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  • View from Mt. Kagami
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  • Panoramic view of Niji-no-Matsubara
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  • Pine with a unique shape
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  • Haruzemi cicada
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  • Pine tunnel
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  • White sand beach and green pine trees
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  • Local elementary students raking pine needles
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  • Extremely rare mushroom growing in the pine grove
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Niji-no-Matsubara (Pine Grove) Recreation Forest


Elevation: 0 – 5 m

A white sand beach bordered with green pine trees
along a picturesque coastline with large and small islands off the coast

A white sand beach bordered with green pine trees
along a picturesque coastline with large and small islands off the coast

Newest information
Please visit official tourism websites for the latest updates and information.
Waterfall viewing : Kannon Falls (Outside the forest) Birdwatching Bicycle rental (Outside the forest) Shrine / Temple : Karatsu Shrine, etc. (Outside the forest)
Geographical/topographical features
The Niji-no-Matsubara (Pine Grove) Recreation Forest in northern Saga Prefecture is a pine forest about 4 km long and 400―700 m wide extending along the coast of Karatsu Bay facing the Genkainada Sea. Its gently curved shape is reminiscent of a rainbow ("niji").
Mt. Kagami (elevation 284 m) to the south of Niji-no-Matsubara overlooks the entire area. By contrast, the northern part of Niji-no-Matsubara offers views of the islands in Karatsu Bay.
Historical/cultural features
Niji-no-Matsubara is said to have originated about 400 years ago when Terazawa Hirotaka, the first feudal lord of the Karatsu Domain, ordered people to plant Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii)) on the coastal sand dunes to protect farmland from sea winds.
In those days, the Karatsu Domain directly controlled the forest and prohibited the cutting of trees. It allowed the local people to gather fallen pine needles in the forest for fuel if they paid a certain amount of annual tribute.
It became the only pine grove in Japan to be nationally designated as a special place of scenic beauty in 1955, and it has been ranked with Miho-no-Matsubara in Shizuoka Prefecture and Kehi-no-Matsubara in Fukui Prefecture as one of Japan's three greatest pine groves.
Climate, flora and fauna
The temperature, humidity, and wind direction vary dramatically with the season. It is hot and humid in the summer and cold in the winter due to seasonal northwesterly winds, but the area receives almost no snowfall.
The vegetation along the coastline mainly consists of 200-year-old natural pines and planted pines as old as 70 years, forming a beautiful forest composed of a single tree species. The forest gradually gives way to a mix of young broad-leaved trees and pines as it stretches inland.
Also, various animals (such as Mogura (mole (Talpidae)) and Nousagi (Japanese hare (Lepus brachyurus))), wild birds (such as Kogera (Japanese pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocopos kizuki)), Kawarahiwa (oriental greenfinch (Carduelis sinica)) and Enaga (long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus))) and mushrooms (such as Shoro (Rhizopogon roseolus) and Amitake (Suillus bovinus)) can be observed in the forest.
Niji-no-Matsubara is the largest of Japan's three greatest pine groves at 214 ha. About 1 million pines―mainly Japanese black pines―cover the area, and adjacent Mt. Kagami provides a stunning view of the entirety of Niji-no-Matsubara. The prefectural road through the pine grove makes a refreshing drive as the long rows of pines on both sides form a tunnel overhead. Many of the forest’s pines have been deformed by the winds blowing from the Genkainada Sea, so it is recommended to stroll in the forest looking for pines with unique shapes.
The contrast between the white sand beach and deep green pine trees creates spectacular scenery. Why not take a relaxing walk through the forest while appreciating the beauty of the blue, shining coastline between trees and scenic groves that have been cherished for generations?
Latest Information
Warnings (Flora and fauna)
Ticks: Please note that ticks are present. Wearing long sleeves and long trousers is essential.
Usage Guide
Entrance fee
Operating hours and seasons
Accessible 24 hours
Accommodation options
[Outside the forest]
People's Lodge Nijinomatsubara Hotel and Karatsu Royal Hotel near the entrance to Niji-no-Matsubara
Guest houses and hotels in Karatsu City (about 5 minutes by car)
Toilets and drinking fountains (Includes surrounding area) 3 locations Walking trail Parking lot (Includes surrounding area) 4 locations Observation platform : Kagamiyama Observatory (Outside the forest) Vending machine (Includes surrounding area) Shop (Includes surrounding area) Restaurant (Includes surrounding area) Cultural asset (nationally designated) : Nagoya Castle, etc. (Outside the forest) Accommodation facilities (Hotels/Japanese inns) (Outside the forest) Hot Spring : Kagamiyama Onsen (hot spring) (Outside the forest)
Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture
(Distances and times are provided as a guide only)

Parking lot capacity / parking charges
  • ・Hamatama Parking Lot: Free parking for about 20 vehicles
  • ・Chureito-mae Parking Lot: Free parking for about 20 vehicles
Nearby tourism facilities
  • ・Karatsu Castle (10 minutes by car)
  • ・Kagamiyama Observatory (15 minutes by car)
  • ・Hikiyama Exhibition Hall (10 minutes by car)
Management office contact details
Saga District Forest Office
Information on Other Local Tourist Attractions
Official Tourist Information
JR Karatsu Station Tourist Information Center
Tabi Karatsu (Karatsu Tourism Association) [External link]
Tourism Division, Karatsu Municipal Office
TEL : 0955-72-9127
Recreation Forest Management Committee
Niji-no-Matsubara Conservation Committee
5th Floor, Oteguchi Center Building, 1-1 Minami-Jonai, Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture 847-0013
Contact : Within the Tourism Division, Karatsu City (Niji-no-Matsubara Conservation Office)
Recreation Forest Subcommittee Secretariat
NPO Organization for the Environment and Disaster Prevention of Karatsu, KANNE [External link]
2-6 Minami-Jonai, Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture 847-0013
TEL : 0955-80-7060

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