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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Funakoshi Observatory 船越展望所 (Kujukushima 九十九島)

Visited 19.03.2014


Kujukushima means 99 islands in Japanese. Despite the name, there are a total of 208 islands, most of them are inhabited, within this cluster and it is said to be the most highly concentrated in Japan.

Two ways to see Kujukushima:
(1) There are several designated observation spots in Sasebo city to take in the splendor of Kujukushima. Some are accessible by local buses.
(2) Regular sightseeing ships which departs from Kujukushima Pearl Sea Resort at stipulated timings.


My personal preference was to capture an overview of Kujukushima from the observation spots rather than get close to them physically via the sightseeing ship. Unfortunately, the weather was cloudy resulting in poor visibility. Original plan was to visit Tenkaiho (展海峰), which is known to be the best viewing spot for Kujukushima. However, after consulting the staff at the Tourist Information Center at Sasebo JR Station, we made our way to Funakoshi instead, the nearest observatory from the train station. The visibility was poor as expected and I could imagine how scenic the view of the green islands and blue seas here will be on a good day. Hopefully better luck on my next trip to Kyushu.

(1) Funakoshi Observatory 船越展望所
From Sasebo City Bus Center (Bus Stop 7), board the bus heading for Tsukumo-en (つくも苑) via Zoological and Botanical Garden and alight at Kujukushima Botanical and Zoological Garden. Bus journey takes about 25 mins. From the bus stop, walk for another 10 mins before reaching destination. From what I recalled, this winding road leading to the observatory has no designated pedestrian walkway, therefore do stay closer to the sides.  
Website (in Japanese): http://www.sasebo99.com/spot/61464/
Bus schedule (in Japanese):
下船越・展海峰入口・つくも苑(動植物園経由) http://city-sasebo-koutuu.jp/jikokuhaifu5.html
展海峰入口・つくも苑(赤崎/動植物園) http://city-sasebo-koutuu.jp/jikokuhaifu6.html

Other well-known observation spots:

(2) Tenkaiho 展海峰
Apart from its 180 degree panoramic view of Kujukushima, Tenhaiho is a popular flower viewing spot too. Be captivated by blooming yellow rapeseed flowers in spring and a carpet of purple cosmos in autumn.
From Sasebo City Bus Center (Bus Stop 7), board the bus heading for Tsukumo-en (つくも苑) and alight at Tenkaiho iriguchi (展海峰入口). Bus journey takes about 40 mins. From the bus stop, walk for another 6 minutes before reaching the destination.
Website (in Japanese): http://www.sasebo99.com/spot/274/
Bus schedule (in Japanese):
下船越・展海峰入口・つくも苑(動植物園経由) http://city-sasebo-koutuu.jp/jikokuhaifu5.html
展海峰入口・つくも苑(赤崎/動植物園) http://city-sasebo-koutuu.jp/jikokuhaifu6.html

(3) Ishidake Observatory 石岳展望台
What makes this secluded observatory an attractive one is its elevation. This also implies visitors will need to overcome a gradient to reach here. Did a quick check on online photos posted and I was awed by the picturesque photos taken on a good day. Have noted down this place as a spot to visit next time round.
From Kujukushima Botanical and Zoological Garden, walk for another 30 mins up slope.
Website (in Japanese): http://www.sasebo99.com/spot/273/

(4) Yumiharidake Observatory 弓張岳展望台
Visitors get to capture both Kujukushima and Sasebo city skyline from this observatory. Buses to Yumiharidake are quite infrequent and the bus journey from Sasebo JR Station takes about 25 minutes.
Website: http://www.sasebo99.com/spot/265/
Bus route (in Japanese):
弓張岳 http://city-sasebo-koutuu.jp/jikokuhaifu21.html

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Funakoshi Observatory 船越展望所
〒857-1231 長崎県佐世保市船越町147

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