Only a 15 minute train ride from Saga City in Kyushu is the rural town of Ogi. It is pretty much off the beaten path as far as international tourism is concerned but this town nicknamed Little Kyoto, is a great place to visit any time of the year. Ogi Park with over 3,000 cherry trees is considered one of the top 100 places to view the cherry blossoms in Japan during sakura season and during the winter, Tenzan Resort in Saga City offers excellent skiing and snowboarding for people of all skill levels.
The Kiyomizu Waterfall is the symbol of the town and is a beautiful place to visit year round. Next to the waterfall is Kenryu-ji, a Buddhist temple constructed in 1627. There are incredible Buddhist statues and shrines throughout the area set against an amazing lush background of vegetation. At the base of the waterfall, there is a gazebo where you can relax and enjoy a picnic, if so inclined.
The waterfall also affords an excellent place to view the autumn foliage. The brilliant crimson and gold leaves are illuminated with flood lights at night and from November 15th through the 23rd the Kiyomizu Take Akari lantern festival further enhances the beauty of the area. Ten thousand bamboo lanterns are placed along the promenade leading up to the waterfall and arranged in artistic patterns which must be seen to be believed. Ogi is also known for its hotaru (fireflies) and the light emitted by these stunning insects combined with the lit lanterns when the sun goes down creates a scenery that you will find difficult to forget.
The festival takes place between the hours of 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM and the entrance fee is a mere ¥500. You can reach the falls via the JR Karatsu Line, exit Ogi Station. From there your destination is a 15 minute taxi ride.