|From Tokyo:||3-5 hr|
|From Nagasaki:||1-3 hr|
How to Get There
Saikai National Park in Nagasaki Prefecture has over 400 islands, beautiful coastal scenery and a fascinating history as a center of foreign trade and Christianity in Japan. The park can broadly be divided into the Hirado-Kujukushima area in the east—comprising the coastal area of the Kitamatsuura Peninsula that includes parts of the historic cities of Hirado and Sasebo, as well as the Kujukushima Islands— and the Goto Islands area in the west. A few of the park’s highlights are accessible via public transportation on the Matsuura Peninsula, but a car is a must for the peninsula’s far-flung sites, including the many highlights on the Goto Islands.
To reach the Kitamatsuura Peninsula from Tokyo, take a flight from Haneda Airport to Nagasaki Airport (2 hr), an airport bus to Sasebo (1 hr 15 min), then follow the directions in the Sasebo section below. To access the Goto Islands from Tokyo, take a flight from Haneda Airport to Nagasaki Airport (2 hr), then a flight from the Oriental Air Bridge company from Nagasaki Airport to Fukue Airport (40 min) on Fukue Island, the most populated of the Goto Islands.
The JR Seaside Liner connects Nagasaki Station with Sasebo Station (1 hr 40 min). Once you’ve arrived, follow the directions in the Sasebo section below. For the Goto Islands, take a flight from the Oriental Air Bridge company from Nagasaki Airport to Fukue Airport (40 min) on Fukue Island.
Sasebo is Nagasaki Prefecture’s second-largest city and overlaps with parts of Saikai National Park. The Sasebo Bus Center is near the Sasebo railway station and serves as a gateway to various park highlights. The island of Hirado is accessible by a direct bus from the Saihi Bus company that runs from Sasebo Bus Center to the Hirado Sanbashi stop (1 hr 30 min). Municipal buses also depart from Sasebo Station to observation points and sightseeing spots on the Kujukushima Islands. While it's possible to use such services to visit attractions within the park, renting a car around Sasebo Station is a more effective way to see the sights. To access the Goto Islands from Sasebo, take a high-speed boat operated by the Kyusho Ferry company from Sasebo to Nakadori Island, the second-most populated of the Goto Islands (1 hr 30 min).
Though it's possible to explore some parts of the Saikai area of the park using public transportation, a rental car is a must for the Goto Islands. For the Hirado-Kujukushima area, renting a car from one of the companies located directly outside Sasebo Station is the easiest option. Many interesting islands in the Hirado-Kujukushima area are accessible by bridge, including Hirado and Ikitsuki. For the Goto Islands, there are some car rental companies near Fukue Port, but it may be wise to book ahead. Transporting a car aboard the ferry from Sasebo to the Goto Islands is quite pricey, so plan to rent separate vehicles for each area of the park. (The price is lower for taking a car aboard a ferry running between two of the Goto Islands.)
Even without a car, you can still enjoy many of the Hirado-Kujukushima area sights and activities. Sasebo makes a good base thanks to the numerous buses that offer service to many of the park's highlights. From the Sasebo Bus Center, you can catch a bus to Hirado to see the historic sites that are walkable from the bus stop and take a bus to the Kujukushima Pearl Sea Resort for a boat cruise.