Nagasaki, Kyushu

A resort that is cool in the summer. The Unzen-onsen Hot Spring spews volcanic fumes.

Unzen is the name of the region in the center of the Shimabara-hanto Peninsula which belongs to the volcanic region of Mt. Unzen-dake. Its principal peak is Mt. Fugen-dake and the area is part of Unzen-Amakusa National Park. In 1990, Mt. Fugen-dake erupted after 198 years of silence, and the lava dome of Mt. Heisei-shinzan was formed. The dramatic shape of the new mountain may be seen from observation points at Nita-toge Pass, and from Mt. Myoken-dake.

The Unzen-onsen Hot Spring is on the southwest side of Mt. Unzen-dake, at 700 to 800 meters above sea level. The hot spring is divided into three sections: Koyu; Shin-yu; and Sho-jigoku, and is a popular summer resort because of its cool weather. Sulfuric gas colors the ground red and yellow where fumes have burst forth, and more than thirty hot springs are scattered throughout the deserted landscape of Unzen.

Shimabara City faces Shimabara Bay on the east coast of the Shimabara-hanto Peninsula. It prospered as a castle town for Shimabara Castle, which was built in the 17th century. Old temples and shrines, as well as the sites of houses in which lower-class samurais lived until the 19th century, still remain there today. Missionaries were active in Shimabara in the early 17th century, and many of the local residents became Christians. However, the administrator of that time banned Christianity, and Shimabara became known for its harsh oppression of religion.


From Tokyo:
[Air] 1h 50 min from Haneda to Nagasaki Airport, and 15 min from the airport to JR Omura Station by bus. 12 min from Omura to Isahaya Station by JR Omura Line, and 1h 15min from Isahaya Station to Unzen-koen Park by bus, or 40 min from Isahaya to Shimabara Station by Shimabara Line.
From Osaka:
[Air] 1h 10 from Itami to Nagasaki Airport.

Around the Unzen/Shimabara

More on the Unzen/Shimabara