Amakusa, located in the southwestern part of
Kumamoto, consists of Shimo-shima and Kami-shima
islands, which are major islands in the area, and
120 other islands varying in size, which belong to
Unzen-Amakusa National Park along with the
Shimabara-hanto Peninsula in Nagasaki.
The five bridges, collectively named Amakusa Gokyo, which interlink with Misumi at the western end of the Uto-hanto Peninsula in Kumamoto and the islands of O-yano-jima, Naga-ura-jima, O-ike-jima, Ike-jima, Mae-jima, and Matsu-shima in Ue-jima, completed a route commonly called the Amakusa Pearl Line. It provides ideal spots for viewing the saw-toothed coastline of Amakusa and the small islands scattered across the sea. A sightseeing boat commanding views of the five bridges from the deck cruises past 30-odd islands of varying sizes spotted in Amakusa-Matsushima in about 40 minutes.
At the off-island of Tsuuji-shima (Itsuwa-machi, Amakusa City) live bottle-nosed dolphins of about 300 different kinds, to let you enjoy dolphin watching throughout the year.
During the Edo Period from the 17th century to the 19th century, many Japanese adherents of Christianity, which was banned during those years, hid in Amakusa. Myotoku-ji Temple is one of the temples constructed at various places in Amakusa by the Shogun Iemitsu Tokugawa to suppress Christianity. The Christian faith, however, has been maintained to this day. The Oe-Tenshudo Church, Sakitsu- Tenshudo Church, and other churches were built in the 20th century.