Huis Ten Bosch
Go Dutch in Nagasaki.
Huis Ten Bosch is a Dutch-themed amusement park along Omura Bay in Sasebo city. Founded in 1992, it’s complete with Dutch-style homes, windmills, wooden clogs, and (when in season) tulips.
So why did an amusement park in Nagasaki go Dutch?
It turns out that Nagasaki and the Netherlands have ties dating back centuries. The Dutch East India Company used to trade through a post in Hirado in northern Nagasaki, until, following growing fears linked to the spread of Christianity, the base of operations was forcibly confined to Dejima, an island in Nagasaki Bay. For 200 years, Dejima and its Dutch inhabitants were Japan’s only window to the outer world.
Despite its overarching Dutch theme, Huis Ten Bosch pulls from a kaleidoscope of cultures for inspiration. Split into nine distinctive areas, the park has a bit of everything for everyone, including a teddy bear museum, an ice rink, a trick art house, a canal ride, an ice café, and a zip line.
Flower lovers can take a stroll in one of the park’s four gardens through the year. Crowd lovers can enjoy “The Kingdom of Flowers,” from March through June, when people flock to the park in droves to see the famous tulips and roses in full bloom.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, “The Kingdom of Light” may be more your speed. Held from November to February, the event offers dazzling illuminations best enjoyed after dusk. Special events include amazing light displays, shows, and parades to warm the heart despite the winter’s chill.
Not one for roller coasters, but still seeking an adrenaline spike? In the aptly named Thriller City, you can test your mettle at several haunted houses. Avoid using the restrooms in this area where dim lighting and creepy decorations make toilet time terrifying.
For the international foodie, you can find anything from international cheeses to meats to spirits in one of the park’s many shops. Huis Ten Bosch is especially famous for its cheesecake. They also sell different flavors of castella, Nagasaki’s signature dessert, from well-known shops around the prefecture.
Huis Ten Bosch tickets are referred to as “passports,” and are available for purchase at and outside the park, as well as online. Passports come in 1-, 2-, and 3-day increments for regular guests. Ticket discounts are available for guests staying at one of the park’s six official hotels.