A 30-minute drive on Route 263 from downtown Saga to the mountainous area takes you to Mitsuse-mura. Although located in Saga City, the Mitsuse-mura area features relaxing landscapes of greenery and successive waves of mountains, making you feel like straining your ears to hear the twitter of birds. Since it is cooler here than in the lowlands in summer, Mitsuse-mura is a popular summer resort, attracting many visitors from not only other areas in Saga Prefecture but also the neighboring prefectures of Nagasaki and Fukuoka. A road in this area is also famous as a “soba highway,” having numerous soba noodle restaurants along it. Here is an introduction of tourist destinations in and around Mitsuse-mura, which happens to be the setting for a Thai TV drama.
Farmer’s guesthouse used for drama location
Appearing in the Thai TV drama STAY Saga… Love Always, Guza is a farmer’s guesthouse, featuring a building that’s over 100 years old, where you will feel completely at home whilestaying. In the drama, the heroine Jook, played by Thai actress Supassra Thanachat, happens to visit Saga, Japan, to complete her graduation thesis, and develops friendships with local people and Thais living in Saga, while homestaying there. In addition to Guza, the drama also has scenes with freshly-caught squid from the sea off Yobuko and balloons soaring through the sky.
This guesthouse offers visitors a pizza-baking experience on Wednesdays only (reservation required). Why not enjoy baking a pizza here as a happy memory of your journey? If you stay at the guesthouse, you can leave your baggage there even after checkout to fully enjoy strolling around Mitsuse-mura without carrying heavy luggage. This very helpful service embodies the guesthouse owner’s warm hospitality.
Bed sheets and blankets hung out under the eaves of Guza. Such scenes may seem novel to international visitors.
1097 Mitsuse-mura Fujibaru, Saga City Tel.: 0952-56-2649
7,000 yen for an overnight stay with dinner and breakfast
Check-in: 16:00 Checkout: 10:00
Enjoy a large sandwich in a comfortable terrace seat!
Ham Sausage Ibusuki
This handmade ham and sausage delicatessen with a history of over 20 years is an icon of Mitsuse-mura. Its ham and sausages are made according to authentic German techniques using neither preservatives nor coloring agents, and a minimum amount of chemical seasonings, so they feature the pure flavor of the meat, which becomes stronger as you chew. Next to the shop is a café that serves various kinds of sandwiches made with bread from Sailer, a famous bakery in Fukuoka, and Ibusuki’s ham and sausages. Wouldn’t you like to enjoy a delicious sandwich in a terrace seat on a sunny day?
3796-3 Mitsuse-mura Fujibaru, Saga City Tel.: 0952-56-2781
Hours: Shop – 10:00–16:00; Café – 11:00–15:00
Closed: Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Soft ice creams made with locally-produced ingredients are recommended to sweets lovers.
A red roof that you will see before entering Mitsuse Tunnel is a landmark to this farmers’ store-cum-restaurant featuring locally grown vegetables and fruits, as well as processed foods. With a stand selling soft ice creams made with locally-produced ingredients, and a 4D theater on-site, this facility enables you to spend a happy time. A popular set meal served here is Satoyama Gozen, containing country-style dishes made with ingredients from the mountains, and a choice of unseasoned rice grown in Mitsuse-mura or seasoned rice cooked with seasonal ingredients. The restaurant also serves casual-style dishes, such as katsu-don (rice bowl topped with pork cutlet and eggs) and oyako-don (rice bowl topped with chicken and eggs). The soft ice cream stand boasts five to six varieties of flavors of soft ice creams, such as blueberries grown in Mitsuse, yuzu, strawberries grown in Yamato-cho, and pawpaw. Fruit-flavored soft ice creams may be out of stock according to the season. These local specialty soft ice creams are recommended to sweets lovers. Why not try one?
A soft ice cream containing strawberries grown in Yamato-cho, Saga City, (360 yen) will fill your mouth with the pleasant sensation of strawberry pulp and seed and a milky flavor.
739-1 Yamagami, Fuji-cho Shimo’ose, Saga City Tel.: 0952-57-3101
9:00-17:00 (4D theater and soft ice cream stand)
(From December to March, the store is open 9:00-17:00, the restaurant 11:00-15:30, and the 4D theater and the soft ice cream stand 9:00-16:30.)
Closed: New Year holidays
Would you like to try a reserved bath? Why not enjoy bathing in a hot spring?
Mitsuse-mura has an onsen (spa) facility named Yamabiko-no-yu with a natural hot spring. The hot spring water contains radon, and is classified as a slightly radioactive spring water with a low content of dissolved substances. The water is effective mainly against physical fatigue, muscular pain and joint pain, and for promotion of health. The large public bath in the facility offers you a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains through a panoramic window, enabling you to enjoy bathing in a spacious atmosphere. If you prefer bathing privately, you can choose to use a reserved bath. The facility has six baths that can be reserved, allowing you to fully relax yourself in a bath in complete privacy. In Fuji-cho, next to Mitsuse-mura, is the Furuyu Kumanokawa Onsen hot springs, so onsen-hopping is recommended if you are a fan of hot springs.
939-2 Mitsuse-mura Fujibaru, Saga City Tel.: 0952-56-2223
The restaurant opens at 11:00, and the last order is at 19:00.
Closed: 2nd Wednesday of every month
(If the off-day falls on a national holiday, the facility is closed on the next day.)
Charges: Adult 500 yen; child (aged 4 or older) 250 yen