On this day, we headed to Nagasaki Prefecture, where one of the atomic bombs were dropped during World War II. Nagasaki has numerous places that you can visit – from various natural landscapes to cultural attractions. If you ever find yourself in Nagasaki, these are places that you really must go and see.
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum (長崎原爆資料館)
In this museum, you will find relics, as well as how the area looked like before and after the dropping of the atomic bomb.
The first room showcases many relics such as a school’s lime staircase broken into two, a water tank that’s bent just like paper, and part of an iron bridge that broke off – all proof of the huge, destructive power that the dropped atomic bomb had. People who were within the radius of 1,050 meters from where the bomb was dropped, 500 meters above the area, would have experienced heat around 3000-4000°C, and that would have certainly gotten them 100% killed. The area of destruction was within the 15km radius from the hypocenter.
The next room shows a simulation of the state of Nagasaki City before the bomb was dropped, and a life-sized imitation or model of the atomic bomb, called “Fatman,” can also be seen. The last room is an exhibit that shows key figures involved in the atomic bomb incident, such as politicians and scientists. There are pictures of the Second World War in the room, too.
An arrangement of 1000 hanging origami (folded paper) cranes symbolizes hope for peace and the will to live.
Admission Fee: 200 yen
Nagasaki Peace Park (平和公園)
The Peace Park was built as a symbol of world peace, and as an oath to never go into a disastrous war ever again. This park stands right at the hypocenter of the atomic bombing. The statue, situated right in the middle of the park, has its right hand pointing up to the sky – it represents the threat of the atomic bomb that blew up 500 meters above the ground. The statue’s left hand represents the hope for eternal peace. People come to the statue and place flower bouquets to mourn and pray for the lost lives during World War II. Every year, on August 9th, citizens of Nagasaki gather at this place to commemorate the event, mourn the dead, and to pray for eternal, lasting peace.
Admission Fee: Free
Dejima is a fan-shaped artificial island that spans 500 meters. It was Japan’s only window to foreign trade during the 17th century, as it was the only place open to foreigners. The Dutch settlers here reproduced 17th century Dutch houses on this island. Before, Dejima used to be surrounded by the waters of Nagasaki Bay; these days, the island has been annexed into the city and is now surrounded by buildings and establishments. In Dejima, you might want to try and experience wearing traditional Japanese clothing – there is a kimono rental service where you can try a kimono on, and walk around the area and blend into the scenery of the olden, traditional times.
Admission: 500 yen
Kimono Rental Fee: 2,000 yen per hour
Gunkanjima Digital Museum (軍艦島デジタルミュージアム)
The Gunkanjima Digital Museum, I think, is a great combination of knowledge and art. It tells of the story of the island, from when the residents of the island worked and mined coal, until it became an uninhabited island. This museum presents the island’s beginnings and story using a projector, displaying the island in virtual reality and 3D. The island was named Gunkanjima – warship island – because the island’s shape and appearance looked like a warship.
In the past, Mitsubishi opened a coal mine on the island but when the coal mining industry took a turn for the worse, they have stopped operations on the island and ultimately closed down the coal mine. Until now, the buildings, equipment and ruins of the island remains, just as it had been before it became uninhabited. Of course, going on a tour to the real island would be great, but in my opinion if you do not have the time to go there, dropping by this museum is just as good.
Admission Fee: 1,800 yen
Glover Garden (グロバー園)
Glover Garden is Japan’s oldest Western-style house and garden, is made of wood, and was built on top of a hill, with a great overlooking view of the sea below it. A Scottish merchant, Thomas Glover, lived in this house – a man who played a major role in the modernization of numerous industries in Japan, such as shipbuilding and constructing railways.
You can see a nice view of the Nagasaki Bay from the top floor of Glover Garden. Try to find the two heart-shaped stones in the stone path as you climb down from the house on the hill.
Admission Fee: 600 yen
Unzen Onsen (雲仙温泉)
This is an onsen in an area of an active volcano. It is located right on top of a mountain, 700 meters above sea level. You will find a path that leads you to the jigoku, or hell. On this path, white smoke, heat and hot water, all making the area hot up to around 100°C, will spout and surround you as you walk along.
Local Gourmet Toruko Rice (トルコライス)
Toruko (Turkish) rice, a local delicacy, is a plate that combines 3 dishes – yellow rice from India, tonkatsu (pork cutlets), and pasta. Just as how Turkey bridged Europe and Asia, Nagasaki was the port city bridging Japan and Europe – and thus, the name Turkish rice was coined.
Castella is a sponge cake that was brought to Japan by Portugese merchants, and is nowadays considered a specialty of Nagasaki.