Top ChoiceCastle in Karatsu


Nicknamed Maizuru-jō (Dancing Crane Castle), this elegantly proportioned white castle (built 1608, rebuilt 1966 and refurbished 2017) is picturesquely perched on a hill overlooking the sea. Inside are antique...

Museum in Karatsu

Nakazato Tarōemon

Karatsu-yaki is defined by the work of 14 generations of the Nakazato family. Walk through the shop, which feels like a museum unto itself, and cross the wooden breezeway above a stream to see an exhibition of...

Historic Building in Karatsu


This fabulously restored late–Meiji period villa of a local trader is built in a mix of Japanese and Western styles, with lantern-filled gardens, a Buddhist altar room, a wealth of paintings on cedar boards and...

Market in Karatsu

Yobuko Morning Market

This colourful morning market for squid, fish and produce animates the quaint, dwindling fishing port of Yobuko (呼子) each day, drawing visitors from all over the region.

Museum in Karatsu

Hikiyama Festival Float Exhibition Hall

This museum lets you get up close and personal with the 14 colourful hikiyama (floats) used in the annual Karatsu Kunchi Matsuri. Designated important cultural properties of Japan, the floats include the...

Historic Building in Karatsu

Nakao Mansion

At the far end of the Yobuko Morning Market is this painstakingly refurbished home and processing house of a whaling family. It's filled with historical exhibits explained in English and excellent architectural...

Shinto Shrine in Karatsu


Founded AD 755, this scenic shrine sits near the centre of town and is fronted by an unusual white torii (gate). It sponsors the Karatsu Kunchi Matsuri, which features hikiyama (floats).