Known for its bountiful nature, Shimabara peninsula is a popular destination for domestic travel, yet still not well known among international visitors. To introduce this stunning region to travelers, we travel out of the modern city of Nagasaki and through forested regions, passing the famous Mount Unzen, an active volcano which serves as the geothermal power source for the many hot springs in the surrounding area.
Once a thriving region in feudal Japan, Shimabara is now a small castle town that served as the setting for the Shimabara rebellion. Owing to the many well-preserved buildings here, visiting makes you feel as if you were transported back in time. Additionally, the mountain aquifer that lies beneath the nearby Mount Unzen provides the town with an abundant source of fresh water.
The water here is so clean that even the drainage canals are home to many koi fish (Japanese carp). The fact that these large fish can only survive in pristine fresh water environments is a true testament to the purity of the area’s water. Visitors can admire the flashes of color as these graceful fish swim up and down the narrow canals. Shimabara is also home to a local specialty confectionery dish made of rice dumplings soaked in sweet syrup – known as kanzarashi. The locals attribute the dish’s refreshing taste to the high quality of the spring water of the region that is used in making the dumplings.