Saga Castle Town Hinamatsuri Festival, an Event That Heralds Spring

After making us freeze in the cold air day after day, winter is coming to an end. Before the peak season of cherry-blossom arrives, the former castle town area in Saga City holds the Saga Castle Town Hinamatsuri Festival, an event that heralds spring. The Saga City Museum of History and Folklore, located in Yanagi-machi, Saga City, and the Museum Chokokan, which has a collection of documents and furnishings related to the Nabeshima family, displays hina dolls and holds events, along with other venues.

With its entire downtown area celebrating the hinamatsuri festival, Saga City is holding this wonderful event for the 18th time this year. Since local people began to hold the festival through a trial and error process, hoping to liven up the city of Saga and to use this event to attract visitors to Saga, where fewer people were on the streets than before, an increasing number of people from inside and outside the prefecture now visit the city to enjoy this special attraction in spring. Walking on the streets, you can see hina dolls displayed for pedestrians and various special events planned in line with the hinamatsuri festival, whereby the stores along the streets express their hospitality to visitors in original ways.

Below are recommended spots where you can drop in while strolling around the festival venues.

Japanese-grown black tea specialty shop Creha

Immerse yourself in the world of Japanese-grown black tea
Creha is a Japanese-grown black tea specialty shop, located in Yanagi-machi, one of the festival venues. Mr. Hiroshi Okamoto, the shop owner, is a Japanese-grown black tea blender, a rarity in Japan. He excites fans of Japanese-grown black tea by supervising Japanese-grown black tea served at famous teashops and developing new blends of Japanese-grown black tea. Visit his shop on a stroll to savor Japanese-grown black tea blended by Mr. Okamoto together with sweets.

Location: 4-7 Yanagi-machi, Saga City
Tel.: 0952-37-6718
Hours: 11:00-18:00
Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays

Hizen Tsusentei

Try cups of green tea in the style adopted by Koyugai Baisao, an advocate of the art of sencha (tea preparation by infusion)
Hizen Tsusentei, located on a street to the south of the main street of Yanagi-machi, is a facility built in honor of Koyugai Baisao, a person of culture who spread the art of sencha. It offers the Sencha Experience Set (500 yen), whereby you can prepare cups of sencha for yourself under the staff’s guidance and savor the tea and sweets. You can enjoy the different flavors of the first, second and third brews. After you savor the third brew, you can eat the tea leaves in kombu seaweed broth. You can experience the culture of sencha feeling as if you were Baisao, and catch a glimpse of the profound art of sencha.

Location: 4-6-18 Matsubara, Saga City
Tel.: 0952-65-2152
Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Teashop section: 10:00-16:00)
Closed: Mondays, days after national holidays, and New Year holidays

〈Saga Castle Town Hinamatsuri Festival〉