to the cafe. During this two-day trip along the Matsuura Railway line, we have checked out 10 tourist attractions recommended by the locals.

 

Tips:

1)    Flying fish is a must-try delicacy of Hirado in Nagasaki Prefecture
2)    Japanese porcelain is one of Arita’s most famous products

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