Kuchinotsu in Minami Shimabara (Nagasaki) is home to one of the few national schools in Japan that trains merchant seamen, and the town has prospered as the nation's top supplier. On this trip you can enjoy a special experience, spending time that can't be experienced anywhere else through encounters with the mariners who have worked on ships sailing the oceans as navigators and cooks, enjoying the quiet life, and beautiful scenery of the area.
Minami Shimabara is located in the southern part of Nagasaki Prefecture, on the southeastern part of the Shimabara Peninsula, and is surrounded by the sea and mountains. This trip takes you to the towns of Kuchinotsu in Minami Shimabara. Since Kuchinotsu has a good natural port, it had a history of prosperity at three separate times – as a trading port with the Portuguese and Dutch merchants, as a relay port for overseas export of coal, and Japan’s No. 1 town for merchant seamen. It hosts one of the few maritime technical schools in Japan, and many seafarers are still trained from this town.
Starting from Kuchinotsu Port, we cycle a total distance of about 25 km. The cycle route takes us to the highlights of Minami Shimabara such as the Kuchinotsu History and Folklore Museum, small mountains, the ruins of Hara Castle, we get a feel for the life of the town while enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Starting from Kuchinotsu Port, we walk a total distance of about 6 km.We walk about a kilometer through the old-fashioned port town to Gyokuho-ji Temple, where you can experience zazen and a silent breakfast (mokushoku). As the morning sun rises and illuminates the quiet town of Kuchinotsu, zazen meditation begins. After about ten minutes of zazen, we eat breakfast in silence. Silent eating is part of the monk’s training and you must eat quietly. It’s difficult to eat without making any sound, but is an invaluable experience.
After finishing the experience at Gyokuho-ji, walking resumes. We walk to Hayasaki Fishing Port where the mariners are waiting. On the way to Hayasaki Fishing Port, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, sounds, and smells of Kuchinotsu. On the walking route, there’s a scenic spot where you can see the townscape of Kuchinotsu and beyond the sea, the Amakusa region. The peaceful scenery instills a feeling of tranquility.
When you arrive at Hayasaki Fishing Port in about 120 minutes, it’s time to meet the seamen at last.They’re shy at first, but when they get on a boat, their character emerges. First of all, we take a cruise around the Hayasaki Strait on a fishing boat. After that, the seamen show you how to collect winkles near the fishing port. Then we cook lunch with them. The seafood lunch made by these seafarers who honed their skills as cooks on overseas routes is exquisite, and it can only be enjoyed here. Eating delicious food while listening to stories of their adventures around the world is sure to leave an unforgettable impression.
Experienced local guide accompanies guests on this tour. They will connect you with the locals!
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