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Nagasaki

Many peninsulas, 971 islands and exotic streets
Nagasaki Prefecture lies in the northwestern part of Kyushu, and consists of five peninsulas and many islands. With the sea in between, it stands face-to-face with a continent, part of which is China, and the Korean Peninsula. It has therefore long been an important transportation point facing the continent. Since the 17th century, ports for trade with Portugal and Holland were established. In addition, since it was once the center of Christianity propagation, there are many exotic, historical ruins and buildings left within the prefecture.

Almost half of the prefectural land area is occupied by 971 inhabited and uninhabited islands, and it has scenic spots such as Kujuku-shima Islands of the Saikai National Park, and the main peak Fugen-dake of the volcano Unzen-dake is situated right in the center of the Shimabara-hanto Peninsula. Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park established and named in association with Holland, is also known as a popular tourist spot.

Nagasaki City, which is the heart of Nagasaki-hanto Peninsula, is a port city that developed itself even up along the steep slope of a mountain, while it also stretched horizontally to hug the Nagasaki Gulf. The line of visitors attracted to its many tourist spots never ends. The spots include the Peace Park which tells of facts and memories of horrible damage that was brought about by the atomic bomb and continues to appeal to the world its wish for peace, and the Christian church, O-ura Tenshudo, which, to date, exudes an exotic atmosphere.

Getting there
An hour 50 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Nagasaki Airport. An hour 10 minutes from Kansai International Airport. Seven hours from Tokyo Station via Hakata Station (by the JR Shinkansen Line) to Nagasaki (by the JR Line Limited Express). Four hours 25 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station via Hakata Station (by the JR Shinkansen Line) to Nagasaki (by JR Line Limited Express).
 

  • Urakami
    The stronghold of believers who continued to believe in a banned faith - The center of Nagasaki over which an atomic bomb was exploded
    Urakami is located in the north of Nagasaki City. At the beginning of the 17th century, Christianity was introduced here and from here missionary work spread. There were many believers, but in the Edo Period, between the 17th and 19th centuries, the religion was banned. In this period, Urakami was the stronghold for oppressed believers, who strongly adhered to their religion secretly. Urakami is in the center of the place over which the atomic bomb exploded, following the one Hiroshima suffered during the Second World War.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, a French missionary, in cooperation with those believers who had withstood all the religious oppression, bought a mansion here, and built a church, Urakami Tenshudo. It was burnt down by the atomic bomb, but later was reconstructed. The damaged angel statue in front of the church eloquently speaks of the tragic effects of the bomb. You can learn a lot about the atomic bomb in Nagasaki at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, as well as at the Peace Park and the A-bomb Fall Spot Monument. The Peace Park contains the Peace Fountain and the Statue of Peace, which feature monuments symbolizing peace presented by foreign countries.

    Getting there
    Nagasaki Airport is 1 hour 55 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour 20 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Then take a bus from Nagasaki Airport to Nagasaki Station, which takes 1 hour. Urakami Station is 3 minutes from Nagasaki Station by the JR Nagasaki Honsen Line. Take a streetcar from Nagasaki Station to Urakami-Tenshudo, which takes 15 minutes.

     

  • Yamate
    The slope stretching with stone pavements - Western-style houses and Ko-shi-byo, filled with an exotic atmosphere
    Yamate is a district, which faces the north and northeast of Nagasaki Port, and is divided mainly into two parts, Higashi-Yamate and Minami-Yamate.

    Higashi-Yamate became a settlement of foreigners at the end of the 19th century, and consulates from each country were set up. The slope stretching with stone pavements between the houses let to foreigners in the old days and Higashi-Yamate Western-style housing complexes in those days is called Dutch Slope. Several Western-style houses along the slope are open to the public. Higashi-Yamate Jusanban-kan Mansion on Dutch Slope used to be a French consulate, and is now a coffee shop.  Ko-shi-byo (Confucius Shrine) was constructed by Chinese, in cooperation with the Chinese government, at the end of the 19th century. It is known as the only Ko-shi-byo that Chinese have constructed overseas.

    Minami-Yamate used to be another settlement of foreigners. It is in this area that O-ura Tenshudo Church stands, and is designated a National Treasure as the oldest Tenshudo in Japan. There are some monuments in this area, such as Glover House, which is designated an Important Cultural Property as the oldest Western-style building in Japan; Glover-en Garden, where the reconstructed nine Western-style buildings including Glover House are located; and Minami-Yamate Jurokuban-kan Mansion, a wooden Western-style building built for the housing of the first consuls from the US, remaining today as Kanko-Shiryokan, a historical museum.

    Getting there
    Nagasaki Airport is 1 hour 55 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 20 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Then take a bus from Nagasaki Airport to Nagasaki Station, which takes 1 hour. Take streetcars from Nagasaki-ekimae, changing streetcars at Tsuki-machi on the way, to O-ura-Tenshudo-shita, which takes 12 minutes.

     

  • De-jima and Shinchi
    Trading spot during Sakoku, or the Isolation period, from the 17th to the 19th century An island with a 400-year history of trade with Holland
    De-jima is an artificial island in the shape of a fan, whose surface was about 13,000 square meters, and built in the 17th century on the southern side of the city of Nagasaki. It used to be the residential quarter of the Dutch, the only foreigners allowed to trade in Japan during Sakoku, or the Isolation period. The East India Company Factory operated in De-jima and served as the only window to the world for 200 years until Japan re-opened the country in the 19th century.

    The first Protestant Seminary, built in the 19th century, was renovated in 1998 as Nagasaki De-jima Shiryo-kan Hall or De-jima Museum of History. Historical documents on De-jima are collected there, as information on trade with Portugal, England and Holland. The life at the Dutch Trading House is also reproduced and the culture of De-jima during the Isolation Period is shown in models and graphics. At the site of De-jima Oranda-shokan, or the Former Dutch Factory, De-jima is reproduced on a scale of 1/15 to show what it was like before it was reclaimed in 1904.

    In the southeast of De-jima, Shiryo-kan, four gates on four directions, Seiryu-mon, Byakko-mon, Suzaku-mon and Genbu-mon, stand as the entrance gates to Shinchi-Chinatown. There are many Chinese restaurants and stores selling Chinese goods along the street.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 55 minutes to Nagasaki Airport. From Osaka Itami Airport, 1 hour 20 minutes. From Nagasaki Airport, 1 hour by bus to Nagasaki Station. Five minutes by streetcar from Nagasaki Station to De-jima Streetcar Stop.

     

  • Mt. Inasa-yama
    Overlooking the city and harbor of Nagasaki - Unbeatable panoramic view
    Mt. Inasa-yama, 332 meters above sea level, is in the northwestern part of the city and is known as the best viewing point in the city. The round observation station on the top of the hill provides not only a panoramic view of the beautiful harbor, sometimes called "the port of cranes" because of its beauty, and the city extending up toward the north, but also further visibility to Unzen, Amakusa, or even to Goto Islands on a clear day. At twilight, the city lights blink on one after another, while the sky becomes radiant with the colors of sunset. You should not miss this moment. The night scene is worth the price of 10 million dollars (it used to be a million dollars) these days, but you can certainly enjoy dining at the observation station or one of those cozy hotel restaurants at reasonable prices.

    Halfway up the mountain, there are many conveniently located hotels and ryokan-inns, and you can even enjoy the first officially permitted hot springs in Nagasaki.

    The mountain is also popular among the people of Nagasaki for its cherry blossoms and some 80,000 azalea plants. On a spring day every year, an azalea festival is held at the open-sky stage in the Inasa-yama Park and there is a hata kite flying competition. Every year, the festival is crowded with many visitors.

    Getting there
    An hour 55 minutes flight from Tokyo Haneda Airport or 1 hour 20 minutes flight from Osaka Itami Airport to Fukuoka Airport, then a 1-hour bus ride from Nagasaki Airport to Nagasaki Station. It is an eight-minute bus ride from Nagasaki Station to the Ropeway Station.

     

  • Tera-machi
    Historical Chinese temples, Red-painted San-mon Gate stands out
    Many old temples are found on Tera-machi-dori Street that runs parallel to Naka-dori Street in the city of Nagasaki. One of the three big temples of Nagasaki is Kofuku-ji Temple, the oldest Chinese-style temple, erected in the 17th century. Its majestic and exotic red-painted San-mon Gate stands out even among the big Chinese-style temples of Tera-machi-dori Street.

    Another representative temple in the Chinese style is Sofuku-ji Temple. Splendid Chinese urabon-e (a kind of Buddhist event) is held every summer in this temple and Chinese from all over Japan come to participate in the event.

    Suwa-jinja Shrine, famous for the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival, held every October, is located on the side of Mt. Tamazono-san. In the precinct of the shrine, dance offerings such as Kasahoko, Kujira-no-shiofuki, Hon-odori and Ryu-odori are dedicated by individual towns to be later danced in different places throughout the city. Nagasaki Kunchi is a magnificent festival and is one of the three big festivals of Nagasaki that many visitors, including some from outside the prefecture, come to enjoy.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 55 minutes to Nagasaki Airport. From Osaka Itami Airport, 1 hour 20 minutes. From Nagasaki Airport, 1 hour by bus to Nagasaki Station. To Kofuku-ji Temple, take a streetcar from Nagasaki-eki-mae Station to Kokaido-mae Station, 5 minutes. To Suwa-jinja Shrine, take a streetcar from Nagasaki-eki-mae Station to Suwa-jinja Station, 10 minutes.

     

  • Hirado
    Point of contact with Holland and Portugal in the 17th century - Land of William Adams and St. Francis Xavier
    The city of Hirado is located on Hirado Island in the northwestern part of Nagasaki. It has prospered as the castle town of Kameoka Castle since 1607, when the Matsura family built the castle on the eastern end of Hirado Island. An excellent port enabled the town to become the central stage for trade with China, Holland and Portugal from the 17th century. At the site of the Hirado Dutch Trading House, stone walls called Oranda-bei, or the Dutch Wall, which are 2 meters high and 30 meters long, and the Dutch Well, built in the early 17th century, still remain today.

    Sakikata-koen Park commands a superb view of Hirado Port and is a famous spot for Hirado tsutsuji, or azaleas. The tombs of William Adams, who contributed to foreign trade in Hirado (going by the Japanese name of Miura Anjin), and his wife are in the park. There is also the monument of St. Francis Xavier, the first man to introduce Christianity into Japan. Hirado Haiya-fujin-matsuri Festival is held in summer. The participants form dancing groups called ren and dance along the streets of Hirado. This dance is called Tasuke-haiya-no-so-odori. Visitors are welcome to join in.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 55 minutes to Nagasaki Airport. From Osaka Itami Airport, 1 hour 20 minutes. From Nagasaki Airport, 1 hour 20 minutes by bus to Sasebo Station. From Sasebo Station, 1 hour 25 minutes by bus to Hirado San-bashi Pier.

     

  • Kuju-ku-shima Islands
    One hundred seventy islands, large and small - Complicated topography of the saw-toothed coastline
    The islands that are scattered on the western side of the Kita-Matsu-ura-hanto Peninsula in Western Nagasaki are called the Kuju-ku-shima Islands (Ninety-nine Islands). One hundred seventy islands, large and small, dot the 25-kilometer indented saw-toothed coastline stretching from Sasebo to Hirado creating a natural beauty. This is the representative scenery of Saikai National Park.

    Most of the islands of Kuju-ku-shima Islands are uninhabited. Nature untouched by human hands is still abundant. Intricate topography, gentle waves in the inlets, the sun setting into the sea, and the beauty of nature are there to be enjoyed. Southern Kuju-ku-shima Island, near Sasebo, shows feminine gracious scenery, but in the northern part, near Hirado, the view is more masculine and dramatic.

    Sightseeing boat tours start from Kashi-sambashi Pier in Sasebo for a 50 minutes tour around the islands. Visitors can enjoy the attractive contrast of beautiful green islands and blue water from the sea. In the vicinity of Sasebo is Mt. Eboshi-dake, often referred to as Sasebo Fuji. On a clear day, visitors will be able to see not only Kuju-ku-shima Island, but also Mt. Unzen-dake in the distance. It is a most magnificent panorama.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 55 minutes to Nagasaki Airport. From Osaka Itami Airport, 1 hour 20 minutes. From Nagasaki Airport, 1 hour 20 minutes by bus to Sasebo Station. For Kuju-ku-shima Island, take a bus for Kashi-mae Kankosen-sanbashi from Sasebo Station, 25 minutes.

     

  • Omura Bay
    Inlets and islands are dotted along the coastline - The theme park is a reproduction of 17th century Dutch scenes
    Omura Bay is located in the central part of Nagasaki. Nagasaki Airport stretches out towards the sea and is the skyway gate to Nagasaki. The bay and its coasts present a beautiful contrast of intricate inlets and green-covered islands in the blue sea. The whole bay area is designated as the Omura-Prefectural Nature Park.

    Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park reproducing parts of 17th century Holland, is in the northern part of the bay. Dutch scenes, buildings and canals are reproduced in the park as well as an amusement park, museums, restaurants and hotels. Visitors can tour around the park by rental cycle or canal cruiser. Nagasaki Bio-Park is in the south. It is a hands-on nature and animal park with an area of 300,000 square meters where children can meet 170 kinds of animals.A sightseeing boat cruise around Omura Bay is available.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 55 minutes to Nagasaki airport. From Osaka Itami Airport, 1 hour 20 minutes. From Nagasaki Airport to Huis Ten Bosch, 50 minutes by Nagasaki Jidosha bus. By ferry, 50 minutes to Huis Ten Bosch.

     

  • Unzen and Shimabara
    Cool weather in summer makes this place a popular summer resort - Fumes burst out from the ground at Unzen-onsen Hot Springs
    Unzen is the name of the region in the center of the Shimabara-hanto Peninsula which belongs to the volcanic region of Mt. Unzen-dake. Its principal peak is Mt. Fugen-dake and the area is part of Unzen-Amakusa National Park. In 1990, Mt. Fugen-dake erupted after 198 years of silence and the lava dome of Mt. Heisei-shinzan was formed. The dramatic shape of the new mountain may be seen from observation points at Nita-toge Pass and from Mt. Myoken-dake.

    Unzen-onsen Hot Spring is on the southwest side of Mt. Unzen-dake, at 700 to 800 meters above sea level. The hot spring is divided into three sections: Koyu, Shin-yu and Sho-jigoku, and is a popular summer resort because of the cool weather in summer. Sulfuric gas colors the ground red and yellow where fumes have burst out, and more than thirty hot springs are scattered in the deserted landscape of Unzen.

    Shimabara City faces Shimabara Bay on the east coast of the Shimabara-hanto Peninsula. It prospered as the town around Shimabara Castle, built in the 17th century, and old temples and the sites of lower-class samurai houses used until the 19th century, still remain today. Missionaries were active in Shimabara in the early 17th century, and many locals became Christians. However, the administrator of that time banned Christianity and Shimabara was known for its harsh oppression of Christians.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 55 minutes to Nagasaki Airport. From Osaka Itami Airport, 1 hour 20 minutes. From Nagasaki Airport, 15 minutes by bus to JR Omura Station. From Omura Station, 12 minutes by the JR Omura Line to Isahaya Station. From Isahaya Station, 1 hour 12 minutes by bus to Unzen-koen. From Shimabara Station to Isahaya Station, 40 minutes by the Shimabara Tetsudo Line.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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