Top ChoiceTofu in Karatsu

Kawashima Tōfu

On Kyōmachi covered arcade near the station, this renowned tofu shop has been in business since the Edo period and serves refined kaiseki, starring tofu plus other seasonal specialities, around a 10-seat counter...

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...

Burgers in Karatsu

Karatsu Bāgā

In the middle of nowhere (in a parking lot) in Niji no Matsubara is a brown-and-white Toyota serving burgers so famous people line up to buy them, and have for decades. The 'Special' is the most popular: a...

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...

Sweets in Karatsu

Muraoka Sōhonpo

Yōkan (sweet bean-paste gelatin) is the speciality of this lovely corner shop. It comes in different colours and flavours (traditional red bean, apple, kabocha squash etc), and is served by itself, in dumplings...

Burgers in Karatsu

Karatsu Bāgā

This branch of the famed Karatsu Bāgā can be found near Karatsu Station. The menu items are the same as at the original, with the 'Special' – with cheese, fried egg and a slice of ham – the top seller. The only...

Cultural in Karatsu

Karatsu Kunchi Matsuri

Karatsu comes to life with this spectacular festival, dating from 1592 and designated a festival of national cultural importance. The highlight is a parade of massive, exquisitely decorated hikiyama (floats),...

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).

Gallery in Karatsu

Karatsu Ware Federation Exhibition Hall

Just outside Karatsu Station, this exhibition hall displays and sells local potters' work, with prices ranging from ¥500 to eye-watering. Potters have a display area and many have (Japanese only) info.

Food & Drink in Karatsu


This food festival and market is held in the town centre over four consecutive Saturdays, ending when Obon (an ancestor-worship festival) starts in mid-August.