Unzen Onsen (雲仙温泉) is the most famous hot spring resort near Nagasaki. After experiencing city life, it’s a great place to spend a few days, relaxing in the baths and going on some interesting walks.
Budget travel tips
- Book as early as possible, as prices can get super pricey.
- If the weather looks bad, be sure to check with your hotel about the status of the ropeway.
Places of interest
Jigoku (地獄) (FREE)
Take a slightly scary, but awesome walk around the Jigoku (hells) sites where volcanic steam and spring water create an otherworldly experience. They are all accessible from the main street and shown on maps on this street.
Kinugasa Mountain (絹笠山)
Get a nice, and free, view over the mountains by taking a walk up this mountain. Possible even when it’s snowing, and very quiet. Just west of town, it’s clearly shown on the maps around town and the Information Center.
Time: 1-2 hours, Difficulty: Moderate
Nita Pass Ropeway
Get 1300 metres above sea level and look over the mountains on this popular ropeway. Once at the top of Myokendake mountain there are some hiking routes of various distances. Cheapest to join the shuttle bus, so book this with your hotel.
Open: 8:51-17:31(April to October), 8:51-17:23(November to March)
Price (return): Adults 1,260 yen, Children 630 yen
A light walk around this lake (called a pond on some maps), takes visitors past some unique religious statues and stone markings, so keep your eyes on the look out!
Time: 1 hour, Difficulty: Easy
Footbath Square (FREE)
Dip your feet in this natural hot spring water after a day of walking. Located in the south of the town (look for Miyazaki Ryokan) just off the main road.
Yumoto Hotel Footbath (FREE)
Another free footbath on the main road, just outside the hotel.
Open: All day
How to get there
The easiest way is to take the direct bus from Nagasaki (100 minutes, 1800 yen). Buses depart from Nagasaki and Unzen at 9:00, 13:00, 16:00. Buy a ticket at Nagasaki station or at the Unzen bus terminal.
There are also more direct buses from Isehara (80 minutes), which is on the train line to/from Nagasaki. You can take a local bus from nearby Obama if you want to visit there.
Recommended Hostels and Cheap Hotels
A little pricey, but has it’s own baths. Central location and smart rooms.
More at Booking.com
To save on money, consider just booking one night at somewhere that has a hot spring and return on the second day to Nagasaki.