Goto – Nagasaki 五島列島、長崎

Goto Islands or in Japanese called 五島列島 「ごとうれっとう – Gotouretto」 is a beautiful island chain to the west of Nagasaki in the East China Sea.

The island-chain is becoming increasingly more popular as a tourist destination and this will increase even more after the release of Silence, a movie based on real events that occurred on Goto islands.

The island’s has over 50 small Catholic churches, an abundance of green broccoli-like mountains,

and pristine beaches with crystal clear water.

Mostly desolated. Fantastic beaches and so. much. space. That is EXTREMELY rare in Japan. I’m seriously gutted these beaches aren’t around Osaka area.

The food

Goto and Nagasaki are famous for whale-meat and you can find it at any izakaya on the island. I’ve tried my share of whalemeat, but I can’t say I really liked it.

Whale-meat aside, the rest of the FISH is fantastic. Of course its super fresh since all fish is caught here.

The trip

The Goto island-chain is accessible by ferry or airplane. In hindsight, if I had to choose and had the money I would probably choose a direct flight from Osaka with the airplane. I’ll tell you why, later.

We used the bulletrain from Shin-Osaka to Hakata, Fukuoka and from there we used the car to the port in Sasebo.

From Sasebo there is a ferry that goes to Goto. The ferry ONLY takes 2 hours and riding it isn’t really that bad but the ferry is pretty old and the toilets are….well, not that great. Shame I didn’t take a picture.

The ferry has a cargo room for cars (extra costs involved) so it’s the perfect way to rent a car, ride the ferry and tour all around the island.

On the second and third floor of the ferry are red carpeted floors on which people can sit, lay down and take a nap or watch TV. Makes for much faster passing of time.

While scouring the ferry I saw that they also had a few private rooms, which looked a bit more comfortable than the rest of the ferry. For more info see this webpage.

If you intend to heavily drain your smartphone batteries on the ferry, please note that there is no designated socket to charge your phone. I found only 1 random socket in one of the sleeping spaces but never tried to charge my phone there. So if you intend on using your phone heavily make sure you charge it before you ride on the ferry.

What to bring to Goto

– Mosquito repellent (Can’t go without it)
– Sunblock (Japanese sun is scorching!!)
– Swimwear (duh)
– Towel
– Rental Car


As I said above, Goto is famous for its Christian history. The island has over 50 small churches of which 3 are world heritage sites.

Here you can find a map with all the churches and their locations.

Some of the churches we visited:





We stayed at a resort called Margherita in the mountains North of Nakadori island, Kamigoto.

It was build as such that one side of the hotel offers a view of sunset and the other side a view of the sunrise…supposedly. I woke up early in the morning (05:23) to catch the sunrise only to find that is was actually blocked behind a big mountain.

Not sure but it could be that the sunrise is visible in a different season (rotation of earth and all that)? I can’t confirm this.

It’s not necessary to book 2 separate rooms on 2 separate days to enjoy both the sunset and sunrise because the view can be enjoyed by just going outside or to the public bathhouse.

But of course its much more fun to enjoy it in private while drinking a cold one on the veranda of your hotelroom.

The hotel is also kind enough to leave a message on the bed with the exact times of sunrise and sunset.

I liked the hotel interior

The rooms were great as well.

And breakfast at the resort was delicious!

This was the restaurant.

And the food.

Potatosoup with olive oil

French toast

And now, at last, some of the beautiful places in Goto, in panorama form.

To sum things up:

Goto offers:
– Beautiful beaches
– Peace and quiet
– Over 50 different churches with a lot of history
– Gorgeous nature and sights
– Did I already mention beaches?
– Fresh fish
– A beautiful resort in the mountains that offers both sunrise and sunset views (separate rooms) and a great spa.

Goto doesn’t offer:
– Sparkling nightlife (unless we are talking about the stars in the sky, which are clearly visible at night).
– Lively places
– Many convenience stores. So stock up early before you head out
– Commuting by train.

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