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Photo By: PIXTA/ kattyan
Largest City


For seasonal flowers on one side and more than 200 tiny islands on the other, head to the observation deck at Tenkaiho.

By Elizabeth Sok

Located a short drive from Sasebo City in Nagasaki Prefecture, Tenkaiho is a delight for nature lovers. For fantastic views where the sea and the sky meet amongst more than a hundred islands, head over to this picturesque observatory.

The Observatory


Photo by: PIXTA/ Anesthesia It’s the climb.

Upon reaching Tenkaiho, visitors will come to a simple structure with a set of stairs leading up to the observation deck. Restrooms and a small store are on site and not much else. However, the reward for your trip to this remote area lies at the top. While there are no telescopes on the deck, you won’t need them as your eyes will be more than enough to appreciate the spectacular view of hundreds of islands and fields of flowers that await.

Views of Kujukushima


Photo by: PIXTA/うっちー Watch the sun go down over the islands.

When looking out from the observation deck at Tenkaiho, visitors will be captivated by the panoramic view of Kujukushima, one of the highlights of Nagasaki Prefecture’s marine-based Saikai National Park. Although the name translates to 99 islands in English, the total number of islands that make up this area is closer to 208. The name itself dates back to at least the Edo period when the sight of this vast collection of tiny islands conjured up the idea of 99 to mean a large amount as opposed to being factually correct. Many of the islands come with their distinctive features and legends, such as Yoko Shima resembling the shape of a lion lying down, and Makura Jima’s name which means pillow island referring to the legendary Empress Jingu’s pillow lost overboard.

Seasonal Flowers


Photo by: PIXTA/ TOMO A seasonal treat.

Flower lovers should make a trip out to Tenkaiho in the spring and autumn, if possible. From late March to the beginning of April, you’ll be able to enjoy canola flowers covering the nearby landscape. These flowers, along with cherry blossoms, help to signal the start of spring with their bright yellow petals standing on stalks about 60 to 70 centimeters in height.

If the first half of October is a more likely time for your trip, you’ll be treated to cosmos from the panoramic observation deck which provides 180 degrees of pink and white petals. During peak season, walks through the maze of cosmos are offered for up close and personal looks at the autumnal flora.

Things To Know

Hours and fees

Tenkaiho is always open and admission is free.

How To Get There


By bus

From Sasebo Ekimae Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Kujukushima Park (Tenkaiho). The trip should take about 45 minutes. 

By car

From the Nishikyushu Expressway, get off at the Sasebo Chuo IC and drive for about 20 more minutes.

Where To Stay

Hotel Flags Kujukushima Nagasaki
  • 740 Kabushikigaishiya Kujiyukushimakankohoteru, Sasebo-shi, Nagasaki, 858-8589 Japan
  • ¥14,286 - ¥105,715
  • 4.19/5 (723 reviews)
  • 3.7 km
Kujukushima Seaside Terrace Hotel & Spa Hanamizuki
  • 1129 Kashimaecho, Sasebo-shi, Nagasaki, 858-0922 Japan
  • ¥13,110 - ¥62,510
  • 3.8 km
Hotel Resol Sasebo
  • 8-17 Shirahaecho, Sasebo-shi, Nagasaki, 857-0862 Japan
  • ¥6,800 - ¥18,700
  • 3.9/5 (2,029 reviews)
  • 4.7 km
Sasebo Daiichi Hotel
  • 4-4 Miuracho, Sasebo-shi, Nagasaki, 857-0863 Japan
  • ¥8,030 - ¥22,000
  • 3.67/5 (810 reviews)
  • 4.8 km
Sasebo Washington Hotel
  • 12-7 Shiomicho, Sasebo-shi, Nagasaki, 857-0834 Japan
  • ¥8,200 - ¥22,000
  • 4.1/5 (2,057 reviews)
  • 4.8 km

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