Nagasaki

The harbor city with international influences

Nagasaki is the capital city of the eponym prefecture, located on the Kyushu island in the South of Japan. During the Edo era, it was the only open door on the rest of the world. Today, this city is striking by its cosmopolitan atmosphere, compared to the average typical Japanese city. Nagasaki was also, unfortunately, the second city hurt by a nuclear bomb in 1945.

In the top 5 of big cities in Kyushu, Nagasaki is often forgotten by the tourists who focus their discovery of the island via Shinkansen, from the North (Fukuoka) to the South (Kagoshima). In the West, and stuck in its bay area, Nagasaki lacks visibility. This is quite a shame knowing its rich past history and its openness on the world!

With the benefits of a warm and sunny climate, the city can easily be visited from its high territories down to the ocean. Its various districts, one after another, are witnesses of the main historical periods of Japan.

Between the tramway stations of Urakami, we start with a heavy history, the one of the WWII. The commemorative park as well as the associated museum are located exactly at the hypocenter of the burst of the nuclear bomb on August 9th, 1945.

Easily attainable with a cable car, Mount Inasa offers beautiful views on the city and on the port. Built in a natural bowl-shaped area, Nagasaki embellishes at dusk.

The main train station is right next to the port. In the South-East side, the international zone spreads. Immersed in the migratory flows, tourists discover one by one the Chinese district, the Dutch district (on Dejima island) and the Portuguese area. The architecture is based on western colonialist codes: we can notably visit the oldest Catholic church of Japan, called Oura. The promenade ends in the South with Thomas Blake Glover's famous garden, located up on a hill.

Ultimate zone of the city center to visit, the nearby area of the streams of Nakashima and its cute small bridges crossing it, such as Megane-bashi bridge dating from the 17th century.

Don't expect to rent bikes to visit the city. Just like San Francisco in California, the streets are only ups and downs and Nagasaki should be visited with its numerous old-fashioned tramways, or by walking. Among culinary specialties, we notice the portuguese cake Castella, the regional tender Wagyu beef and the traditional Shippoku cuisine.

The city welcomes several popular happenings throughout the year including the magical lanterns festival in February, as well the famous Kunchi Matsuri is October.

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How to get to Nagasaki

  • By train -- around 2h with the Express JR Kagome from Fukuoka ( around 4.700¥ / ~US$ 42.40 or free with the Japan Rail Pass).
  • By plane -- Nagasaki airport, for the domestic flights (2h from Tokyo or 1h10 from Osaka), is located in the north of the city in Omura bay, at around 45 min away by bus.

Location reachable with the JRP : order your Japan Rail Pass (from ~US$ 265)

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Admission

Tramway :

  • Unique per ride : 120¥ (around 0.90cents) for adults and 60¥ for children
  • 24h ticket : 500¥

How long / when to visit

Think about 2 days minimum for the city and its nearby surroundings

In Japanese

長崎市

Accomodation in Nagasaki

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Connexion internet

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Resources

Nagasaki city’s official website

Prefecture’s official website

Q&A

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Day trips from Nagasaki (Kyushu)