Enjoy the Area Using a One-Day Pass! Take a Local Trip Around Nagasaki on the Matsuura Railway
Japan has many local railways where you can enjoy the scenery of the countryside from the window. Matsuura Railway is one of those lines that goes through the northern area of Nagasaki Prefecture, and here are some of the sights along the way you can enjoy!
What kind of train line is the Matsuura Railway?
This is a train line that runs from the northern part of Nagasaki to the western region of Saga. It's a local train line used by locals and is lovingly referred to as "MR." The lines connects Sasebo, Saza, Tabira-Hiradoguchi, Matsuura, and the Saga towns of Imari and Arita.
Getting the one-day pass is a great deal, because you can alight and re-board as many times as you'd like as you sight-see along the railway. You can buy them at all 7 manned stations and within the train car. On Saturdays and holidays, when many people ride the train, there are specific "cycling trains" where you can bring your bicycle on board.
One-day pass: 2,000 JPY for adults, 1,000 JPY for kids
Manned stations: Sasebo, Sasebo Chuo, Saza, Tabira-Hiradoguchi, Matsuura, Imari, Arita
If you want to sight-see in Sasebo, you have to visit here!
Sasebo, the main departure terminal for the railway, has many sightseeing spots. The Kujuku Islands is a sightseeing area here that is one of the prefecture's leading sights. It's a ria that extends for about 25km, and there are 208 islands dotting the water. The Kujukushima Pearl Sea Resort is about 25 minutes away by bus from Sasebo Station, and includes a pleasure cruise (starting at 1,400 JPY for adults) that you can ride. You can enjoy the beautiful ocean scenery.
Sasebo is home to an American military base, so it's a town with influence from American culture. Don't forget to try the Sasebo burger, a Sasebo dish that takes the American hamburger and turns it into a local specialty.
Check out the tangible cultural property bridges
The first station after Sasebo that you'll want to alight at is Yoshii Station. There are 3 arch bridges in the 2km distance between Yoshii Station and Senryugataki Station: Yoshiigawa Bridge, Yoshida Bridge, and Fukuigawa Bridge. You can take a walk while checking the bridges out, as they're all nationally designated tangible cultural properties. Since they were built during wartime when iron was insufficient, they're all made from concrete. Since there was no iron for the frame, it's said that they used bamboo instead. Fukuigawa Bridge is especially unique thanks to the three small arches in the bridge pier. The bridge itself is curved, another interesting characteristic.
Check out the Senryugataki Falls
Just a 30-minute walk from Senryugataki Station is this waterfall which has the legend that a dragon hides in it. The rushing of the water and the sight of the water splitting into two is impressive! It's 20m high and the basin has a depth of around 6m. The area around it is a prefectural park, so you can enjoy the nature in the area all year round. In the spring there's magnificent greenery and colorful foliage in the fall, so it's a great place to feel the grandeur of nature.
Walk around Japan's westernmost station
Around 25 minutes away from Senryugataki Station is Japan's westernmost station, Tabira-Hiradoguchi. Inside the station is a railway museum featuring items like staff uniforms and train parts on exhibit. There are also photos featuring Matsuura Railway's history. They also offer electric bicycles (500 JPY for a day) that you can use to sight-see around the town of Hirado.
A 10-minute walk away from the station is Hirado Seto Ichiba, a market that you can visit. They offer fresh fish, vegetables, fruit, and other raw ingredients, as well as liquor, sweets, and products made strictly with local ingredients. There is also a cafe-restaurant and an observation terrace.
Other than the morning and evening rush, there are only two trains per hour. Please fully enjoy a leisurely trip around this local train line and immerse yourself in the charms of the area.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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