Hello, it’s Tomocchi! ☆
I went for a cruise around on the Shimabara Railway (nickname: shimatetsu)! This time, let me tell you about some of the super-popular photo spots and great food that I found along the way.
On this trip, I used the 2-day unlimited trips Shimabara Railway & Bus Pass 【Shimabara Peninsula Free Access Ticket (¥ 2,300)】
And if you’re travelling on the 2nd or 4th Sunday of each month, the 【fShimatetsu Free Pass (¥1,000円/day)】is even cheaper.
Normally, just the return fare between Isahaya Station and Shimabara Station is ¥2,860, which makes the free pass astoundingly good value!!
Time to hop on and off the train and really enjoy everything on the Shimabara Railway line!♪
※ If you are departing from Nagasaki Station, you will also have to pay the return fare of ¥ 920 from Nagasaki Station to Isahaya Station on the JR line as well.
With that, let’s start a winter railway journey!
When the Shimabara Railway train from Isahaya Station stopped at Omisaki Station, some amazing scenery came into view!!
(Photo taken from the train window)
I hadn’t planned to get off on the way, but…
I was just so drawn in by the contrast between the blue sea and sky and the yellow flags, that before I knew it, I’d got off the train.
I’d seen that view so many times from the train window, so I’d always wanted to get off!
Omisaki Station is also said to be “The Closest Station to the Ocean in Japan”.
As I stepped onto the platform, the sound of the calm waves on the Ariake Sea welcomed me.
The sea breeze felt just perfect. ☆
There was a single old lady in the cosy station building.
This sleepy seaside station has no station staff.
While I was wandering around taking photos, another train pulled in. Next I was on my way to Shimabara Station.
With the free pass you can also board Shimabara Railway buses, so depending on the time of day, it might be convenient to board a bus from the “Omisaki Bus Stop” in front of the station.
The train that departed from Omisaki Station arrived at Shimabara Station.
The castle-like design of the station looks great, right? You can see Shimabara Castle from the front entrance.
I thought I’d take a stroll around the Shimabara Castle Town area until lunch, but since I’d missed having lunch, I decided on having lunch first.
Shimabara’s best known specialty food is “Guzoni”!
I stopped in at Ginza Shokudo, a long-established restaurant in the Ichiban-gai Arcade founded in 1945.
Guzoni wasn’t the only thing on the menu, with lots of options to choose from, like curry, as well as champon and kakesoba noodles.
While I was enjoying taking in the old-fashioned interior, which reminded me of the mid-20th century Showa era, piping hot Guzoni arrived in an earthen nabe pot.
Guzoni (¥ 980)
Inside the bonito and kombu seaweed broth was…
14 types of toppings!!! Including 5 pieces of mochi stick rice, they were: chicken, grilled anago sea eel, tamagoyaki omelette, koyadofu tofu, kamaboko fish cake, chikuwa fish cake rolls, shiitake, taro, lotus root, shaved burdock root, kombu seaweed, edible chrysanthemum, and Chinese cabbage.
Although I’d skipped breakfast, I thought there was no way I’d finish it all!!! But the soft, thick and round mochi came together perfectly with the high-quality dashi and the delicate flavor of the ingredients, and I ended up finishing it faster than I thought. It was a really familiar taste that made me sigh with nostalgia.
It really was a lunch that left both my heart and stomach nice and warm. Thanks for the meal!!
※Unfortunately, as of December 31st, 2018, Ginza Shokudo has closed down.
However, there are many other restaurants in Shimabara that have great tasting guzoni, so take a look at the tourist map for one that takes your fancy.
After lunch, I went to visit some Shiba Inu dogs who’ve become famous in the news because they stick their faces out of holes in a fence.
This time only one dog showed their face, but it was really cute!!
(I noticed they’d gone to call their friends, but the other dogs didn’t show their faces, so you can only just make out part of their body on the other side of the hole)
The dog was a really showman, even moving on to stick its face out of the middle hole!♪
If you’re lucky, you might even get to see all three dogs sticking their faces out together! The spot to go is a normal house in the back streets of the Ichiban-gai Arcade on the Shimabara Castle side.
They’re the idols of Shimabara, so if you ask a passerby, they’re sure to be able to help you find them.
Of course, I won’t leave out the big tourist attractions! I took a quick rest at the “Shimeiso Spring Garden”, located in the “Town Where the Koi Carp Swim” area. And then I did a bit of shopping for Shimabara souvenirs at the nearby Tourism & Exchange Center “Seiryutei”
And in February, I highly recommend the Shimabara Castle Ume Plum Garden, with close to 300 trees making for a colorful scene with the castle tower in the background!
From February to March, there are lots of great spring events to come and see. Get off at Shimabara Station for the “Shimabara Castle Town Hina Meguri”, and get off at Koujiro Station for the Kunimi-cho, Unzen City “Nabeshimatei” Winter Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival.
Why not head off on a journey with Shimabara Railway! ☆
★ Here are all of the discount tickets offered by Shimabara Railway!
Unlimited travel on Shimabara Railway Trains and Buses for two days. You can purchase it at a JR station along with your JR ticket.
Unlimited travel on Shimabara Railway Trains and Busses, on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. Valid for 1 day. Available for purchase at Shimabara Railway Stations.
Unlimited travel pass that may only be used by people from foreign countries. (You must show your passport when purchasing it)Valid for 1 day.