Flower power at this national monument park.
Spanning 150,000 square meters, approximately the size of 10 Tokyo Domes, Mifuneyama has the honour of being Saga Prefecture’s first registered national monument. The creation of Mifuneyama Rakuen, a park at the mountain’s western foot, is attributed to Lord Nabeshima Shigeyoshi, one of the youngest lords to preside over the prefecture. He is known for spreading Western influences to Saga, having become enamoured with the scientific and technological advancements made in the West after his time in Nagasaki.
Mifuneyama is also known as Mt Karafune, which translates to “Chinese Ship”, because of its striking resemblance to a sea vessel. See the thousands of plum trees that bloom from mid-February to mid-May at the local plum-viewing festival, and marvel at the boat-shaped mountain painted in shades of pink and purple when the azaleas and sakura bloom in spring. Visit the mountain during autumn when the hillside is lit ablaze with fiery shades of red and orange.
Because of its designation as a registered national monument, visitors are forbidden from climbing the mountain. However, Mifuneyama offers other unique activities including seasonal light-up shows, photography sessions, and tea parties. Stop by the nearby Takeo Onsen, a hot spring town with a history that dates as far back at 1300 years ago.