Hirado FAQ's

Winters in Hirado can be quite cold and since the houses are not built against the cold it can be quite chilly inside. This is also the dry season as it only occasionaly rains (and sometimes snows). Humidity levels are very low, which makes this the best season for clear views of the surrounding islands. The forests are evergreen and the camelia flowers in february.

Cherry blossoms usually blossom around April 1 but this can vary by about a week before or after depending on that year's winter weather. Hirado Azaleas blossom abundantly from mid April to early May and days are usually warm and pleasant but with cool nights. May is a very pleasant month as the evenings also start to warm up. During spring the winds from the continent can bring sand which usually makes it a little hazy.

Early June or mid June is the start of raining season. Temperatures and humidity will rise until the end of the rainy season which usually ends around "Day of the Sea" (third monday in July). This is also the start of the beach season which lasts until mid August when jellyfish start to appear. Throughout summer, days are hot and humid though Hirado's greenery and sea breeze makes it much more pleasant than the big city. 

By September temperatures at night will start to come down which makes this a good season for travelling, especially October can be pleasant with some warmer and some cooler days. However this is also the typhoon season which can bring heavy rain, though direct typhoon hits are very rare in Hirado. November is getting colder and by mid December winter sets in. Though Hirado does not have autumn foliage with its evergreen forests, autumn has the most beautiful sunsets. 

You can withdraw money at the post office in Hirado city centre with Cirrus and MasterCard debit cards and most credit cards as well as at the 7/11 convenience store ATM's outside the city centre. Generally you can not take out cash at the Japanese banks. 

Credit cards are accepted at the large hotels in Hirado, but not in the smaller accomodations like ryokan, guesthouses and minshuku. Sometimes in Japan the processing companies can occasionaly refuse foreign issued cards, but this is rare.

Recently some smaller accomodations and restaurants started to accept credit cards, but it is best to expect that they do not, so please bring enough cash with you especially when shopping and dining. Please take in consideration that some overseas banks have a maximum amount of cash you can take out in Japan within 24 hours.

Only a few restaurants in Hirado have an English menu. However a lot of menu's have pictures on them or you can ask the staff to read it out the names of dishes in Japanese. Ingredients and dietary restrictions are not mentioned on the menus however so please analyse yourself whether you can eat something or not.

Hirado grows a lot of its own food and most restaurants have fish, pork or beef dishes so you can pick one of those categories that you can eat. Vegetarian options however are limited and you might have to settle for some simple dishes at an izakaya. You can ask the staff to leave out fish or meat, but this would probably need to be done in Japanese. Vegan options are even more limited. 

Though there should be a variety of gluten-free dishes, please be careful if you have celiac disease as there are no guaranteed gluten-free dishes and cross contemination might happen in the kitchen. 

Religious dietary restrictions are not yet specifically catered for. Products such as Kosher and Halal meat will not be available in Hirado, so please avoid those respective ingredients. 

The reality is that English is not widely spoken yet in Hirado. However people are friendly and welcoming to foreigners, so we encourage all foreign visitors to come to Hirado and communicate with the locals as much as possible. Some english volunteer guides are available at times and a lot of people are willing to try to start a conversation. Bring a good dose of enthousiasm and effort and your stay will certainly be a pleasant and memorable one!