This is the second part of the series A Slow Trip around Picture-perfect Tara-cho, a sequel of A Slow Trip around Tara-cho, Vol.1. Before starting, let’s review basic knowledge about Tara-cho.
Tara-cho is located near the border between Saga and Nagasaki prefectures. Facing Mt. Tara and the Ariake Sea, 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. Now let’s start our slow trip!
Shiawaseno-Kane (the Bell of Happiness) at JR Tara Station brings happiness to you and your loved ones.
Tara in Japanese means many blessings. At JR Tara Station, there is a bell known as Shiawaseno-Kane (the Bell of Happiness). The bell is for visitors to wish for the happiness of others and themselves. The guide board says if you ring the bell once, it brings good tidings for you. If you ring it twice, it brings good tidings to you and your loved ones. If thrice, it brings everyone happiness. The place used to be a hidden spot for tourists. However, recently, the site has become known even to people overseas through SNS, and an increasing number of foreign tourists are visiting Tara-cho.
The station with a name representing many blessings may be a great photo spot for visitors who are seeking happiness.
The bell has a long history, particularly with children. It used to be an elementary school bell that informed students of the beginning and the end of each session. The practice started in 1875, about 140 years ago, and lasted until about 1960, for about 85 years.
Tatsumi Nishida, station master of JR Tara Station, whom we interviewed for this article, proved to be none other than the very person who proposed the placing of the bell at the station and worked on the details of the plan. Mr. Nishida is now a well-known figure who also has committed himself to Arita-yaki Curry and Rice, and other projects, to galvanize the local tourism industry. Why don’t you come to Tara, ring the bell (Shiawase no- Kane), and find happiness for you and your loved ones?
The bell of happiness at JR Tara Station.
You can meet a top artist who represents Japanese bijyual (good-looking) pop musicians!
Roadside station Tarafukukan (House of All-You-Can-Eat)
Tarafukukan is a roadside food station where you can get local groceries and delicacies.
Many tourists visit Tarafukukan, particularly on weekends. However, did you know that the spot also is a favorite among many music fans for another reason? An auto vending machine here features a giant photo of Kiyoharu, the frontman of the famous rock band Kuroyume.
Many fans of the band come here to see and take some photos of the only vending machine of this kind in Japan, and now it looks like a sacred spot. It is particularly a perfect spot for Thai fans of J-pop. What about taking selfies with your idol Kiyoharu?
Turning to food, the sweets made from Taramikan are the first of our recommendations.
Enjoy our lineup of soft ice cream. It comes in three flavors: vanilla, Taramikan, and a mix of the two. We particularly recommend the mix flavor. There’s nothing better
than enjoying soft ice cream while viewing the spectacular Ariake Sea in front of you.
Roadside Station Tarafukukan.
We hope you have enjoyed the slow trip around Tara-cho. In Tara-cho, the surrounding nature makes you feel relaxed, and time flows by quietly and peacefully. When you come to Saga Prefecture, make sure to include Tara-cho in your itinerary.