Top things to do

Top Choice Homewares in Shimabara

Inohara Kanamono-ten

Dating from the 1850s and a registered cultural property, this busy, rustic blade shop is filled with incredible knives, hatchets, swords and even ninja shuriken (throwing stars), plus just about anything you might …
Top Choice Castle in Shimabara

Shimabara-jō

This hilltop castle was ruled mostly by the Matsudaira clan from the 1660s and played a part in the Shimabara Rebellion. It was rebuilt in 1964. As well as lotus ponds, tangled gardens, almost 4km of massive stone w…
Top Choice Historic Site in Shimabara

Samurai Houses

In the Teppō-machi area, northwest of the castle, are buke yashiki (samurai houses) set along a pretty, 450m-long gravel road with a stream down the middle. Most of the houses are inhabited, but several are open to …
Museum in Shimabara

Gamadas Dome Mt Unzen Disaster Memorial Hall

About 4km south of the town centre, this excellent high-tech museum is larger than many a good-size city's town hall. It focuses on the 1991 eruption and vulcanology in general, and is plonked eerily at the base of …
Teahouse in Shimabara

Shimabara Mizuyashiki

Off Shimabara's central arcade, this delightful Meiji-era teahouse features a lovely garden, a spring-fed pond and an obsessive collection of maneki-neko (lucky cat) figurines from all over Japan, some for sale. The…
Old Town in Shimabara

Koi no Uyogu Machi

The spring water that flows into Shimabara from Mt Unzen is so pure that koi can swim in it, and in this district south of the castle you can see the fish in the drainage canals on the sides of the streets, and up c…
Teahouse in Shimabara

Shimeisō

In the middle of the Koi no uyogu machi, this cozy villa sits on stilts over a spring-fed koi pond in a lovely garden. Admission includes a cup of tea and a souvenir postcard.
Statue in Shimabara

Nehan-zō

In the cemetery of Kōtō-ji Buddhist temple (江東寺) is this tranquil Nirvana statue, dating from 1957. At 8.6m, it's the longest reclining Buddha in Japan.
Museum in Shimabara

Seibō Kinenkan

On the grounds of Shimabara Castle, this museum is dedicated to the work of Kitamura Seibō, a native son of Shimabara and sculptor of the central statue at Nagasaki's Peace Park. Your ticket to the castle allows you…
Japanese in Shimabara

Himematsu-ya

This venerable yet up-to-date restaurant across from the castle serves Shimabara's best-known dish, guzōni (set menu ¥1200), a clear broth with mochi (pounded-rice dumplings), seafood and vegetables. There's more st…