Mount Unzen and Shimabara, Nagasaki

Nagasaki is one of the worst cities for cyclists, because there are so many bridges that don’t allow cyclists or have like 200 stairs to go up. So even getting out of the city took some time. I then had to climb up 2,000+ metres of elevation to reach the town of Unzen.

Mount Unzen (雲仙岳, Unzendake) is an active volcano at the centre of the Shimabara Peninsula, which has erupted several times in the last few hundred years with deadly results. The most recent eruption occurred from 1990-1996 when pyroclastic flows (super-heated volcanic gases) and mudslides raced down the mountain towards Shimabara City, destroying buildings along the way. One of the pyroclastic flows killed several scientists, journalists and their drivers who tried to document the event. – Thanks Japan Guide.


However more interestingly there are super heated waters at the top of Mount Unzen. Since the Tokugawa Shogunate took rule after the battle of Sekigahara, Christianity began being persecuted in Japan. To make the Christians deny their faith they were scalded or eventually thrown into the boiling waters of Mount Unzen. Now you can buy eggs boiled in the water.


Once again I made friends with the local cat deity there.


And slept in a park near the trail head.

You can actually see my shadow from the lens being exposed whilst I walked across

So I went for a hike up to the top of the mountain and was reminded of a hike Kelli and I did in Norway, Trolltunga.


Eating this more frequently than I’d like to

The burning of Christians combined with the high taxes imposed especially on Christians in the area by the local Lord eventually caused the uprising and Rebellion of Shimabara and Amakusa. So this is a very important place for Christians and you can see a lot of Christians (especially of the Korean variety) going to many graves and sites in the area.


I actually know most of this info from one of my favourite anime that I’ve probably mentioned a few times: Rurouni Kenshin. You can read all about it here.


The next day I went to the Ruins of Hara Castle, where the height of the rebellion occurred and the Christians were finally overthrown and Christianity banned in Japan. I found a mad little campsite nearby and set up the tent.



I realised I haven’t actually shown many shower locations on the blog thus far. This is what they look like these days… Using my bottles / saucepan you can actually have a pretty good shower. Pro-tip: you can spin the tap head to point kind of up.







3 thoughts on “Mount Unzen and Shimabara, Nagasaki

  1. Scary!! (and beautiful) You sat on the edge of the mountain!!
    I would like to study the history with Ruroni Kensin to 🙂 By the way, did you eat uncooked ramen?


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