Nagasaki Travel Guide
Nestled in the bosom of lush green rolling hills, the picturesque city of Nagasaki is full of charm, wonders, history and hope. Famous for being the target of the second atomic bomb the Americans dropped in the country (the other being Hiroshima), Nagasaki has transformed itself from a heap of burning rubble to a vibrant cosmopolitan city full of delights.
To ensure that you get the most out of your trip here you should consult your city guide to Nagasaki. A bustling harbour city, visitors are amazed at the wonderful international feel of the city and pleased at the many things to do here. There are no shortages of cultural attractions in Nagasaki and the long history makes it utterly charming and fascinating.
Heiwa-koen, better known in English as Peace Park, is the first port of call in your guidebooks. Climb up the long set of stairs and you will yourself in a popular park where everyone comes to enjoy themselves. The Peace Statue was created to honour the memory of those who died in the attack and you will discover many more memorials and plaques.
The city was one of the few places that opened itself up to foreigners and as such, Christianity was popular in Nagasaki. Urakami Cathedral, also known as Urakami Daiseido, is a lovely church built for the Christian followers and can be viewed from Peace Park itself. Made from red brick, the cathedral was finally finished in 1925 but then reduced to ruins in the 1945 attacks. When the bomb was dropped, many statues were destroyed or were left with scorch marks which can be seen today. The most famous is the Bombed Mary statue, housed inside her own chapel, who looks at you with blind eyes.
The Zen temple of Fukusai-ji is another popular tourist attraction. Constructed in 1628 it was sadly destroyed in 1945 along with many other buildings. It was reconstructed but sadly lacks the beauty of its original. A 25 meter long pendulum was installed in the temple to honour the memory of the 16,500 Japanese people who died in the war and are buried underneath.
One Zen temple that managed to escape the bombing was the stunning Shofuku-ji. It was constructed during the early part of the 17th century and then reconstructed in 1715. Inside you will feel all the cares of the outside world slip away as you feast your eyes on the charming wooden halls shaded by fragrant blooming trees and bamboo. But it is the intricate artwork on main hall and the gates which will really amaze the senses here.
The Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture (Nagasaki Rekishi Bunka Hakubutsukan) is a fantastic place to visit to explore the city’s history and culture. Use the free audio guide to discover interesting displays of artefacts and models which illustrates the culture contact and exchange between the Japanese and the foreigners in the 17th century. Some of the most interesting artefacts in the museum include a folding screen illustrated with scenes of Dutch and British ships in the city’s harbour, and a replica of the Nagasaki Magistrate’s office. You will also find a room solely dedicated to crafts made from local people with western characteristics.
Restaurants in Nagasaki feature all kinds of regional, national and international fare. However, if visiting the city you should really try some of the local dishes which include champon and saraudon. Champon is a dish made of noodles, pork soup, vegetables, bacon, shrimp and scallopes, and saraudon consists of the meat, vegetables and seafood found in champon but served with crispy dry fried noodles. Either way, your tastebuds will be taken on a journey to heaven with each bite.
You will discover a variety of hotels in Nagasaki, all ranging in size, comforts and rates. Many of the business hotels and inexpensive options can be found near the train station with various luxury hotels scattered throughout the city.
Nagasaki is a city where charm and appeal just ooze from every corner. Full of history, culture, shopping opportunities, restaurants and parks, Nagasaki is a wondrous place to visit. When you arrive here, you may not want to leave.