Karatsu is at the base of the scenic Higashi-Matsūra Peninsula, an ideal location for its historic pottery trade. Korean influences elevated the town's craft from useful ceramics to art.
Even if Karatsu isn't as busy as it once was, pottery fanatics will be in their element. For everyone else, there's a hilltop castle, historic buildings, a homely Shōwa-era town centre and a pretty seaside cycling trail. Outside of town, the coastline was pounded into shape by the roiling Sea of Genkai, making for dramatic vistas.
At JR Karatsu Station, the tourist information office has a selection of English-language tourist maps and brochures, and some enthusiastic English-speaking staff who can book accommodation.