A Slow Trip around Picture-perfect Tara-cho, Vol.1

Tara-cho is located near the border between Saga and Nagasaki prefectures. Facing Mt. Tara and the Sea of Ariake, the town is blessed with an abundance of nature. Tara-cho is also known for delicacies both from the sea and mountains, such as Takesaki crab meat, grilled oyster, and nationally well-recognized mandarins called Taramikan.
Tara-cho has many picture-perfect places to visit, and some of them have gone viral on SNS. Let’s go visit some of them.

Oouo Shrine: mystic scenery created by the moon’s gravity

The Sea of Ariake, which faces Tara-cho, is a spread of tidal wetlands where a species of mudskipper called mutsugoro inhabits. A dramatic difference in the sea level between high tide and low tide sometimes reaches as much as 6 meters; it is why some people call Tara-cho “the place where you can witness the moon’s gravity in action.”
The “Sea Gates of Oouo Shrine” mystically change their appearance in the sea along with the tide. They are also called the“Second Gates” and respected by the locals as a symbol of marine safety and bountiful fisheries.

During high tide, the water reaches a third of the height of the gates, making the gates look like they are floating on the sea.
During ebb tide, a wetland promenade appears under the gates, which you can walk along to the last gate.

The other end of the Second Gates reaches a place that is above sea level throughout the day. You can take some beautiful photos of the gates without worrying about getting your feet wet.

Oouo Shrine is just a walk away from the Second Gates. The First Gate of the Shrine, made of stone and looming large, projects a somewhat more solemn atmosphere.

Sea Gates of Oouo Shrine

The observatory at Takesaki Castle Site ― Enjoy a panoramic view of the Sea of Ariake and Mt. Tara.

From the Second Gates of the Shrine, a 20 minutes’ walk southward alongside Seashore Drive will take you to a white building, particularly visible when there is a blue-sky background on sunny days. The building is the observatory on the hill of the Takasaki Castle Site.

On the third floor of the three-story building, you will be exposed to a magnificent panoramic view of 360 degrees. On sunny days, you can see as far as the Aso Mountains in Kumamoto Prefecture and Unzen Nationał Park in Nagasaki Prefecture, across the Sea of Ariake.

The view from the observatory is so breathtaking that words cannot explain it. Please see the uploaded 360-degree view photo on our Facebook page.

The observatory at Takasaki Castle Site

We hope you enjoyed the slow trip around photo-perfect Tara-cho, introducing this time the particularly breathtaking Sea of Ariake. We will invite you to other fascinating sightseeing spots in the second part of this article. Please don’t miss it!