Karatsu in Kyushu may be a little off the beaten track for foreigners, but it has enough sightseeing spots to keep you busy.

That includes the former residence of Koreyoshi Takatori (1850-1927), a coal baron who did rather well for himself at the start of the Meiji Period, which was a time of great cultural exchange. A highlight of this unique mansion is the noh stage, an extravagant structure used to entertain guests – sometimes with Koreyoshi’s own performances.

The building not only conveys the splendor of what was considered modern Japanese architecture at the time it was built, but also tells us a lot about the man known as “Hizen’s king of the coal mine,” Hizen being the old name for the district.

One of the rooms in Koreyoshi Takatori’s former residence, used for noh performances

Another local hotspot is the Nanatsugama caves, which have been designated as a National Natural Monument. The seven caves were pounded and carved into their current state by strong waves. They vary in size with the largest having a mere three-meter-wide mouth but a depth of 110m.

Take a closer look with a boat ride if the waters are calm, or stay safely on the shore and admire the caves from above. The stunning scenery is enough to make you contemplate the strength of Mother Nature.

For more info, go to www.city.karatsu.lg.jp


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