A vibrant and thriving port city.
Despite its recent tragic history, Nagasaki has grown to become one of Kyushu’s most attractive cities. Portuguese and Dutch influences can be felt throughout the city’s cosmopolitan streets, which stretch all the way from Nagasaki bay up the slopes of the surrounding mountains.
Trams connect most parts of the city, making it easier to navigate all those hills for sightseeing in the day, and there’s plenty to keep you occupied in and around the bawdy entertainment district of Shianbashi at night.
A visit to Nagasaki should include a trip to the Nagasaki Peace Park which commemorates the atomic bombing during WWII.
Impressions of Japan: Nagasaki
After, you can take the bus or tram up to Mount Inasa for a 360° view of Nagasaki, known as one of the best night views in Japan, to see how far the city has come.
The city is famous for having a number of important Christian sites, closely linked to the founding and development of Christianity in Japan. Oura cathedral is one of Japan’s oldest surviving churches, while Urakami cathedral was once the largest church in Asia.
Located near the Dutch slopes, the former residential area of Nagasaki’s western traders, the Confucius Shrine (Koshi-byo) is one of the few shrines dedicated to Confucius outside of China that was built by Chinese people. Pay a visit to the Museum of Chinese History behind the shrine, which features items on loan from the Chinese National Museum in Beijing.
Gunkanjima (Hashima Island) is an abandoned island about 20km away from Nagasaki port. As part of a coal mining operation, the small island was bought by Mitsubishi and became home to more than 5000 residents (making it at one time the most densely populated place in the world.) When the mine shut down in 1974, the island was quickly abandoned and declared inaccessible to the public. Tours of the island started again in 2009, where you can witness the dilapidated hospitals, deserted school classrooms and rotting staircases – an eerie setting that inspired the villain’s lair in 2012 Bond film Skyfall.