Ogi City, Saga Prefecture, called a “little Kyoto in Kyushu,” is an attractive city featuring the scenic beauty of the area including the Kiyomizu Falls, which have been selected as one of Japan’s 100 excellent water sources, and the nostalgic atmosphere of the castle town, which flourished as a branch of the Saga Domain. The city has many seasonal must-see attractions, such as cherry blossoms in Ogi Park in spring and fireflies flying along the Gion River in summer.
A must-see attraction in November is the Kiyomizu Take-akari (bamboo lights), an event featuring beautiful colored leaves and bamboo lanterns.
The Kiyomizu Falls, famous as a spot to enjoy coolness, now has a winter attraction: the Kiyomizu Take-akari. Marking its 12th time this year, this event features about 10,000 bamboo lanterns lit in many places including the Kiyomizu Falls, which create fantastic scenery and fascinate visitors. This event has become a popular winter event in Ogi City.
Various bamboo objects are placed along the path from the venue entrance to the falls, casting soft light over the surrounding areas. Some people stand still in front of illuminated trees, gazing at them in enchantment. Arriving at the falls, you will find they look completely different from how they appear in daytime. Dressing up warmly, you can fully enjoy a world illuminated with soft light from bamboo lanterns.
18:00-21:30, November 18 (Sat.) to 26 (Sun.), 2017
Admission: 500 yen (free for junior high school students and younger children)
[Free shuttle bus services]
Section between Ogi Park and the Kiyomizu Take-akari venue: Available every day during the event period
Section between Boatopia Mikazuki and the Kiyomizu Take-akari venue: Available only on November 23, 25, and 26
Before you visit the Kiyomizu Take-akari, check specialty foods too!
Ogi City is an unusual area with over 20 yokan (adzuki-bean jelly) shops. Saga Prefecture boasts the highest yokan consumption in Japan! People in the prefecture often eat yokan, and present yokan as a gift., Not only people, culture and techniques but also various products traveled along the old Nagasaki Highway, linking Nagasaki and Kitakyushu. It is said that Ogi City, located relatively near the Nagasaki Highway, may have become home to yokan on account of the historical background of easy procurement of sugar and adzuki beans there.
The main store of Muraoka Sohonpo houses a museum that’s open to the public and which exhibits videos about yokan-making and old tools. The museum also serves yokan and matcha to visitors. For details, contact the store.
■ Hours: 8:00-17:00
Website (in Japanese):http://www.m-youkansiryoukan.jp/index.html
The Kiyomizu area in Ogi City, blessed with clear water, is dotted with carp dish restaurants. If you have the chance to visit the area, why not try koi-no-arai (carp slices washed in cold water) or koi-koku (miso soup with carp slices)? In winter, the Kan-koi (Winter carp) Festival is held, to serve special carp dishes available only in the season.
Did you enjoy this article “Take a Slow Trip around Ogi, a ‘Little Kyoto’ with Historic Features: Episode 1”? Ogi City has many more interesting attractions. Episode 2 will also introduce you to must-visit spots in the city. Just wait for the next episode!!
Photo: Courtesy of the Saga Prefectural Tourism Federation
Author: Mizue Shojima
Ms. Shojima joined an information magazine publisher in Saga Prefecture, and shared local information under the motto “Make Saga more cheerful and more interesting.” She was mainly in charge of editing a local magazine published by the company, and served as its chief editor for eight years. After becoming a freelancer, she has worked as a writer, editor, and PR person, participating in the publication of Saga-no-Sakagura Book (Saga Breweries Book; published by the Saga Prefecture Breweries Association) and the Arita-ware 400th anniversary project to develop sake utensils named ARITA Ji no Sakazuki as a development support member, by introducing the products in booklets or on the web.