A natural hot spring in a Netherlands inspired theme park?
That’s exactly what you can find if you stay at the official hotel of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo, located in Nagasaki Prefecture.
After enjoying the theme park during the day, you can go back to the hotel and have a relaxing soak before heading out again for an evening stroll. This kind of activity is great for those of you who want a mature, relaxing vacation.
Read on to find out more about charm of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park and hotels.
Hotel with a Hot Spring -- Hotel Okura JR Huis Ten Bosch
In addition to the three hotels directly operated by the Huis Ten Bosch theme park (Hotel Europe, Hotel Amsterdam, and Hotel ForestVilla), three other hotels are nearby (Hotel Okura JR Huis Ten Bosch, Hotel Nikko Huis Ten Bosch, and Watermark Hotel Nagasaki - Huis Ten Bosch). The Hotel Okura JR is the only hotel with a natural hot spring inside!
It’s easy to spot. As you arrive at Huis Ten Bosch station by train, you’ll immediately notice the hotel, which looks like it’s straight from a fairy tale. The picture above was taken from the 8th floor balcony of the Park View guest room, a great place from which to observe the spacious grounds.
Another special feature of this hotel is the guest-only harbor. From here, you can take a small boat across the canal to enter and leave the park.
The hot spring, called “Koto No Yu”, is on the 1st floor and is free for hotel guests to use. It’s 100% natural and claims to have a positive effect on nerve pain, stiff joints, and atopy. Iron and manganese in the water and give it a reddish brown color. The chloride bath is said to be good for moisturizing skin, improving circulation, and preventing chills once you’ve left the baths. After you’ve used the hot spring, you’ll notice that your skin is soft and smooth.
Aside from the main European-themed large bath, there is a Japanese style rotenburo (outdoor hot spring bath) as well. It’s a great place to relax your body after a day of exploring the park.
The Koto No Yu hot spring is also accessible by people not staying in the hotel (for a price), so the lockers and shoe boxes have keys, and towel and amenity kits are available. Hotel guests can use the bath robes from their rooms when going to the hot spring, making the experience even more comfortable.
I recommend avoiding the time immediately after the park closes, as this is when the hot spring gets the busiest.
For Adult-Only Groups, Enjoy the Park with a “Sansaku” Ticket
Huis Ten Bosch has many ticket options available, such as 1 day and 2 day passport tickets that allow you to enter and and use the rides and attractions. There’s also the “Sansaku” ticket which allows one day entry into the park and allows guests to ride on the park bus.
If you’re confused about which ticket to buy but your group is mostly full of people who just want to see the park and not ride the rides, then the Sansaku ticket is more than enough to allow you to have a good time.
The park is huge, with an area of 1,520,000 square meters. This is the same amount of space as Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea combined, and it’s full of shops selling sweets, food, and fashion accessories.
Walking around the park, you can enjoy eating at restaurants and cafes, shopping, and watching some of the free events. You’re sure to leave feeling satisfied.
You can also take pictures of the meticulously recreated European storefronts, a great setting for those into photography.
Compare the Various Sponge Cakes of Nagasaki Prefecture at “Castelo de Castella”
In addition to the cheese, sausage, and chocolate specialty shops that can be found at Huis Ten Bosch, one store called Castelo de Castella allows customers to taste and compare the many popular sponge cakes (castella) that Nagasaki Prefecture is famous for.
Popular as a souvenir gift in Japan, there are over 100 different kinds of sponge cake. You can find cakes from many different companies, such as Bunmeido, Sho-oken, Izumiya, Ijindo, and Kinkaido that have been in operation in Nagasaki Prefecture for many years. There is even an original Huis Ten Bosch speciality castella.
The free sample area is set up like a buffet, so grab a toothpick, walk around, and enjoy some sponge cake.
When eating and comparing the different samples available, you’ll likely notice that they have various levels of sweetness and different consistencies. There’s probably nowhere else in the world with this many kinds of sponge cake in the same place, so take advantage of the opportunity and find the one you like best!
Enjoy Food from All Over the World at the Park’s Restaurants
The park also features various cafes and restaurants.
In addition to Nagasaki favorites such as Sasebo Burger, Lemon Steak, and Nagasaki Champon, there’s a wide selection of restaurants and fast food options from many different countries.
Picutred above is cheese fondue from Rode Leeuw, a restaurant along the canal. This hearty dish is specially made with cheese from the Netherlands. You can order even for just 1 person, so I recommend this dish for anyone who is really into cheese.
Twilight at Huis Ten Bosch -- Enjoy the Beautiful Illumination Display
The park is decorated with illumination throughout, giving it a completely different face at night.
From lighting up the palace to using 3D projection mapping, there are various events going on at night depending on the season. If there is something in particular that you’d like to see, it’s best to check the park’s website prior to your visit.
As a side note, 30 minutes prior to sunset is said to be the most beautiful time to view the park in the evening, and with the right preparation you can get a great picture even with just a digital camera.
For those just wanting to go at night, you can get the Moonlight 4 Passport, which will allow you to enter the park at a discount from 4PM.
Also, most tickets (including the Sansaku ticket) will allow guests to re-enter the park once per day, so don’t pass up the opportunity to visit the park at night as well.
Huis Ten Bosch is the theme park with something to satisfy people of all ages, from seasonal flowers to events and attractions. You’ll forget that you’re in Nagasaki as you enjoy the relaxing European-styled environment. With flowers in the spring and fireworks in the summer, there is something to enjoy no matter the season. No trip to Nagasaki is complete without a visit!
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