Getting Around Hirado Island



Hirado is more accessible than the islands to the south (the Goto Islands) and Iki and Tsushima to the north. The main island of Hirado was linked to the Kyushu mainland by a bridge in the 1970s, and Ikitsuki Island is connected to Hirado Island by bridge, as well. There are rail links to the Kyushu side of Hirado, but no train that makes the jump across the strait, so most elect to drive or take the bus up from Sasebo.

  • It is possible to take the Nishi-Kyushu Line from Sasebo Station to Tabirahiradoguchi Station, a trip that takes about an hour and a half and costs around 1300 yen. After arriving at Tabirahiradoguchi Station, a taxi across the bridge to Hirado Town costs around 2000 to 3000 yen. The most direct transit option is the Saihi Group’s bus from Sasebo Station directly to a stop in front of Hirado Pier, 2700 for a round-trip ticket and 1500 yen one way. The Saihi Group has an easy-to-use website that gives step-by-step instructions on how to take the bus, as well as up-to-date information on ticket prices and other fees. For those coming in from Fukuoka, there is also a Nishi Tetsu bus line available up to Hirado.

    Saihi Group’s bus

    Driving is the easiest way to get around Hirado. Driving up from Sasebo is probably the easiest option, since there are more options for renting. If you do cruise up on the train to Tabira, you can rent a car and drive over the bridge to Hirado, although options are limited; Pit Bros. Happy rent‐a‐car is an independent car rental outlet in Tabiracho, with twenty-four hour rentals of small cars for around 3,000 yen. It’s not that it’s impossible to explore Hirado without a car, but it is undeniably the best option, especially if you want to get deeper into the countryside.

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    There are local buses in Hirado, as well, including the Ikitsuki Bus that runs from Hirado Pier to stations on Ikitsuki Island, with stops in between. The timetable and fare information is buried in a PDF on the website, but there is clear signage at the station; the Ikitsuki Bus makes the round-trip about a dozen times a day.

    Trips around Hirado, even out to Ikitsuki, can be undertaken by taxi, as well. Manbo Taxi runs a service that picks up at Hirado port Excange Plaza or Tabira on the Kyushu side and takes visitors on 1 hour for 3,000 yen or 2 hours and a half for 8,000 yen tours of the islands. The longer tour goes as far as Ikitsuki’s west coast, so it takes in most of the two main islands of Hirado. Silver Taxi is another for touring the island, with similar itineraries. If you arrived on the island sans automobile, taking a cruise by taxi around Hirado is a great way to see more than you could on foot.


    The Tourist Info Centre has bikes for rent, which makes it a bit easier to get around the Hirado Town area. The electric motor-assisted bikes can be rented for 500 yen for four hours or 1,000 yen for all day.



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    After going through all these motorized options for getting around Hirado, the simplest once can’t be forgotten: put on your shoes and walk. Walking around central Hirado is the best option, and the best way to get a feel for the community. It’s easy enough to head up into the hills, as well. The walk from the Dutch Trading Post over to Hirado Castle, for example, will take about a half hour. Venturing further afield, it’s best to take a bus out, and then time your hike so that you can catch the bus back into town.



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    Nagasaki Pref. Hiradoshi Iwanouechou 1458
  • From Hirado Island, there are ferries that head out to Azuchi-Oshima Island, Takushima Island, and other nearby islands as well as back to the Kyushu mainland. Getting beyond Hirado and Ikitsuki, the islands are less developed and have minimal infrastructure for visitors, but it is possible to take a ferry out to Takushima for less than 1,000 yen on one of several sailings each day. There are five sailings a day out to the port of Oshima on Azuchi-Oshima Island. Another option to get back to the Kyushu mainland is the ferry from Tsuyoshicho on Hirado Island’s southern peninsula to Sasebo, or the ferry from Hirado Pier to Tabira.