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Sasebo (佐世保)[1] is the second-largest city in Nagasaki prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan.


Sasebo is home to the U.S. Navy base, Fleet Activities Sasebo or FAS [2], as well as a base for the Japan Self Defense Force. Sasebo is very English ready for travels and a great place to slow down and enjoy Japan. While most Japanese cities are very busy Sasebo is calm and Japanese at the same time. The U.S. Navy has accommodations for Military on base and veterans. There are about 5000 Sailors and civilians stationed in Sasebo and there is a designated area of Sasebo down town know as Sailor Town. It's small and frequented by U.S. Service Members.

Get in[edit]

Sasebo Naval Base and Downtown.

By plane[edit]

The nearest airport is in Nagasaki,(Omura Airport located 30 min to 1 hour away from Nagasaki by car) from which you can reach Sasebo by bus (80 minutes, ¥1350). Another nearby airport is in Fukuoka, from which you can reach Sasebo by bus (about 2 hours, ¥2200).

By train[edit]

Sasebo Station is the terminating station on the JR Omura Line. Sasebo's Haiki Station is the westernmost point on the entire Japan Railway.

Sasebo is connected to Hakata station, the last stop on the San'yo Shinkansen in Fukuoka, by the Midori limited express train. The train reaches Sasebo in 1 3/4 hours, reversing direction at Haiki station, and the trip costs ¥3740 each way. For its price, it is probably of use only to Japan Rail Pass holders (where the train can be taken at no additional charge), or to passengers transferring from the Shinkansen.

Local trains from Hakata cost only ¥2070, but can take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours, requiring a multiple change of trains; in which case, you're better off using the bus (see below). Taking the Midori Limited Express, a one-way ticket from Hakata to Sasebo cost ¥2500, return tickets cost ¥4500. The ride will only take about 1 hr and 47 minutes.

Sasebo is also connected to Nagasaki by the hourly Sea Side Liner rapid train (100 minutes, ¥1600).

By bus[edit]

Frequent highway buses connect the Hakata bus terminal in Fukuoka to Sasebo (about 2 hours, ¥2200).

You can also take an overnight bus from other parts of the country into Fukuoka or Nagasaki, and connect to another bus or train for the final run to Sasebo.

Get around[edit]

Downtown Sasebo and shopping arcade are easily accessible on foot. For outlying areas, bus service or taxis are recommended. Unlike other major metropolitan cities in Japan, Sasebo has no subway or train system connecting various inner city points. It also lacks the street car system of Nagasaki, therefore if you do not have a car, you will need to hire a rental vehicle, or use other resources.

See[edit][add listing]

About 15 minutes out of town, by train, is the area's largest tourist attraction, Huis ten Bosch (Hausu ten Bosu), a Dutch-themed amusement park. A one-day passport to the park costs ¥6,100. (Tel. 0956-27-0001). Be sure to see the fireworks every evening at 20:48H. [3] They also have some high-end hotels and convention facilities.

Do[edit][add listing]

Sasebo City Zoo - a small zoo that tries extremely hard to show animals various types of animals, but which are common to Japan or to other zoos, eg. an elephant, peguins and the like. Entrance fee is ¥300 for adults, ¥100 for school aged children, and children under 6 are free. Outside food and picnics are allowed in the zoo.

Kujukushima Pearl Sea Resort (AKA Saikai Pearl Sea Resort), Sasebo Aquarium and IMAX Theater - A small shopping mall with small speciality shops and restaurants. Aquarium is small and shows animals unique to the Sasebo area and currents around Nagasaki Prefecture and surrounding Islands.

Kenji Jojima Memorial Museum - Visit Kenji Jojima's museum detailing his rise as baseball player from the kiddie leagues to the Seattle Mariners.

Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces Museum - See the glorious history of the Japanese SDF.

Kujukushima (九十九島) - Tour the islands near Sasebo on a pirate ship from Kashimae pier. Go to the #1 bus stop and catch the white city bus going to Pearl Island Resort - you'll take the bus all the way to the last stop, and Kashimae Pier is right next to the aquarium entrance. When you board the bus the driver will offer you an all-day bus pass which runs 500 yen for adults or 250 yen for children - if you're planning on doing more than just ride the bus to the pier and back (i.e. if you go to the aquarium and/or take the Kashima Pier 99 Islands boat tour) then you should definitely buy it. The bus fare is 220 yen each way and if you show your bus pass to the ticket booth staff you can also get discounts to the other exhibits around the pier that will save you more than 500 yen. The tour boats leave every hour on the hour from 10am to 3pm, but there are also tours leaving at 11:30, 13:30, and 14:30, and those three :30-minute departure times are the times for the pirate ship. Other departure times will put you on a white 3-masted boat called the Pearl Queen. The pirate ship is called the "Kaiou" or Ocean King in Japanese. The tour takes 50 min no matter which boat you take and runs 1200 yen for adults (1000 with day pass discout). There is an oyster BBQ festival held on the pier in February.

SASPA - [4]. On the northwest side of Sasebo. It's a local hide out that most sailors fail to find. If you get into a taxi and ask for SASPA they will take you there. The upside is for about $30 you can use a traditional Japaneses spa (Sexes are separate) with Hot, Mineral, Salt, and Cold tubs. When you are done there are PJ's you get when you arrive and can eat or head up to the observation room and enjoy some quiet time. There is a movie room and a sleeping room along with pay for massages. You can stay overnight and must be out by 10 AM the next day. If you don't mind sharing it's a great night of sleep with all the spa time you can handle and for about $30 including the taxi fare.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • The famous Sasebo City spinning tops can be purchased in the shopping arcade(Yonkacho)

Eat[edit][add listing]

The most famous food in Sasebo is American-style hamburgers, owing to the influence of the US Navy in the city. They typically include a fried egg and bacon or ham. Look for restaurants that are "certified" by the Sasebo Burger Association, that way you'll know you are getting the "real" deal. Most certified shops are located in the downtown Sasebo area. Another popular food originated in Sasebo is Lemon Steak. Unlike normal beef steak. Sasebo Steak often uses sliced beef, served on a hot plate with lemon-flavored soy sauce. Some restaurant use the local Nagasaki Wagyu.

  • Mike's Tex Mex serves superb food and is reasonably priced. Watch out though, it's small and very popular - sometimes you may have to wait outside on the bench! It can be found on the side street at the station end of the covered arcade (when facing towards the station from the arcade, the road is on your right at 45 degrees).
  • Skinny's Just across the Albuquerque bridge to the left, it's a small local place and any sailor can tell you how to get there. Skinny is a great cook and his Fried Rice and Ham & Egg Sandwiches are tops when you are just a little hungry.
  • Ra Ra Ramen. Good ramen. English menu available. Its near the end of the Ginza and Mike's Tex Mex.  edit
  • Restaurant and Cafe Hachinoya (レストラン・喫茶 蜂の家) (1st Floor, Sankuru2Bankan Building, Sakaemachi 5-9, Sasebo, Nagasaki) Has Lemon Steak Set (1,500 Yen), Navy Style Beef Stew Set (1,080 Yen). Also try the Jumbo Shu Cream (400 Yen)

Drink[edit][add listing]

Very roughly the city drinking establishments were divided into those catering to the base personnel and those catering to the general populace. However, the economic conditions have narrowed these distinctions considerably.

The bars for the general populace are very interesting places, and the proprieters very friendly. Although they do not profess to speak English, all of them generally do enjoy English conversations.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are plenty of hotels along the main street parallel to the shopping arcade (Gyoncho). Also, there is a old-school capsule hotel with sauna.

  • International Village Youth House, Sasebo City, Nagasaki (90-minute train ride on the Seaside Liner from Nagasaki Station). A very large hostel that looks a bit like an American college dorm complex with a gym, a cafeteria, and a couple of fields. Free wireless internet in the rooms and lobby. Lots of rooms, all private (1-4 people per room), from ¥2625 per person per night. It's a good base for exploring the Nagasaki-Sasebo-Hus Ten Bosch area. Right next to Huis Ten Bosch.

Get Out[edit]

Nagasaki City is about an hour and a half from Sasebo.

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