According to cachedhealth.com, Japanese society has always been conservative and somewhat closed. But there was one city on the closed islands, in which foreigners from time immemorial were welcomed cordially. We are talking about the port and commercial Nagasaki. For a long time of its existence, whoever has not been here – the Chinese, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British and many other peoples from all over the world. And each of them left their mark here. Surprisingly, many of these monuments survived despite the tragedy of 1945. Today, Nagasaki is a city characterized by a mixture of Asian and European cultures, and therefore completely unique for Japan.
How to get to Nagasaki
There are no direct flights from Moscow to Nagasaki. There are two ways to get there – with a change in Shanghai (more than a day on the way) or with a change in Tokyo (in this case, the journey will take about 20 hours). The domestic flight from the Japanese capital to Nagasaki takes 1 hour and 50 minutes, but the connection time varies greatly from airline to airline. From Nagasaki Airport to the city center can be reached by bus in 45 minutes, the fare is 900 JPY, for children 450 JPY (you can check ticket prices on the airport website in English).
Alternatively, you can fly to Tokyo first, and from there take a train to Nagasaki. The journey takes 7 hours on the direct Nozomi train (fare 23,000 – 30,000 JPY) or a little longer if with a transfer in Fukuoka (this option can be much cheaper, since trains on this line are included in the tourist-friendly travel pass Japan Railways JR Pass).
Already several centuries ago, Nagasaki was known as an important trading point. There was a brisk trade with neighboring China. By the way, traces of Chinese influence have remained to this day. The Chinese actively fought for control of the city with the Europeans who arrived here, mainly the Portuguese and Dutch. The hardest hit were the Catholics from Portugal, who were subjected to murders and executions, but did not curtail their missionary activities no matter what. The Japanese had a simpler relationship with the Dutch Protestants. Representatives of the Lower Lands were even allocated a small colony, where the ubiquitous British later came.
The most famous and tragic event in the history of the city is the terrible atomic bombing that hit the city on August 9, 1945. However, due to the special geographical position, the destruction here was less than in Hiroshima. Today, numerous museums and memorials remind of those terrible events. On the whole, Nagasaki is a modern and dynamically developing city, reverently preserving traditions in Japanese and observing the customs of their ancestors.
Entertainment and attractions
The city has a huge number of attractions and noteworthy objects, but it is best to start the tour from the area adjacent to the port. An interesting entertainment will be a walk on a small boat along the city bay, its duration is about 50 minutes. During this time, you can see the gigantic Mitsubishi shipyard, which houses huge tankers, and the Dejima dam, which connected the former Dutch settlement on the island of the same name with the mainland.
By the way, there is a very interesting Historical Museum in Dejima, which tells about the stay of the Dutch on the island (website with an English version). Directly opposite the museum, a small village founded by settlers in 1609 was recreated with Japanese care.
In Nagasaki, original monuments of that era have also been preserved. In order to see them, you need to climb the Hollander Slope street, on which there are absolutely European red-brick houses with chimneys. The presence of the British is immortalized in Glover Gardens, which bears this name in honor of a famous British merchant. The mansions of English merchants are located here, the architecture of which combines elements typical of the good old Victorian England with Japanese and Asian motifs.
Another monument has a very sad story. Near the main railway station there is a monument dedicated to the Christian martyrs killed during the persecution of Catholicism. The Museum of the 26 Martyrs with unique exhibits is also located here (website with an English version).
In addition, Nagasaki is famous for its Buddhist temples, which were built here by monks from China. One of the monuments of that era is the Kofukuji temple, built in 1620 in a style typical of southern China. Another Buddhist sanctuary, unique in its historical value, is Sofukuji (1629). The architectural style of the temple reflects the trends that existed in Chinese architecture of that period. In addition, a very beautiful suspension bridge is located very close by, connecting the two banks of the Nikajima River. Nearby is the Museum of Nagasaki History, after reading the exposition of which, you can imagine a more detailed history of the city.
Nagasaki is known to a wide range of people because of the tragic events of 1945, when a nuclear bomb was dropped on the city. In memory of those terrible days, the Peace Park was created in the city, and the Atomic Bomb Museum was opened (website with the English version). Be careful: visiting it leaves a very strong impression and far from positive emotions.