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Monday, May 11, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Kujukushima Pearl Sea Resort 九十九島パールシー リゾート, Kujukushima Sightseeing Ship 九十九島遊覧船

Visited 19.03.2014

Kaiou, the pirate themed sightseeing ship, which has been replaced by Mirai.
Backup plan. Because of the bad weather and failed attempt to capture a good overview of Kujukushima from Funakoshi Observatory, I made a last minute decision to embark on a sightseeing ship cruise to come closer the islands, hoping to overcome the earlier disappointment. It took us 15 minutes to walk from Funakoshi Observatory to Kujukushima Pearl Sea Resort, where the sightseeing ship pier is located.
  
Don't be misled by the name of this place (at least I was), as there are no luxurious hotels or private beaches here. Kujukushima Pearl Sea Resort (formerly known as Saikai Pearl Sea Resort) is more of a leisure and entertainment zone - a pier for sightseeing cruise ships, an aquarium (Kujukushima Aquarium Umikirara 九十九島水族館 海きらら), shops and restaurants (Lucky's Burger) are all gathered within the same area. There are two sightseeing ships which set sail around Kujukushima and the entire journey takes about 50 minutes: Pearl Queen and Mirai, a pirate themed ship which has replaced the former Kaiou (海王).


Features. Chose to ride on the pirate themed ship, Kaiou, which was making its first sail of the day at 1130 hrs. Bright red hull was very eye catching and made me look forward to the ride. Though crow's nests which served as lookout points were available, it was not accessible (at least no one dare to do so without any safety harnesses on). The pirate theme was also extended to the interior - you can find treasure boxes filled with gold coins, toy skulls hanging from the ceiling, cannon and cannonballs directed outwards.

Ship moving through the narrow water way between two islands.
Experience. Stayed outdoor throughout the entire ship journey. As anticipated, Kujukushima felt less breathtaking when viewed at grade level. With a map in hand, I tried to trace the route that the ship was taking and identify the unique features in some of the islands (that were mentioned in the brochures), while enjoying the cooling sea breeze. You would also notice numerous buoys arranged in a square fashion in the sea - oyster farming is actively practised in the calm waters surrounding Kujukushima. The most exciting part of the ride was when the ship sailed skilfully through a narrow waterway between two islands.

Conclusion. Overall, the sightseeing ship journey was pleasant but did not bring out the best side of Kujukushima. I will still recommend making your way to any of the elevated observation spots to capture a better view of the cluster of islands, especially on a good weather day.

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Kujukushima Pearl Sea Resort  九十九島パールシーリゾート
〒858-0922 長崎県佐世保市鹿子前町1008番地
http://www.pearlsea.jp/english/

Sightseeing ship sailing times:
- Pearl Queen: 1000, 1100, 1300, 1400, 1500 hrs
- Mirai: 1130, 1330 and 1430 hrs
Fee = 1,400 yen (adult); 700 yen (child)

How to get there?

By bus from Sasebo JR Station:
- Bus stop #1 (not located in the bus center, just turn left after exiting from train station): for rapid service bus to Pearl Sea Resort (パールシーリゾート). 6 buses per day and bus timings have been arranged to allow seamless transfer from/to Ltd Express Midori train.
Fee = 240 yen. Bus timings: http://www.pearlsea.jp/english/access.html

- Bus stop #6 (in bus center): for local bus to Pearl Sea Resort (パールシーリゾート). Fee = 240 yen.
Bus timings: http://www.pearlsea.jp/access/shieibusjikokuhyou.pdf

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