While sustainability has become something of a buzzword in the travel industry and elsewhere, Saga Prefecture stands out as an authentic ethical destination. Here, modern tourism objectives borrow from time-honored practices to maintain sustainable encounters for visitors, locals and the bountiful nature that serves as the region’s foundation. By weaving in cultural and historical elements to the aesthetics of preserved traditional townscapes and natural hot springs, the discerning traveler can indulge in Saga’s beauty responsibly.

Stay in a Centuries-old Merchant House in Kashima

Hizan Hamashuku in Kashima City is an old sake brewing town that retains its original Edo Era (1603–1867) appearance. Here, seamlessly blending an approximately 230-year-old former merchant house with cutting-edge amenities, Onyado Fukuchiyo offers exclusive dining experiences and accommodation. The thatched roof has been reproduced by expert craftspeople and the brick chimney — a remnant of the store’s miso and soy sauce-making days — stands tall within the complex. Onyado Fukuchiyo’s front desk has repurposed an old sake barrel as a nod to the brewery that runs the inn. Only one group of guests can stay each night, creating a luxurious private hideaway.

Located in the same complex, restaurant Souan Nabeshima serves a sensational 12-course omakase culinary journey using ingredients sourced from Saga and surrounding Kyushu prefectures. The menu is updated every six weeks, ensuring everything is served at its seasonal best. Indulge in a sake pairing to fully appreciate the marriage of the Fukuchiyo Brewery’s award-winning nihonshu with the sumptuous servings on the plates. The pairing course includes nine of Nabeshima’s 27 sake varieties.

More info: fukuchiyo.com

Sample the Sea in Tara’s Oyster Island Experience

A short drive from Kashima will bring you to Tara, the home of the oyster hut. These cozy cabins are ubiquitous along Kyushu’s coastal areas in winter, and actually originated here. The town is famed for its flavorful and juicy oysters, which are rich in minerals sifted from the Ariake Sea. Join guided experiences to learn about oyster cultivation and how nurturing these delicacies also protects their ocean home. Head out to the water to meet oyster farmers, then pair delectable mollusks with locally brewed sake and tea. In Tara, the leftover oyster shells are used to improve water quality and gardening, in addition to a variety of other ways, courtesy of their abundance in natural lime.

More info: oyster-island.com/tourism

Teatime with a View in Ureshino

Ureshino City, famed for its soothing natural hot springs and award-winning green tea, is an ideal place to experience slow travel at its best. Partake in a tea ceremony on an elevated platform overlooking the rolling green tea fields or take a more urban approach and sample delicate confectionery and tea-inspired cocktails at cafés and bars across the city.

More info: tea-tourism.com

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