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Unzen-Amakusa National Park

Land area: 28,279 ha
Designated on 16 Mar, 1934

Photo: Unzen-Amakusa

The park has picturesque mountains and seascapes. On land, Unzen, which is a cluster of active volcanoes, still shows signs of vigorous volcanic activities, and on the ocean there is a scattered group of islands. Both places are full of natural beauty. As the area is abundant in tourism resources such as hot springs heated by volcanic activities, it has been a popular tourist destination since old times. Since it is also rich in historic sites, visitors can find an abundance of both nature and culture here.

Characteristics of the Unzen and Amakusa Areas

Map: Unzen-Amakusa

Unzen-Amakusa National Park is a park with volcanoes and seashores which consists of the Unzen area in western Kyushu and the Amakusashoto Islands. The Unzen area contains Mt. Unzendake in the middle of the Shimabarahanto Peninsula and Unzenonsen Spa. The park consists of the volcanic region and coastal area of the Amakusashoto Islands located in its south.
Mt. Unzendake is a volcano chain centering around Mt. Fugendake (1,359 m). It takes its present shape as a result of repeated eruptions of lava over a long period of time. Mt. Fugendake has many records of eruption in the early-modern and modern times. Particularly, the eruption in 1991, which caused 44 deaths and missing persons is still fresh in the memory of the Japanese. Today, the embargo on climbing the mountain has been removed and visitors can view the landform which has changed because of recent eruptions. On the mountainside, Tashirobaru and other plateaus spread out. At Unzenonsen Spa, "hell scenes" such as sulfurous steam and hot water spouting out from the ground can be seen, and there are many places of interest.
The Amakusashoto Islands are a scattered group of islands south of the Shimabarahanto Peninsula. There are more than 120 islands of various sizes on the Shiranuikai Sea including the two main islands, Kamishima Island and Shimoshima Island. The seascape of the coast is splendid and full of varied scenery such as many indentations, which are typical of submerged shorelines, and magnificent sea cliffs. Mt. Senganzan and Mt. Takabutoyama on Kamishima Island are major observation spots overlooking the whole area.

Rich Flora and Undersea Ecosystem

Regarding vegetation in the park area, the upper part of Mt. Unzen is covered with broad-leaved deciduous forests which are decorated beautifully with colored leaves in autumn and rimes of frost in winter. In Tashirobaru and other plateaus, Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora) woods and communities of wild azaleas called "miyamakirishima (Rhododendron kiusianum)" grow. At the foot of mountains, there are many planted forests of Japanese cedars (Cryptomeria japonica) and Japanese cypresses (Chamaecyparis obtusa).
In the Amakusashoto Islands, the main vegetation is Japanese red pines and Japanese black pines (Pinus thunbergii), and broad-leaved evergreen forests of Japanese chinquapins and evergreen oaks. In some places, some tropical plants can be seen.
The park has excellent undersea landscapes. These areas, where small tropical fish and colorful coral can be seen, are designated as Marine Park Zones.

Historic Sites of Important Events of Old Times

The Unzen area has been developed since old times as an international summer resort and because of their historical background, the Amakusashoto Islands have many historic sites. It should be noted that the Amakusa area is very famous in Japan as it experienced the introduction of the Christian faith and then persecution of Christians. Keeping this in mind, one can also enjoy the area's educational value by visiting historic sites and seeing related materials exhibited.

Our Local Office at the Park:
Unzen Mountain Information Center, Unzen 320, Obama-cho, Unzen-shi, Nagasaki

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