<Hirado – Matsuura Area>

“Ryugyu” Aquarium Bath at the Hirado Kaijyo Hotel☆

15Feb 2016 tomocchi


Hello! It’s Tomocchi! ☆

Brrr, it’s still so cold outside, isn’t it?

It’s times like these that call for a rejuvenating trip to a hot spring☆

That’s why this time I want to introduce a unique hot spring bath that was just on a certain popular TV program.




Can you believe this?! There are fish swimming around the outside of this bath area!

It’s like bathing in an aquarium щ(゚▽゚щ)!!

Inside the water tank that hugs the circumference of the building swim giant turtles, sea bream, horse mackerel, and many other types of fish that live in the waters around Hirado.


This is the Hirado Kaijyo Hotel.

Inside is the “Ryugyu,” Aquarium Bath, which is named after an undersea palace of Japanese folklore.

Below ground surrounding the hotel is the aquarium, and on the inside are the baths.

In other words, the fish swim in circles around the bathing areas ヾ(●゚ⅴ゚)ノ

The bathing area is divided in half, one side for men and one side for women.

Such a unique design! щ(゚▽゚щ)



It’s so soothing to soak in a bath and watch the fish swim lazily by ❤



My heart jumped a bit when this keen-eyed giant turtle met my gaze.

They say that there’s a turtle here that’s over 30 years old!

So interesting!


They say that you’ll find true happiness if you see all five of the turtles that live in the aquarium.

I got caught up searching for the other four and ended up having quite a long bath (lol).

Bringing your family to the Ryugyu Aquarium Bath is sure to be a hit!

If you have the chance, please come and experience this unique combination of an aquarium and public bathing area ☆



Every room in the Hirado Kaijyo Hotel has an ocean view.

Visible from any room are the Hirado Strait, Hirado Ohashi (bridge), and Hirado Castle☆

The above picture is from the common area of room 417.

The classical atmosphere of the room is very relaxing.



This is a morning picture of the view from the room I stayed in, room 569.

This ferryboat commuting through the Hirado Strait wrapped in the morning mist let out long blasts from its steam whistle. The whole scene was so rustic, like something out of a classic movie❤



The natural hot springs that fill the Hirado Kaijyo Hotel’s “Ryugyu” Aquarium Bath also fills the bathing areas with views of the sea and even private outdoor baths too!

This picture is of one of the outdoor baths with a sea view.

Come spend a few lazy hours in this open bath and enjoy the view of Kuroko Island, which is a natural monument.


Next time you visit Hirado’s Joka-machi, which is teeming with history and romantic scenery, consider making some time for relaxation at the Hirado Kaijyo Hotel ☆


Hirado Kaijyo Hotel

Address: 2231-3 Okubo-machi, Hirado city, Nagasaki prefecture 〒859-5102

TEL:0950-22-3800  FAX:0950-23-2829

URL : http://www.hiradokaijyohotel.co.jp

Gobou Mochi – a Local Treat from Hirado

14Jul 2015 tomocchi

Today I have come to Hirado City in Nagasaki Prefecture, located on a beautiful island off the Saikai coast. As Japan’s first port to trade with the west around 400 years ago, Hirado has long been a location for interaction with foreign countries.



Here in Hirado, there is a local sweet which has been enjoyed by locals for generations. Let’s take a look…


The name of this confection is ‘Gobou Mochi’. In Japanese, ‘gobou’ is the name for the burdock plant, usually eaten as a vegetable. Is this really a sweet?! What does it taste of?


This is the first time I have tried Gobou Mochi, even though I have wanted to for a while…





And where better place to try it than the oldest sweet shop in NagasakiPrefecture, ‘Hirado Tsutaya’.

I was surprised to find out that Hirado Tsutaya was founded in 1502 (right in the middle of the Warring States period)!

I spoke to the owner, Mr. Matsuo.





Gobou Mochi (¥648 for a pack of 12)

Apparently, the name ‘gobou’ comes from the sweets’ appearance – they resemble the burdock root. This traditional sweet is made very simply, using only rice flour and sugar.

The original recipe was supposedly brought over by a Chinese merchant around 440 years ago.



The feudal lords of the Hirado domain, the Matsura clan, used the sweet in their samurai tea ceremony, and even regular households had the custom of handing out Gobou Mochi on special occasions such as at memorial services.

In those days, the sweet was kept long, like a burdock root, and then cut into as many pieces as were needed to feed the guests.

So, as you can guess, the Gobou Mochi was a very useful product – however many guests there were, the Gobou Mochi could be made to serve them all, simply by changing the thickness of the slice! ☆





Right, let’s try it!




The texture is soft and elastic!

Crunchy poppy seeds dot the surface, and the whole sweet has a gentle old-fashioned flavour (*^-^)



As it happens, the building which houses the Hirado Tsutaya store is a merchant’s store, built 300 years ago on the site of what is said to have been the home of William Adams. Adams, also known by the Japanese name ‘Miura Anjin’, was involved in the establishment of the Dutch trading post at Hirado, and served as a diplomatic advisor to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan.

The building is also known as ‘Anjin no Yakata’, or ‘Anjin’s House’, and is open to tourists as a rest spot.





Inside the store, self-service coffee is also available for \200 (on the right in the photo above)☆

On the left of the photo above, you can see another Hirado sweet, golden and sparkling! This is the ‘Cas-Doce’, originally from Portugal (\972 for a pack of 5). This gorgeous sweet is made by dipping castella (sponge cake) into egg yolk, covering it in heated molasses, and dusting with sugar. Such a rich sweet flavour!




After a stroll around the castle town of Hirado, I highly recommend taking a break and enjoying some traditional local confectionery ☆





Hirado Tsutaya (Anjin no Yakata)

Address: 431 Kihikida-cho, Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture

Tel: 0950-23-8000

Open: 9:00 – 19:00

Closed: New Year’s Day




Hirado Bus & Ferry Terminal

28Apr 2014 hiradorem

 Hello! Here is another report from Hirado, in the north of Nagasaki Prefecture.



 Those of you who have been to Hirado have probably been to the Bus & Ferry Terminal in Hirado Harbour. Since old days this has been the place where the ships would arrive in Hirado. After the Hirado Bridge was built, the ferries from Tabira stopped their service but there are still ferries leaving here for the northern islands of Azuchi-Oshima and Takushima.  When Hirado Bridge opened it has also become the terminus for busses going to Hirado.



 The old bus & ferry terminal was a rather uninspiring concrete block from the sixties. Especially on rainy days it would look drab and was not a good first impression for such a historical town as Hirado. Last year the old building was torn down and a new building was put in place which opened this April. The new building is build in a similar Japanese style like the old houses of Sakigata neighbourhood which is right in front of the terminal. It is bright and pleasant.



 More importantly is now also houses not only the transport offices and ticket booths, it also has a tourist information office as well as the desk for the Volunteer Tour Guides. They are local people that can show you around Hirado on foot in 2 hours for just 1500 yen, no matter with how many people you are!



 There is also free wifi available and there are a few computers that you can use. Also if you are in town for the day, there are lockers to leave your bags. The toilets are nice and modern and there are tables and chairs to take a break. There is also a large amount of pamphlets and brochures available.



So on your next visit to Hirado, it is a good place to start from when you want to discover the sites of Hirado!



Kawachi, Hirado: The Birthplace of Zheng Chenggong

25Feb 2014 tomocchi

Have you ever heard of a man called Zheng Chenggong, or ‘Koxinga’?

About 300 years ago, he liberated theislandofTaiwanfrom the possession of the Dutch, and is known as an East Asian hero.

Not many people are familiar with the story of his birth, but in fact, this hero of East Asia was born in Hirado, right here in Nagasaki Prefecture  (ノ*゚▽゚)ノ




His father was Zheng Zhilong, a Chinese merchant who made his base in Hirado, and his mother was Tagawa Matsu, of Kawachi, also in Hirado, and it was here that Zheng Chenggong (known in Japanese as Tei Seikou) was born in 1624.

It is said that his mother was out collecting shellfish one day, when she suddenly went into labour, and gave birth to her son while leaning against this stone.

The stone can be found on the beach at Senrigahama in Hirado.




In July 2013 the Zheng Chenggong Memorial Museum was opened at the site of the young Zheng’s first home.




Zheng Chenggong grew up here until the age of seven, when he was summoned by his father, and crossed the sea alone to live in Anhai, in Fujian Province. He was only seven!

In the grounds is a nagi conifer (Asian Bayberry), said to have been planted by Zheng in his youth.



And there is more to this place than just being the location of Zheng’s birth.

Every year on July 14th, Zheng’s birthday, the Zheng Chenggong Festival is held.
A group from Taiwan, called the “Zheng Clan Association”, who still revere Zheng today, are invited over to Hirado to perform rituals, followed by folk dances from local residents performed in dedication to him.

Zheng Chenggong is still deified as a hero even in Hirado.




Now, let’s take a look inside the museum. Entry is free!

The first thing that catches your eye on entering is the statue of Mazu, Chinese goddess of the sea, who is said to protect seafarers.
You might already have heard of Mazu, as one of the events of the Nagasaki Lantern Festival is the Mazu Procession.



There are several Mazu figures in the museum, but take a look at the one in the glass case on the left.



On the occasion of Zheng Chenggong’s birth, his father Zheng Zhilong is said to have built a small shrine to Mazu in the hills behind the house and worshipped there. This figure is supposed to have come from that shrine.



This is a model of the boat that Zheng Zhilong used for overseas trading.




A space depicting Zheng’s family and their daily life at the time.





A portrait of Zheng Chenggong and calligraphy (reproductions)





The exhibit on Zheng’s military activities packs quite a punch!





A statue of Zheng Chenggong and his mother




This statue was built before the museum, and was designed by one of Zheng’s descendents.





The birthplace of Zheng Chenggong: Kawachi, Hirado. We hope you’ll drop by and enjoy the beauty of the ocean and beach at Senrigahama, along with the fascinating history of this place.







Zheng Chenggong Memorial Museum

(Japanese: Tei Seikou Kinenkan)


Address: 1114-2 Kawachi-machi,HiradoCity

Tel: 0950-24-2331

Opening hours:8:30 – 17:00

Entry: free of charge

Closed: Wednesdays


View Larger Map



Hirado, Japan’s oldest international trading town

20Dec 2013 hiradorem

Hello, my name is Remco and I will be reporting once in while from Hirado, located in the north of Nagasaki Prefecture.
I am originally from the Netherlands but I have been working and living in Hirado for 7 years now. Nagasaki city is famous for having a long relation with the Netherlands, after all the Dejima Network is called after the Dutch Trading Post in Nagasaki, Dejima.


But did you know that both the Chinese, Portuguese and the Dutch traded in Hirado long before they moved to Nagasaki city? The head of a Chinese trading network established his base in Hirado and brought the Portuguese (1550) and later the Dutch (1609) to Hirado. Eventually the English also set up a trading post in Hirado, exactly 400 years ago actually, in 1613!

Memorial of the English Trading Post


Those who have been to Hirado probably know that you can still see many signs of this international history. Two years ago a reconstruction of a warehouse of the Dutch Trading Post was rebuilt in its original style. It’s a beautiful building and it is said it was originally the first real western style building in Japan, built in 1639.

The rebuilt warehouse of the Dutch Trading Post


It is now open as a museum where you can read all about the international trading that was going on in Hirado. They are English explanations throughout the museum and they have a free Tablets on loan with app that include all the information about what is on display and about items in the archives.

The museum inside the warehouse


The Portuguese, Dutch and English introduced many different things to Japan while they were in Hirado. For example Bread, Refined Sugar, Paint, Tabacco, Beer but also paint and new building techniques, such as stone arch technique which they used for the doors of the warehouse. Therefore the old stone bridge that you can find in Hirado is nicknamed `The Dutch Bridge` because it uses that building method.

The Dutch Bridge


So if you ever come to Hirado, come and visit the Dutch Trading Post, you can learn all about how the first western nations traded in Japan.
The Hirado Dutch Trading Post is beautifully located at the entrance of Hirado harbour so you also have a beautiful view over the Straight of Hirado, where still many ships pass through. You can imagine how the old Gallions sailed here 400 to 450 years ago!

The warehouse is located at the entrance of Hirado Harbour