On our recent return to Nagasaki we visited Deijima properly. Get here by taking tram 1 from Nagasaki Station. Entry fee is 500 yen. Deijima is an artificial island and was created to house Dutch foreigners so they could trade with the Japanese but as they were located on this island and unable to leave without permission, they could not influence the locals or convert them to Christianity. Only Dutch men lived here, plus some Japanese guards and servants. The only women allowed to visit were prostitutes.
The island has been restored and it is quite interesting even though it does look rather new. Some buildings house exhibitions about Deijima and other buildings are furnished in the style of Deijima's heyday.
I was interested to read that at one point in history, during the Napoleonic Wars, the Netherlands was invaded by France and Britain was interfering in Dutch colonies overseas such as Batavia, so Deijima was the only place in the world where the Dutch flag was allowed to fly.
The archaeology exhibit showing pottery and glassware and ornate meershaum pipes from Deijma was also interesting.
There was also an exhibition showing some of the scientific knowledge brought to Japan from the west through Deijima at a time when Japan was isolated from the outside world.
The Japanese were surprised by the way the Dutch decorated their homes. While the Japanese used beautiful patterned paper to decorate their partician screens, the Dutch used it to paper their walls and ceilings.
The site houses an old Protestant seminary building, the elaborate residence of the chief factor of Deijima, a pretty garden, many warehouses and a miniature model of Deijima. We spent around 2 hours here. There is also a restaurant and souvenir shops on site. Some attendants in traditional Japanese clothes wander around the site, too.
It is also interesting and photogenic to wander around the outside of the site. Some buildings look better from here as you can see their fronts.
Entry to the museum is 200 yen.
It is of course a very sad museum with very distressing photos from the aftermath of the bombing and from the effects of radiation sickness. Many statues of saints from the bombed out Urakami Cathedral are located in the museum. There are also many objects from the time of the bombing such as coins and bottles which have melted together from the heat of the blast, pieces of wood with the burnt on shadows of people or objects which were next to them at the time of the explosion; clocks with their hands fused together at the time of the blast. There was also a display about the life of Doctor Nagai Takashi who devoted his life to treating the victims of the explosion until he eventually died of Leukemia himself.
There is a rooftop garden with a statue of two flying children. The sculptor made it to commemorate seeing the bodies of two beautiful little girls dressed up in their best kimomos laid out dead after the blast.
Interesting but disturbing.
Peace Park is lined with statues from all over the world all sympathising with what happened here. The most famous statue is called peace statue and depicts a man with one hand raised towards the sky and the other pointing towards the ground. The statue was surrounded by classes of school children who laid flowers, sang songs, read poems and made speeches here.
Peace Park stands on the site of the former Urakami Prison - parts of the prison walls remain. The inmates and staff were killed in the blast. At the opposite end of Peace Park from the statue is Peace Fountain. It is supposed to look like the wings of a dove. Survivors of the initial atomic blast begged for water shortly before they died, as the explosion left them with an unbearable thirst. The fountain is a water offering to the souls of these poor people.
This park was directly under where the nuclear bomb exploded. The exact spot is now marked by a black marble monolith. At the time of the explosion Urakami Cathedral was located here. It took 30 years to build and a couple of minutes to destroy. Part of the cathedral wall with two statues of saints on top has been preserved. Looking at pictures from the time of the explosion quite a bit of the cathedral walls remained, it is a shame they did not keep more, some of the charred statues of saints from the burnt out cathedral are now in Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum or in the grounds of the new Urakami Cathedral.
We came to this park in the busy day time and again in the quieter evening. In the evening there were several Van cats in the park. These are completely white cats with one blue eye and one green eye and come from Turkey. They seemed pretty wild and we could not go too near them.
There are lots of monuments around Hypocentre Park I liked the one on the site of the former tram stop. Four trams were at or around this stop at the time of the explosion. This shrine is a tribute to the staff and passengers who died, Some remains of the tram stop were in the Atomic Bomb Museum.
It is a solemn place built to remember the bombing of this city by the Americans during the war.
Despite the harsh effects of the atomic bomb, the city has risen and through hard work and resilience of the Japanese people has accomplished a lot of amazing achievements, one of which is the establishment of this park.
According to Wikipedia:
Established in 1955, and near to the hypocentre of the explosion, remnants of a concrete wall of Urakami Cathedral can still be seen. Urakami Cathedral was the grandest church in east Asia at the time. At the park's north end is the 10-meter-tall Peace Statue created by sculptor Seibou Kitamura of Nagasaki Prefecture. The statue's right hand points to the threat of nuclear weapons while the extended left hand symbolizes eternal peace. The mild face symbolizes divine grace and the gently closed eyes offer a prayer for the repose of the bomb victims' souls. The folded right leg and extended left leg signify both meditation and the initiative to stand up and rescue the people of the world. Installed in front of the statue is a black marble vault containing the names of the atomic bomb victims and survivors who died in subsequent years.
We got to Mount Inasa Cable Car (or ropeway as the Japanese translate it) by taking a tram to Takara Machi, walking across the bridge then down the first street off to the right. It was about 10 mins walk. You can reach the foot of the cable car via the road or via the steps of a shrine. It cost 1200yen for a return trip. There is a road back if you prefer to walk down. Mount Inasa has just won a competition as one of the world's top three night time views along with Hong Kong and Monaco. We arrived in daylight, watched the sunset and stayed for the night time view. A word of warning we were not prepared for how cold it got up there after sundown. I was like a block of ice. The view was certainly stunning both by day and by night. The ropeway is open from 9am to 10pm daily.
When you reach the top of the ropeway head for the observatory, walk round and round up the inside slope for a 360 degrees view, then exit on to the roof for a 360 degrees outdoor view. The sight has a restaurant, drinks machine and clean toilets.
About 500m away from the Martyrs Shrine there is an odd looking temple called Fukasi-ji. It is shaped like a giant turtle with an 18m figure of the goddess Kannon on its back. On the walk to it from the Martyrs Shrine I passed many temples, shrines and graveyards. There seem to be historic sights everywhere in Nagasaki. I would have explored the hillside more thoroughly if I'd had more time. Nagasaki had so much to see.
This temple was built in 1979 and replaced a temple destroyed in the atomic blast. A bell is rung here at 11:02 am daily in remembrance of the blast.
Oura Cathedral is next to one of the entrances to Glover Gardens. It is a Catholic cathedral which was built in 1864 to serve the growing number of foreign merchants in the area. It is thought to be the oldest Christian church in Japan. It is open from 8am to 6pm and costs 300 yen.
This is within easy walking distance of Glover Gardens and Oura Cathedral or get here by taking tram 5 to Shiminbyoin-mae. We rushed this area as we were in a hurry and soon to run out of light. It is a steep hill with several wooden houses. Most were once the homes of Dutch merchants. If I make a future visit I would look around here at a more leisurely pace. There were some interesting buildings in the nearby area such as the former British consulate and the old customs house.
To get here take tram number 5 to Nigiwabashi stop. Spectacles Bridge is the oldest stone arch bridge in Japan it dates from 1629. Its name comes from the fact that the bridge's two arches and their reflection look like spectacles.
I originally thought a bridge with a reflection sounded kind of daft as a sight, but this whole area is beautiful and well worth seeing as there are many stone bridges, statues and temples around this area. Really beautiful.
Get here by taking the tram to Tsukimachi Station. We visited at night when the streets were all lit up. There were several reasonably priced Chinese restaurants and shops selling Chinese goods. Worth a look and probably prettiest at night when lit up.
You can get here on tram 1 from Nagasaki Station. Entry is 500 yen. Opening hours are from 8am to 6pm. We got here just before closing time and in the dark. There was no point in going in as we were too late so we just walked around the outside of the site.
Deijima was once an island and it was once the only part of Nagasaki where foreigners could stay. It was lived in by Duch traders.
It has been recently restored and looked really interesting as we peered in from outside!! It is definitely on my things to do next time list together with the cable car.
Two streets away from the river where you can find Spectacles Bridge and running parallel to it is a street lined with many temples. The famous ones are Kofukuji Temple and Sofukuji Temple. Both of these are open from 8am to 5pm and charge an entry fee. There are also several free entry temples and little graveyards.
We got here by taking tram 1 in the direction of Shokakujishita from Nagasaki Station then exchanging to tram 5 at Tsuki Machi and getting off at Oura Tenshudoshita. Entry to the gardens costs 600 yen and the money was well worth it. We loved it and ended up spending around 3 hours here getting totally behind on our to-do list. The gardens themselves are beautifully laid out. There are spectacular views over Nagasaki Harbour. There are lots of houses that were once lived in by Nagasaki's foreign merchants and there is a museum of traditional performing arts.
We started off by taking the escalator to the top of the gardens and visiting the former Mitsubishi Dock House - this once provided accomodation for the crews of ships passing through Nagasaki. There was not much to see inside but the views from the balcony over the garden and harbour were lovely.
Strolling down we visited the former residence of the president of Nagasaki's District Court now a photo studio. Next was the house of a British business man Robert Neil Walker who established his Walker & Co Beverage company in Nagasaki in 1898. Next to Walker House is the Fountain of Prayers - a Christian memorial.
Continuing down from Walker House we passed the statues of Puccini who wrote Madame Butterfly and of opera singer Tamaki Miura who played the role of Madame Butterfly.
Next was the home of Frederick Ringer who came to Japan in 1864 and worked in a number of areas including tea trade and electric power generation.
Past Ringer house was the home of William Alt. In my opinion the most beautiful of all the houses. William Alt was prominent in the tea trade.
Nearby was the Steele Memorial School which was built in 1887.
Near the bottom of the hill is Glover House - the oldest western style wooden building in Japan - once home to Thomas Albert Glover. Glover was born in Scotland and came to Japan in 1859. He established the Glover trading company, married a Japanese woman and started the first Japanese beer brewing company, now Kirin beer.
At the very foot of the hill is the Nagasaki Traditional Performing Arts Museum.
I would strongly recommend a visit to these fascinating gardens.
Ryoma (Sakamoto Ryôma Naonari) was a master swordsman when Admiral Commodore Perry came back to Japan to force its 'opening' with a fleet of warships.
In 1853, he witnessed the power of the U.S. Navy “black ships” under Commodore Matthew Perry and developed a zeal for expelling the foreigners. It's ironic that now that his home is a tourist attraction for Japanese and foreigners alike.
He fought on the side of the emperor hoping to expell the foreign influences from Japan... but things didn't go his way.
He was assassinated on his birthday at age 31.
Many movies have been made about him in Japan. He's kind of a folk hero today.