The Nagasaki Main Line is a major railway running through the northwest part of Kyushu Island in southern Japan. Operated by the Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu), the line connects Tosu Station in Saga Prefecture, about 25 km south of Fukuoka City’s Hakata Station, with Nagasaki Station in Nagasaki Prefecture. Part of the line is used by express trains bound for the Dutch theme park Huis Ten Bosch in Sasebo, Nagasaki.
The Nagasaki Main Line is about 150 km long and runs roughly northeast to southwest, hugging the coast of Saga and Nagasaki prefectures along the Ariake Sea. The line doesn’t go to Hakata Station, but it is used by express trains connecting Hakata and Nagasaki. If you’re planning to explore Nagasaki or Saga prefectures and you’re traveling on a Japan Rail Pass, the Nagasaki Line is worth checking out.
The Kamome (“seagull”) is a limited express service linking Hakata Station and Nagasaki. It’s known for its luxurious interior furnishings including leather seats.
Huis Ten Bosch
Huis Ten Bosch (“House in the Woods”) is a theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, that recreates the look of a traditional Dutch village in the Middle Ages, complete with windmills, canals and tulips. Especially popular with visitors from East Asia and all over Japan, Huis Ten Bosch has a wide variety of attractions including museums, amusement rides, boat rides and temporary exhibitions such as a restaurant staffed by robots.
The park also has a full-size replica of the Dutch ship De Liefde, which in 1600 brought the English navigator William Adams, featured in James Clavell’s novel Shogun, to Japan. Huis Ten Bosch is also home to Japan’s first robot-staffed hotel, the Henn-na Hotel, which has expanded to Tokyo Disneyland. Huis Ten Bosch Station is on the Sasebo Line and is served by Huis Ten Bosch limited express trains from Hakata.
Train fare: 3,360 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 47 minutes (via limited express)
Nagasaki City, population 430,000, is rich in history. Until the mid-18th century, the capital of Nagasaki Prefecture was the only port open to foreign trade during Japan’s self-imposed seclusion under samurai rule. Nagasaki is known outside Japan as the second city to suffer an atomic bombing after Hiroshima in 1945.
Rebuilt and revitalized after the war, today it’s a laid-back town with a bustling Chinatown, bayside area and shipbuilding facilities. Attractions include the Nagasaki Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum, Glover Garden, a 19th-century home and garden reminiscent of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly opera, Urakami Cathedral and other churches built by the Christian community, Mt. Inasa, offering views of the city, and the offshore island of Gunkanjima, a former coal mine. And if you love urban hiking, Nagasaki has plenty of hills to work your leg muscles.
Train fare: 4,190 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 8 minutes (via limited express)
Article by Tim Hornyak. All rights reserved.