Nagasaki and Shimabara (2~3 Day) Tour on Discount Passes!

Nagasaki and Shimabara (2~3 Day) Tour on Discount Passes!
Spring Summer Autumn Winter Nagasaki City Shimabara Peninsula(Unsen City & Shimabara City & Obama City Minami-Shimabara City Navigate the streets of Japan at your own pace in this tour. Make use of the One Day Passes available for both Nagasaki City streetcars and Shimabara Peninsula's trains and buses! Immerse yourself in the multi-cultural city of Nagasaki, then treat yourself to the relaxing hot springs of Shimabara Peninsula and the beauties of olden Japan.

Day 1: Nagasaki City

Explore the vibrantly multi-cultural city of Nagasaki - a legacy of it's history as the first international trading port of Japan, and the only port open to Europe during the country's lengthy period of national seclusion. European churches and houses blend in with the surrounding Japanese architecture, alongside Chinese temples and historic buildings in this unique Japanese city. 

The streetcar is a flat rate tram service in Nagasaki City. 
TIP: A One Day Pass is available for the streetcar. If you are planning to use this service many times (5 rides or more on the streetcar) or want to save the hassle of having to pay the exact fare each trip, this is the pass for you. 
TIP 2: Some of these sightseeing spots are within walking distances of one another!

Take the streetcar to Nigiwaibashi or walk. 

Megane-bashi (Spectacles Bridge)
Nagasaki City Megane Spectacles BridgeThe Nakashima River runs through a series of picturesque 17th-century stone bridges. Best-known is the double-arched Megane-bashi, or Spectacles Bridge, so called because the reflection of the arches in the water looks like a pair of eyeglasses. It was originally built in 1634, and was Japan’s oldest stone bridge. Unfortunately it was washed away by floodwaters in the 1982 disaster which killed 299 people, but was later restored using the recovered stones.Try spotting a heart-shaped stone near to the bridge and make a wish for eternal love. VIEW MORE

TIP: Start your walk along teramachi-dori (Temple Street) at Kofukuji, and end at Sofukuji. 

Teramachi-dori (Temple Street)
Nagasaki City Tracing their histories some 400 years back, many old temples line teramachi-dori - Nagasaki’s famous temple street. In the 16th and early 17th century, Nagasaki was a hub of international trade, with European and Chinese traders frequenting its ports, bringing goods from around the world. Chinese traders were the largest group and many lived in Nagasaki, establishing temples based on their hometowns. The ruling shogunate which had been tightening control over the region greatly supported Buddhism and the building of temples over the influence of Christianity, enabling Buddhism to thrive in Nagasaki. Well-known temples along this street include Kofukuji and Sofukuji - two of the “four fortune temples” of Nagasaki. Many of these temples or their relics have been classed as cultural assets of the city or prefecture, and even national treasures. VIEW MORE

Take the streetcar from Shokakujishita to Tsukimachi or walk (12mins).

Try Nagasaki's Champon or Saraudon!

Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown
Nagasaki City Nagasaki Chinatown, located in Nagasaki City is one of the three largest Chinatowns in Japan, alongside those in Yokohama and Kobe. This area is now a popular sightseeing spot for original Nagasaki-style Chinese food and the Nagasaki Lantern Festival, the largest Chinese New Year celebration in Japan. During the national isolation period, Nagasaki Port was opened as an exception for trade with China from 1635. Chinese could reside around Nagasaki City until 1689 when the feudal lord decided to restrict them to a specific ‘Chinatown’ in order to combat commercial fraud. No Japanese citizens were allowed to enter the Chinatown area except geisha and monks, although Chinese people were able to leave to visit the Chinese temples in Nagasaki City, thus transporting Chinese culture to the local Nagasaki people. Trade goods included silk, sugar, medicines and books. Moreover, Chinese culture had a great influence on the people of Nagasaki. Since then, Nagasaki has enjoyed famous Chinese-influenced events year-round, including ‘Shourou Nagashi’ (the Spirit Boat Procession), the Nagasaki Peiron (dragon boat) Championship and the Dragon Dance performed at various festivals. After 1859, with the opening of Japan to foreign countries, the Chinese residents in Nagasaki transferred to Shinchi Town where the current Chinatown is located. Along the 250m of streets meeting at a crossroads, there are about 40 restaurants serving Champon and Saraudon, the famous Nagasaki Chinese cuisine, as well as souvenir shops. This area is popular for tourists especially when decorated with thousands of lanterns during the Lantern Festival. VIEW MORE

Dejima (Desima, Deshima) - Site of the Former Dutch Trading Post
Nagasaki City Constructed in 1636, Dejima would later become a place where the Dutch East India Company would install a trading post, allowing the transport into Japan of both Western goods and the latest news of overseas current affairs. At the same time, Japanese goods, along with information about Japan, would be relayed to the West.  During the long period of national seclusion (1641-1859), Dejima was the only door open to Europe and gave Nagasaki the status of Japan’s sole international trading port. Dejima played an important role in the development of culture, industry, and science in Japan by serving as a gateway to the West. Many ambitious Japanese scholars traveled to Nagasaki to study Rangaku (“Dutch learning”, i.e., Western science) including medicine, chemistry, weaponry, navigation, and astronomy.  The fan-shaped artificial island of Dejima no longer exists, lost to the repeated reclamation of the bay. Currently, Nagasaki City is engaging in plans to restore Dejima to its 19th century state. To carry out this restoration, foundation stones, stone walls and many other remains were excavated and some are exhibited inside the carefully reconstructed buildings. The buildings were constructed using traditional Edo period method and installed European furniture based on early 19th century drawings of the island and models of Dejima’s buildings that are preserved in the Netherland. Other exhibitions, including the history of Dejima and Western learning and a miniature Dejima, provide visitors with a sense of everyday life on Dejima.  Furthermore, visitors can slip back in time to the era of the trading post by renting a Kimono (men's, women's and children's available). Usually it takes half an hour to put on a Kimono, but in this Kimono shop, you can dress up in the traditional Kimono in just 3 minutes. Dressing up in a Kimono and taking pictures against a backdrop of Japan-meets-West buildings is becoming a popular activity for visitors. VIEW MORE

Head over to the nearby Hamanomachi Shopping Arcade or take the streetcar to Glover Garden for more sightseeing! 
For Glover Garden: Take the streetcar from Tsukimachi to Oura-Tenshudo-Shita or Ishibashi
TIP: From streetcar stop Oura-Tenshudo-Shita, walk up the slope through a town exuding European influence, and past Japan's oldest church - the former Oura Cathedral, to Glover Garden. For travellers weary from walking, take the free-of-charge Glover Skyroad all the way to the top, accessible from Ishibashi streetcar stop (make your way down hill as you tour Glover Garden). 

Try Shippoku - a fusion cuisine showcasing Chinese, European, and Japanese influence, representative of Nagasaki's multi-cultural history. 

After dinner, enjoy Nagasaki's night view from Mt. Inasa. The nearest streetcar stop from the ropeway leading up to the peak of the mountain is Takaramachi. Bus services are also availble from various hotels. Please make reservations beforehand. 

Nagasaki Night View on Mt. Inasa
Nagasaki City Nagasaki’s night view is spectacular. With Nagasaki port at the center, mountains loom on three sides. Homes and city lights populate the slopes, their lights mingling with the twinkling stars in the sky. Nagasaki’s splendid night view can be enjoyed from many parts of the city. At the World Night View Summit in 2012, Nagasaki was recognized as one of the 3 cities with the most spectacular night views in the world. The best way to enjoy this view is to take the glass-paneled gondola ropeway up to Mt. Inasa. *The Nagasaki Ropeway will be suspended(closed) from the 7th May 2015 – 5th February 2016. Bus services are avilable from JR Nagasaki Station. VIEW MORE

Day 2: Shimabara Peninsula

Sitting in the middle of Shimabara Peninsula is Mt. Unzen, a volcano that has shaped the history of the region. The peninsula is famous for its hot spring towns of Obama and Unzen, the Unzen Volcanic Area UNESCO Global Geopark, the historical events of the Shimabara-Amakusa Rebellion, amongst others. To fully experience the wonders of Shimabara, we recommend spending more than a day here! 

Make use of the Shimatetsu One Day Pass exclusively for foreign travellers (please have your passport ready when purchasing pass) when travelling around Shimabara Peninsula. Take a train to Isahaya station from Nagasaki City, get the pass from the Isahaya Terminal Hotel (next to the Shimatetsu Bus Terminal) and start using your pass! From the bus terminal, catch a bus for Obama. 

*On the second and fourth Sundays of the month, Shimatetsu also offers a bus, train and ferry unlimited pass for all travellers. This pass is sold at Isahaya station and other locations. 

Obama Hot Spring & Hot Foot 105 (foot bath)
Shimabara Peninsula (Unzen City & Shimabara City & Obama Town & Minami-Shimabara City) Obama is set against a backdrop of the magnificent Unzen mountains, facing the deep-blue Tachibana Bay. From the open-air hot spring, you can view the amazing sunset in the west. The red sun sinking into the crystal blue sea: how romantic! At 105 meters in length, this is the longest foot bath in Japan. It is equipped with steaming pots for cooking local seafood and vegetables over the natural steam from the hot springs, seated foot spas, foot baths you can walk along, and foot baths for pets. All are open to the public free of charge. VIEW MORE


Take the bus from Obama to Unzen.

Unzen Onsen (Hot Spring) & Unzen Jigoku (“Unzen Hell”)
Shimabara Peninsula (Unzen City & Shimabara City & Obama Town & Minami-Shimabara City) Unzen Hot Spring: One and half-hour’s drive from Nagasaki City will take you to Unzen. As it was the country’s first resort targeted at foreign guests, you can also find Western- and Japanese-style hotels here. Now it is one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts. Unzen Jigoku (“Unzen Hell”): Hot water and gases spout out of the earth. White steam and a smell of sulfur accompany you as you walk through this hotspot of volcanic activity. The songs of the wild birds bring another aspect to the scene: in this place, nature shows both its fierceness and beauty in a fascinating spectacle. It was also a site where Christians were martyred. A document records that Matsukura Shigemasa, posted to the Shimabara domain, tortured Christians at so-called ‘hells’ in the mountains of Unzen. During the period between 1627 and 1632, Christians were tortured to death in the boiling waters of the hot springs. At a place called Oito Jigoku (‘Oito Hell’) stand two monuments to the victims, although the exact sites of the martyrdom are uncertain. VIEW MORE

To get to Nita Pass, a taxi service is available (not included in the pass). Inquire at your hotel or the bus station to make reservations. 

Nita Pass, Unzen
Shimabara Peninsula (Unzen City & Shimabara City & Obama Town & Minami-Shimabara City) These mountains are famous for their azaleas in the spring, green colors in the summer, autumn leaves in the fall, and frosty fog in the winter. Enjoy the cable-car ride up to the top for breathtaking views. A brand new trekking path allows hikers to enjoy the mountain flowers and wild birds, as well as stunning close-up views of Heisei Shinzan, the peak newly-formed by the 1990s Fugendake eruption. VIEW MORE

Return to the Unzen Hot Spring town and spend a relaxing night at a hot spring hotel!

Day 3: Shimabara City

If you are returning to Nagasaki City (or the airport) today, purchase another pass at Unzen's bus station (you can do when buying your first pass). Take the bus from Unzen to Shimabara City

Shimabara Castle
Shimabara Peninsula (Unzen City & Shimabara City & Obama Town & Minami-Shimabara City) At the castle, you can try on ninja and samurai armor and marvel at traditional crafts and documents of Christian and samurai history. It is also known as a perfect spot for taking pictures of a quintessential Japanese scene, the castle surrounded by flowers such as cherry blossoms and lotuses. VIEW MORE

Old Samurai Warriors’ Houses
Shimabara Peninsula (Unzen City & Shimabara City & Obama Town & Minami-Shimabara City) On the west side of Shimabara Castle, the samurai residences have been carefully preserved, complete with clear spring water flowing in canals down the center of the streets. VIEW MORE

City of Swimming Carp
Shimabara Peninsula (Unzen City & Shimabara City & Obama Town & Minami-Shimabara City) Shimabara has always been blessed with plentiful spring water. The “City of Swimming Carp” has been beautifully maintained by local people. The sight of the colorful nishikigoi carp swimming through the canals of the city is one of the most attractive features of Shimabara. VIEW MORE

Shimeiso Spring Garden
Shimabara Peninsula (Unzen City & Shimabara City & Obama Town & Minami-Shimabara City) Enjoy a cup of green tea with a beautiful view in the Shimeisho Spring Garden 四明荘. Guests can drink tea sitting in a house built over the large pond of rich local spring water, and watch the large, colourful carp swimming through the open sliding doors. This is one of Shimabara’s most peaceful spots, and is a perfect place to take a rest before you continue sightseeing. There’s no charge, although donations are welcome. VIEW MORE

To return to Nagasaki City, take the train from Shimabara Station. Your pass is valid for trains to Isahaya where you'll have to change to the JR train for Nagasaki City. If you are going to Nagasaki Airport, you can use your pass for the bus to the Airport.