All the Places in Japan Featured in the Movie Between Maybes
Created with Cebu Pacific.
Film has always been a great source of travel inspiration, and director Jason Paul Laxamana’s latest movie, Between Maybes, is no exception. Set in Japan’s Saga Prefecture, the story follows the burgeoning relationship between Louie (Gerald Anderson), a Pinoy who has made Japan his home, and Hazel (Julia Barretto), an actress looking to escape her problems back in the Philippines. While it’s a beautiful narrative about love and family, Saga’s picturesque landmarks also deserve special recognition. Here’s a closer look at the places featured in the film.
When Louie offers to show Hazel around Saga, one of the first places he takes her to is the Aritakan or the Exchange Plaza of Traditional Culture. Here, you can watch a mechanical porcelain puppet show based on a Japanese folktale. While the whole thing is in Japanese, you can ask the staff for a copy of the program in English beforehand. The Aritakan also holds regular exhibits and sells porcelain, which Arita is famous for.
A visit to Rokuroza, a local pottery studio, helps bring the two even closer together. While we can’t guarantee that you’ll have the same romantic experience, trying your hand at the pottery wheel will at least score you a unique porcelain souvenir. Keep in mind, however, that you may not be able to take the finished product home right away as it still has to undergo a glazing process.
The Takezaki Fishport is where Louie works as a fisherman. Here, you can watch the locals go about their business or take photos with the fishing boats docked on the harbor as your background.
Oyster BBQ Restaurant SONO
In the film, Louie first meets Hazel at the Oyster BBQ Restaurant SONO where he works part-time as a waiter. Drop by the actual restaurant to recreate your own meet-cute moment, if not with your own Louie, then at least with some Takezaki crabs and oysters. After all, Saga isn’t just known for their beef, but also their seafood.
You can find torii gates anywhere in Japan, but the ones at Saga are unique because they are located by the Ariake Sea. During low tide, you can walk all the way toward the farthest torii gate. By high tide, however, the gates are half-submerged in water, making for a hauntingly beautiful scene.
Takezaki Castle Observatory
While the original castle is now in ruins, this observation deck is a stunning replica and offers beautiful views of the Ariake Sea and the surrounding prefecture.
This is the only shrine in the whole prefecture that holds the distinction of being a special government shrine. While people say that visiting all the sub-shrines within the compound will make your wish come true, it’s best to play it safe and follow shrine tradition by writing down your wish on an ema or wooden plaque.
In Saga, it’s not hard to find pockets of nature wherever you go—be it a small garden, a quiet shrine, or a bubbling river. Matsubara River, located near Saga Shrine, provides a moment of tranquility. Take a stroll along the river, snap a photo by the bridge, or get up close and personal with some fish.
Kokorozashi no Mori
Located in Saga City, this bit of greenery, roughly translated as “the heart of the heart,” is especially striking during spring when the sakura trees are in full bloom.
While Saga seems like the perfect place for any love story to unfold, it’s just as easy to fall in love with its beauty and culture. Begin your trip in Fukuoka, your gateway to the rest of Kyushu. From there, a bus or train can take you to Saga City within a few hours.
With more affordable flights available, it’s easier than ever to explore this side of Japan. Cebu Pacific offers daily direct flights from Manila to Fukuoka seven times a week for as low as P5,088.
Photos courtesy of Black Sheep.