Nagasaki is a cute and historical port city on the northwest of Kyushu island. It takes about 2 ½ hours to get to Nagasaki from Fukuoka Station by JR Train. Nagasaki has been a well-known tourist spot for domestic Japanese tourists. On the other hand, Nagasaki is still a hidden jewel among foreign tourists. It is worth it to take the time to explore there!
When I traveled to Nagasaki, I personally loved the atmosphere of Nagasaki because of its cultural diversity. Although I am Japanese, I felt as if I was somewhere else in some ways. I think this interesting feeling was coming from the history of Nagasaki as a gateway to international trade. Nagasaki played a very important role as an international trading port for many centuries. Back in the 16th century, Japan restricted international relationships with other nations except for Portuguese, Dutch at Dejima Wharf in Nagasaki. Dejima was the only port to connect the outside of Japan. Portuguese and Dutch gave great cultural influence to Nagasaki such as the city architectures, food and religion. Surprisingly, the famous Japanese Food “Tempura” is originated in Portuguese words “Quatuor Anni Tempora”!! In addition, since opening the international trade with Portuguese, Nagasaki has been the centre of Japanese Catholicism. Catholicism in Japan is about 0.35% of the population, but about 4.4% of the population in Nagasaki believe in Catholicism. Interesting!
The academic part is done now. Ok! Let’s go through 10 Spots You Must Visit in Nagasaki!
Battleship Island is a small island (480m x 160m) that is listed in UNESCO World Heritage that located approximately 17 km from Nagasaki Port. The island used to serve as a coal mine, and had approximately 5300 people on it! The density of the population on the island was highest in human history… But these facts don’t tell us why is it called “Battleship Island”, right? The name came from the fact that this tiny island was built taller and taller to hold that much population, and looked like a battleship “Tosa” served for WW1st. That is interesting!
It used to be banned to travel to this historical ruin, but now it is open for the public. There are guided tours that you can join with an English guide.
Mt Inase is a great lookout to overview the entire Nagasaki Habour and City. This mountain is only 333m that you can access the summit by ropeway, bus or on foot. There are plenty of resting spots and cafés on the way to the summit. It will take only 1 hour to get there for hikers. So, it may be a great idea to go for hiking on the way up and coming down by ropeway.
|One way||730 Yen||520 Yen||410 Yen|
|Return||1250 Yen||940 Yen||620 Yen|
Nagasaki Ropeway Information
Nagasaki was atomic-bombed on the 9th of August, 1945 that killed 73,884 people and caused 74,909 injuries. The Nagasaki Peace Park was established in 1955 to commemorate the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The centre of the park is hypocentre where you only see a simple black monolith. I am not a spiritual person normally, but the silence, space and the simple monolith made me feel something with the wind blowing behind me. This is definitely the must-go place in Nagasaki.
Admission Fees: 200 Yen
This is the old mansion built for Thomas Blake Glover who is a Scottish merchant who contributed to modernise Japan’s shipbuilding and coal mining industries. Glover Garden is the oldest western building in Japan. The epic part of this site is the garden. It offers you the great overlooking of the Nagasaki harbour, and western and Japanese styles mixed garden. So, grab Bento (lunch box) from a convenience store and enjoy the picnic there!
Admission fees: 620 Yen
Dejima in Japanese means of “Exit Island”. This artificial island was established as a special district for the trades with Dutch and Portuguese. Dejima was the only place that opened to the rest of the world during Japan’s two centuries of isolation. Now, Dejima has been restored to demonstrate old Dejima. So, once you step in Dejima, you will be able to timeslip to Edo Era. It is a really cool spot!
General: 520 Yen
High School Student: 200 Yen
Primary Student: 100 Yen
This is another interesting part of Nagasaki! This temple was built in 1629 by Chinese traders from Fujian Province. As the Chinese Temple, the Sofuku-ji temple is the oldest in Japan. The gate in the image was themed to demonstrate the gate to heaven. There are so many Buddhist accessories that were created by sophisticated Chinese Buddhist sculptors. When you enter the complex, you would notice a big difference from other temples in Japan.
Admission Fees: 300 Yen
Urakami Cathedral is located within a short walk distance from Nagasaki Peace Park. This is one of the largest Cathedrals in Japan. Of course, Japan is super well-known for Buddhist temples and Shinto Shrines, however, there is also some history for Catholicism. Have a visit to Urakami Cathedral and learn the history of how local Nagasaki residents were hiding to believe Catholicism under the religious restriction of the government in the past. It stands as one of the most iconic places of Nagasaki.
Admission Fees: Free
In 2006, the Shimabara Castle was listed as one of the 100 best castles in Japan by the Japan Castle Foundation. The Fun thing about this castle is you can try Ninja & Samurai Cosplay! (Dressing Ninja and Samurai armours) It is great fun for adults too as there are not many places that offer dressing armors. The inside of the castle is a museum that exhibits the history of Christian Samurai in Nagasaki.
Adult: 540 Yen
Kids: 270 Yen
The Confucius Shrine was built in 1893 by the Chinese society of Nagasaki. This is called the shrine, so people expect just another normal shrine. Bun it is much more than a normal shrine! It is the shrine with a well-designed museum. In addition, I liked the little garden with a bridge over the pound as it looks similar to our culture but I can see the difference between us. The Chinese also have the beautiful garden culture and the Confucius Shrine in Nagasaki is well-maintained from the 19th century. So, it is worth it to explore!
660 Yen (Including admission to the museum)
Kujuku in Japanese means of ninety-nine islands. But the fact is that there are 208 small islands in this area. These islands are located near Sasebo which is about 1 hour and a half from Nagasaki Station by JR train or private bus. There is an observation tower where tourists can enjoy a stunning view. There are also several boat tours operating frequently. You would have to take another 1 hour and a half to get there from the Nagasaki CBD, but the breathtaking experience is guaranteed!
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