Places to visit

Saikai Pearl Sea Resort

With several exciting options on offer – from a cruising boat and a giant aquarium that is a replica of the Kujukushima waters and features hundreds of aquatic species, to eateries and shops – this is a wonderful attraction, including a friendly dolphin show. There are many options for cruising on the water and this is a great way to take in the scenic views of the surrounding area.



If you’re interested in pottery and/or history, a visit to Arita is a must. This picturesque, mountain town has been producing fine porcelain for four centuries using kaolin from a nearby quarry. On the outskirts of Arita is Porcelain Park – a theme park in the style of a German village – where a reproduction of the baroque Zwinger Palace houses porcelain exhibits. If you still need to fill the cracks in your pottery craving, visit the Kyushu Ceramic Museum. As well as Arita ceramics, there are European pieces and ceramics from every region in Kyushu, across various eras.

Place to shop


At this traditional Japanese souvenir shop, you can purchase gorgeous, high-quality crafts – almost all of which are made in Japan. In addition to souvenirs, such as fans, dolls, lucky cats and tea sets, Maekawa takes orders for custom-made Japanese musical instruments – and handles their repairs, too.

Places to see

Kujukushima Islands

Despite the name Kujukushima translating as ‘99 islands’, it’s actually made up of 208 – making it Japan’s largest concentration of islands. This is such an outstanding area of natural beauty that it was chosen to film scenes for the film The Last Samurai. As you cruise through these picturesque islands, the breathtaking vistas appear almost endless. While you sail, your captain will point out sights of interest, including two of the four inhabited forested islands – Kuroshima and Takashima.


Hirado and the Hidden Christians

Embark on a pilgrimage to the island of Hirado, where Christianity was introduced to Japan in 1550. After Christianity was outlawed in Japan in 1614, tens of thousands of Christians were executed, so secret worshipping became a matter of survival. Lead by your guide, you’ll go through Hirado city to Tabira Church. Then, journey up the hill to where the St Francis Xavier Memorial Church sits.


Ureshino Onsen

In this hot-spring town, you can immerse yourself in not only the crystal-clear spring waters but also in the country’s culture – enjoying the health and social benefits of hot springs is an age-old tradition. With temperatures up to 95˚C, and high in sodium bicarbonate and chloride, this combination is said to produce beautiful skin waters – referred to as "bihada no yu". After a traditional Japanese lunch, make your way to Ureshino Ochacha Mura, a green tea factory where you can see how it is cultivated and packaged. This site is near where green tea was first cultivated in 1191.

Places to eat

One of the most famous foods in this Japanese city is actually American-style hamburgers. First introduced in the 50s largely due to the influence of the US Navy bases, whose personnel made locals aware of this delicacy. Sasebo burgers don’t follow a particular recipe, but certain standards include the burger needing to be homemade, with all ingredients produced locally, and the patties always being cooked to order. There’s always a sauce and, while it’s not specific, most commonly it’s a combination of mayonnaise and English mustard.



Arguably one of the oldest burger joints in Sasebo, Hikari first opened to sell food to US soldiers. To this day it is still one place that both locals and tourists visit for an authentic Sasebo burger.

You can book your voyage to Sasebo online today, and purchase your Shore Experiences via My Cunard (accessible once you have your booking reference).


Article first published in Cunarder (Summer 2022 edition).

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