May 19, 2015


Nagasaki Prefecture(長崎)is located at the northwestern part of Kyushu(九州). It has quite a number of attractions, so at least 3 days is needed to cover it more extensively.

My 1st trip to Nagasaki was in spring, main purpose was to catch the tulips at Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch theme park that is pretty big. It can be reached by JR Seaside Liner from Nagasaki station (75 minutes).

Spent nearly 1 whole day there. Found the place quite strange due to contrast in vibe indoors vs outdoors. Outdoors was tranquil and beautiful because of the tulips, but indoors was spooky as there is an area full of haunted attractions. Though it suits me perfectly as I like both flowers and horror stuff :P

When I was there, there were quite a few One Piece attractions. Also, there was a RPG attraction that friend and I had to queue for an hour. We were part of a team that had to overcome obstacles in the dark and shoot aliens!

The next day, went around the attractions in Nagasaki city via tram. There is Oura Church, the oldest church in Japan, and Glover Garden just beside, an open air museum exhibiting mansions of former Western residents of Nagasaki.

Visited Nagasaki Peace Park and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum nearby. Though the museum at Hiroshima is more comprehensive and has a more neutral stance.

Also visited the Confucian shrine(孔子廟), Fukusaiji(福済寺)in the shape of a tall Kannon on a big turtle, and Chinatown(中華街). Frankly speaking, the Chinatown here is as disappointing as that of Kobe. Small in size, lack of variety and not much activity, unlike Yokohama's that is much bigger and offers cuisines not just from mainland China, but also from Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Personally, feel that the highlight of Nagasaki is its night view from Mount Inasa and Gunkanjima. Mount Inasa's(稲佐山)night view is considered as 1 of the 3 best in Japan. At the World Night View Summit in 2012, it was also recognized as 1 of the 3 best night views in the world. I liked how the view is not blocked and the buildings in Nagasaki are not so tall, so panoramic view can be enjoyed although the place isn't that high.

Went to Nagasaki again for Gunkanjima(軍艦島)more than a year later. Popularity of this attraction has been rising rapidly in recent years. It is a small abandoned island located about 20 km from Nagasaki Port. It's formal name is Hashima(端島), but is more commonly known as Gunkanjima because of its battleship shape.

Gunkanjima used to be a coal mine, but was abandoned in 1974. After all residents left and the island was attacked by typhoon throughout the years, only dilapidated and collapsed buildings were left on the island.

There are about 4 companies offering Gunkanjima tours, and making reservation in advance is recommended. It costs about 3000+ yen per person, takes 3 hours, including close to 1 hour on the island. Sometimes, going onto the island is not possible due to bad weather conditions. The day when I visited, weather was really bad, but we were allowed to go on the island, which was considered lucky because 38 consecutive days before that, no tours were allowed to go up due to typhoon or some maintenance works at the landing area.

Nagasaki is famous for Champon (local ramen with lots of seafood and vegetables), Sara Udon (crispy noodles with gravy), Castella (sponge cakes made of eggs, flour and sugar, brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants). Bunmeido(文明堂)is probably the most famous brand for Castella, but personally like Fukusaya's(福砂屋)better.

There is also Shimabara Peninsula(島原半島)to the east of Nagasaki City, popular for hot spring (Unzen onsen) and hiking, which I have not been to yet.


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