About an hour and a half outside of Fukuoka City lies the scenic country town of Soeda. Located in the district of Tagawa, Soeda makes a wonderful day trip destination for those who want to experience the charm of the Japanese countryside.
Soeda machi, as it’s called in Japanese, is situated in a valley surrounded by towering cedar and bamboo forests. Exploring Soeda machi you'll find many old traditional Japanese style buildings and homes surrounded by quaint cottage gardens.
Up into the hillside, about a ten minute walk from Soeda Station is Soeda Park. A small but beautiful little area, it's a local favorite for hanami, cherry blossom viewing picnics. The park has a grassy area planted with dozens of cherry trees perfect for picnicking.
Soeda park is located on the grounds of Ganjaku castle. The castle has been totally reconstructed but the foundations of the castle gates and old roof tiles are preserved. There are hundreds of cherry trees planted throughout the castle grounds and thousands scattered throughout the forests.
Following the scenic path, you wander from the picnic area near the entrance up the mountainside towards the gazebo and ancient pond. Several smaller dirt paths branch off of the main path. Exploring these little side paths will take you through a canopy of cherry, bamboo and cedar trees. There are several small rest huts with benches to enjoy a bento lunch or just sit and delight in birdsong and cherry blossom petals fluttering in the breeze.
The pond appears like something out of a fairytale. Along one side of the water's edge the willow-like branches of the shidarezakura drape gracefully over the banks of the pond. Cherry blossom petals float along the pond’s surface adding to the magical atmosphere. The pond is inhabited by several very old koi as well as dozens of others. Turtles sun themselves on half-submerged logs. The enchanting song of the uguisu, the Japanese bush warbler, can be heard throughout the grounds. If you are lucky you may even spot a tanuki!
Anyone standing on the gazebo will be visited by the friendly resident ducks hoping for a snack.
Narrow woodland paths will take you up the mountainside to the massive mountain god statue towering over the pond. Following the path further you'll come to a small rushing river and a path that's dotted with small shrines and statues. A canopy of trees surrounds the small wood shrine and deck at the top. From the deck, looking down the mountainside, you see a collage of cherry trees in different hues of pink and white woven into the forest below.
There is a slope car that climbs up the steep mountainside to the summit where the reconstructed castle stands. At the summit you can wander around and explore the castle grounds. There are hundreds of photo opportunities from this vantage point! You'll have a spectacular view of the forest below!
Experience hanami in the serenity and beauty of the Japanese countryside! Experience Soeda!
Address : 〒824-0602, Soeda, Soeda-machi, Tagawa-gun, Fukuoka