The Shimabara hanto (peninsula) is a fabulous, gorgeous place with lots to see and do and amazing people to meet. Consisting of three cities: Unzen, Shimabara, and Minami-Shimabara, it also happens to be home to some of the most stunning natural beauty Kyushu has to offer.

Around here we entertain ourselves by having beach barbecues, hiking up Mt. Unzen, holding cabin parties, haunting the local karaoke and pool bars, and occasionally having a night out at the clubs in Kumamoto city. We regularly have game and movie nights hosted at whichever house can fit us all in, or we make a trip up to Nagasaki and hit the cinema and arcades in force. Not to mention, there are some excellent restaurants tucked away all over the hanto.

Apart from all of the awesome ALTs you’ll soon meet there are also many lovely locals who are always ready to make a new English-speaking friend. You may find that some go out of their way to make you feel welcome, to the point of showering you with fresh produce on a regular basis.

We recommend taking up a hobby once you get settled in. Whether it be taiko, kyudo, aikido, shodo, or any number of other fun pastimes. Joining one of these is the quickest and most enjoyable way to make new friends and get to know your town. Be sure to make an appearance at a town festival when your club has an event as it’s sure to delight and entertain your Japanese friends and students and leave you with some great memories.

Though you had probably never heard of the Shimabara Hanto before receiving your placement and Google searches probably yielded more frustration than help, rest assured, you got lucky being placed here. It’s an awesome area to live in and its residents are ready and waiting to welcome you to your new home.