Unzen-Amakusa National Park

Unique panoramas of steaming Mt. Unzen and the Amakusa archipelago

The Unzen area is a mountainous area of the Shimabara Peninsula centered on Mt. Unzen, consisting of over 20 mountains, and it affords various panoramic views along with the seascape on three sides. Visitors can experience volcanic activity throughout the area including Jigoku Onsen (hell hot spring), the origin of the name Mt.Unzen. The Amakusa area is an archipelago with 120 islands and is a place to savor a varied coastline with indentations unique to a submerged coast, land-tied islands and sea cliffs, as well as coral in the sea.

Visiting Japan's National Parks

Unzen-Amakusa National Park, like all of Japan's national parks, has no entrance fees, no opening and closing hours, and a permit is not required to enter or stay in the park. The national parks of Japan differ from national parks worldwide in that the land within the national parks is not exclusively designated for national park use and is made up of private property as well as public and protected areas. Visitors are free to enter and leave at any time.

Park Highlights

Both the Unzen and Amakusa areas are rich in history from the earliest arrival of foreign cultures in Japan, including the Christian event known as the Shimabara-Amakusa Rebellion. The park is surrounded by water on three sides, meaning the mountain trails and roadways on Mt. Unzen have magnificent panoramas.

DON'T MISS

  • Visit the distinctive building of Sakitsu Church 
  • View Mt. Unzen from the sea on a ferry crossing
  • Beautiful seascapes from the observatory at Mt. Takabuto

This area is abundant with wild birds. Many summer birds, such as blue-and-white flycatchers, narcissus flycatchers and little cuckoos, migrate to this area, and their songs echo throughout the mountains. In winter, many duck species migrate to the Suwano-ike Pond. There are also spawning grounds of loggerhead turtles.

UNZEN JIGOKU

Mt. Unzen takes its name from the Unzen Onsen, a site nestled along the hillside where hot spring water gushes out along with volcanic gas in Unzen Jigoku. The crest of Mt. Kinugasa has a full view of the Unzen Onsen Town, centering around Unzen Jigoku.

CAPE MAGARI

Nestled on a land-tied island sticking out of Shimo-shima Island, it is the area where a magnificent sand spit protrudes. The periphery presents rocky shores, and the water is inhabited by the vivid alcyonacean soft coral and schools of colorful fish.

SAKITSU CHURCH

The Sakitsu Church is evidence of the history of the Christian faith. Though situated outside of the park zone, the church stands splendidly on the corner along the complex ria coastline, giving a cultural touch to the natural landscape of the national park.

FOSSILS OF AMMONITES AND DINOSAURS

Goshonoura Island, located in the south of the Amakusa Islands, is formed from a stratum from the Cretaceous Period. Ammonites and dinosaur fossils have been found throughout the island.

About the Park 

This park was established in 1934 as one of Japan's first national parks (Unzen National Park), and later in 1956, the Amakusa area was added to become Unzen-Amakusa National Park.

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Date of National Park Designation: March 16, 1934
  • Area: 28,279 ha (282.79 square kilometers)
  • Location: Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Kagoshima prefectures

PARKS RULES & SAFETY 

As with any national park or conservation area, visitors to Unzen-Amakusa are required to observe the following rules for safety and to protect the area's natural biodiversity:

  • Carry in, carry out: Take all of your trash with you.
  • Do not pick wildflowers or damage plants.
  • Do not feed the wild animals.
  • Hunting is not permitted.
  • No fishing unless with a certified guide.
  • No smoking while walking.
  • Campfires are only permitted in designated areas.
  • Divers are advised to take account of fishery operators.