Unzen Onsen is located roughly in the center of the Shimabara Peninsula, Nagasaki Prefecture, surrounded by Mt. Unzendake and other one-thousanders. The hot water springs out up to the ground of 700 meters in altitude. The hot spring town is part of the Unzen Amakusa National Park, which was given a national park designation in 1934 for the first time in Japan.
Unzen Onsen is well known for a special hot spring called “Unzen Jigoku (Unzen Hell).” The hot water and white steam springing out vigorously from the cracks of rugged rocks and the smell of sulfur filling up the air all around remind visitors of what the hell may be like. There are about 30 Unzen Hell hot springs, each of which has its unique name. There are pathways in the area and visitors can enjoy the tour safely in about 30 minutes.
You will surely be able to enjoy a real feeling to coming to a hot spring town once you smell hydrogen sulfide coming from sulfur spring and see milky-white spring water. The seasonal changes seen in the mountain hillside with rhododendron kiusianum in spring, fresh greenery in summer, autumn leaves and hoarfrost in winter are also very fascinating. Mobilize all your sense to feel and fully enjoy this hot spring town.
In recent years what is popular among tourists visiting Unzen area is "Cycling plus mountain climbing"! Take a relaxing cycle ride to cape Shimabara and head for the top of Fugendake. You can enjoy a mountain trek of about an hour enjoying the fresh air and surrounded by flowers for every season while climbing to the top of Fugendake (1359 meters) from Nita Touge. And, the appeal of Fugendake is that you can enjoy a fabulous panoramic view of mountains and the ocean from the summit at the same time! Let's fully enjoy the rare location of a peninsula and start climbing.
Unzen Onsen Tourism Association doubles as an Information center so why not visit here first. The staff only understands Japanese but if you book in advance you can arrange a guided tour.
Also, for those who are not keen about climbing but would like to see the scenery, we recommend the scenic ropeway. From the parking area of Nita peninsula you can enjoy an aerial ride to the 1333 meter Mount Myoken.
At some Ryokan's at Unzen Onsen they are hiring out to their guests kimonos and monk's working clothes for a leisurely stroll outside. There are many exciting spots to drop by in an Onsen town. For example, at "Unzen feet steaming hell" you can experience ground heat and exhalation and at the "Toy Museum" there are displays of old Japanese toys. Why not enjoy fully dressed in Japanese style the Onsen area known for its delicacy such as the well-known "Onsen egg" and "Onsen rice cake". Enquire at the tourism association for Ryokan's lending out Kimonos and monk's working clothes.
Do you know the word Geo Park? Geo Park is an "Earth Theme Park" where you can enjoy learning about the dynamic scenery which earth has created and academically rare geological formations. Shimabara peninsula, where Unzen Onsen is located, is known as the place where volcanic activity began approximately 4.3 million years ago and in 2009 it was the first in Japan to be certified "Shimabara Peninsula Geo Park".
If you go to the various "Geo Sites" (place where you can view the geological formation of significance) scattered around the peninsula you can experience landscape and formations created by mother nature, Onsen and history and cultural heritage unique to this land. Of course Unzen Hell is part of the Geo Site! Visit various hells and feel the breath of this great earth.
"Unzen mountain information center" located in Unzen Onsen town with its theme of "Volcano and Onsen" has a display explaining its history and having Onsen as a theme it showcases the appeal of Unzen and Shimabara peninsula therefore it is a must place to visit. Please use a map of Geo Site and a model route guide as a reference which can be found at our website.
Unzen Onsen is an Onsen area which has prospered as a summer retreat for foreigners. The fabulous views from the mountains and the Onsen are the reason for its continued popularity. Please enjoy the views for every season by washing off your sweat at Unzen Onsen after enjoying the various activities at Shimabara peninsula.