The residential palace of the Dutch King Willem Alexander, Huis ten Bosch, is located in The Hague. Unfortunately, this palace is not open to the public and you cannot drink coffee with the king. But did you know that you can visit Huis ten Bosch (ハウステンボス) in Japan? It sounds strange, but it is the name of an amusement park in the province of Kyushu, north of the city of Nagasaki. Here, the Japanese Yoshikuni Kamichika has built a miniature version of the Netherlands. That sounds crazy. But why did this good man do so? In this article, I will explain and give you an impression of one of the weirdest parks that I have ever visited: Huis ten Bosch in Sasebo, Japan.
The birth of a Dutch theme park in Japan
When Yoshikuni Kamichika visited Europe and the Netherlands in 1979, he was looking for creative ideas to improve the image of the Nagasaki region. He was impressed by the Netherlands and its buildings and by the Dutch way of dealing with water. Another factor was that the Netherlands was the only country in Japan to maintain relations via the island of Dejima in Nagasaki. In short, it had to be possible to create a nice attraction here…
In 1983 Kamichika had a few houses built near Nagasaki, which he called the Nagasaki Holland Village. And in 1988 the mega-project began with the name ‘Huis ten Bosch’. More than 6 kilometres of canals were dug and 400,000 trees and 300,000 flowers were planted. Finally, they raised many Dutch buildings from the ground with bricks that were also imported from the Netherlands. It doesn’t get any more Dutch than that, does it?
In total, the construction of Huis ten Bosch took 4 years and cost about 2.5 billion euros. On 25 March 1992, the theme park opened and since then it has been a cheaper way for Japanese to experience a holiday and to see something of the world. And for Dutch tourists, it is a bizarre, but fun and recognisable experience to be away from Japan for a day…
An impression of Huis ten Bosch
Are you planning to visit Huis ten Bosch near Sasebo in Japan? Below, I give you an impression of what you can expect. Finally, the question: do you want to visit this special theme park or not?
Huis ten Bosch: yes or no? Are you considering a visit to this special Dutch theme park in Japan? It is indeed a very strange experience to see all those Dutch buildings, but also very nice. When I was here in 2017, there were still two types of tickets: one without and one with a visit to the attractions. I mainly liked ‘seeing’ it and therefore chose the cheaper ticket without the attractions. As far as I have seen on the website, there is only one ticket that includes everything. This one costs 7,000 yen, which comes down to just over 50 euros. But then again, Japan is an expensive country.
It is also possible to stay overnight in the park. Look here for more information about accommodation. I arrived here in the morning from Nagasaki and left my backpack in a locker at the station. In the afternoon, I continued my journey to Fukuoka.
Even more Dutch influences in Japan? Then go to the island of Dejima in Nagasaki. This used to be a Dutch trading post and the only gateway for Japan to the west. Read more about it in the article Dejima | A visit to the historic Dutch island in Nagasaki
Practical information for a visit to Huis ten Bosch
How to get there? From Nagasaki it takes about 50 minutes by train. From Nagasaki Station take the Sea-Side Liner to Sasebo and get off at the Huis ten Bosch stop. Check the Hyperdia website for more information about departure times and arrivals. From Fukuoka it takes about 1.5 hours to take the Limited Express from Hakata Station to Sasebo.
Opening Hours: The park is open daily from 9am to 9/22pm. There are a few hotels near Huis ten Bosch where you could stay the night. Another possibility is to leave your suitcase or backpack at the train station.
Do you have any tips, remarks or ideas about the fun theme park Huis ten Bosch? Then feel free to leave a message below.