Sasebo (佐世保市, Sasebo-shi) is located in Nagasaki Prefecture, at the northwestern tip of Kyushu, in southern Japan. As of 2006, the city has an estimated population of 258,324. The total area of the city is 363.88 km². The city was founded in April 1, 1902. It is the second largest city in Nagasaki Prefecture.
The area is famed for its scenic beauty, including mountains, beaches, coastal islands and rolling hills. Sasebo is quite mountainous, with two main mountains, Mt. Eboshi (568 meters) and Mt. Shokan (443 meters). 208 islands of various sizes span across approximately 25 kilometers from Sasebo Port to Hirado make up Kujukushima -- "The 99 Islands". The outstanding beauty of the complex landscape created by the intricately laid out peninsulas and islands attracts many tourists.
The greatest feature of Sasebo City is its port. Sasebo Port opened in 1889 and was designated as the first post-war trading port in Western Japan, and the city’s main industry of shipbuilding flourished as a result. In 1952, the American Naval Base was established in Sasebo, and the city subsequently developed as the “Naval Base City”. Even today there are many places that have an American feel to them such as the hamburger shops, which are the relics of the post-war days, bars frequented by Americans and the streets with rows of red brick buildings.
The area around Sasebo is well known for fine porcelain, and is considered the porcelain capital of Japan. The Sasebo area has been a major producer of porcelain since the Edo period. The famous Mikawachi porcelain comes from the area east of Sasebo, and the Noritake factory is located nearby. Sasebo offers many other fine local products, including oysters, pearls, loquats and many kinds of fish.