Nagasaki is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. It became a centre of Portuguese and Dutch influence in the 16th through 19th centuries, and the Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki have been proposed for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Info Nagasaki


Nagasaki is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. It became a centre of Portuguese and Dutch influence in the 16th through 19th centuries, and the Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki have been proposed for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Part of Nagasaki was home to a major Imperial Japanese Navy base during the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War. Its name means "long cape".

During World War II, the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made Nagasaki the second and, to date, last city in the world to experience a nuclear attack.

As of 1 January 2009, the city has an estimated population of 446,007 and a population density of 1,100 persons per km². The total area is 406.35 km²


Medieval and early modern history

A small fishing village secluded by harbours, Nagasaki had little historical significance until contact with Portuguese explorers in 1543. An early visitor was Fernão Mendes Pinto, who came on a Portuguese ship which landed nearby inTanegashima.

Soon after, Portuguese ships started sailing to Japan as regular trade freighters, thus increasing the contact and trade relations between Japan and the rest of the world, and particularly with mainland China, with whom Japan had previously severed its commercial and political ties, mainly due to a number of incidents involving Wokou piracy in the South China Sea, with the Portuguese now serving as intermediaries between the two Asian countries. Despite the mutual advantages derived from these trading contacts, which would soon be acknowledged by all parties involved, the lack of a proper seaport in Kyūshū for the purpose of harboring foreign ships posed a major problem for both merchants and the Kyushu daimyo(feudal lords) who expected to collect great advantages from the trade with the Portuguese.

In the meantime, Navarrese Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier arrived in Kagoshima, South Kyūshū, in 1549, and soon initiated a thorough campaign of evangelization throughout Japan, but left for China in 1551 and died soon afterwards. His followers who remained behind converted a number of daimyo. The most notable among them was Ōmura Sumitada. In 1569, Ōmura granted a permit for the establishment of a port with the purpose of harboring Portuguese ships in Nagasaki, which was finally set up in 1571, under the supervision of the Jesuit missionary Gaspar Vilelaand Portuguese Captain-Major Tristão Vaz de Veiga, with Ōmura's personal assistance.

The little harbor village quickly grew into a diverse port city , and Portuguese products imported through Nagasaki (such as tobacco,bread, textiles and a Portuguese sponge-cake called castellas) were assimilated into popular Japanese culture. Tempura derived from a popular Portuguese recipe originally known as peixinho-da-horta, and takes its name from the Portuguese word, 'tempero' another example of the enduring effects of this cultural exchange. The Portuguese also brought with them many goods from China.

Due to the instability during the Sengoku period, Sumitada and Jesuit leader Alexandro Valignano conceived a plan to pass administrative control over to the Society of Jesus rather than see the Catholic city taken over by a non-Catholic daimyo. Thus, for a brief period after 1580, the city of Nagasaki was a Jesuit colony, under their administrative and military control. It became a refuge for Christians escaping maltreatment in other regions of Japan.  In 1587, however,Toyotomi Hideyoshi's campaign to unify the country arrived in Kyūshū. Concerned with the large Christian influence in southern Japan, as well as the active and what was perceived as the arrogant role the Jesuits were playing in the Japanese political arena, Hideyoshi ordered the expulsion of all missionaries, and placed the city under his direct control. However, the expulsion order went largely unenforced, and the fact remained that most of Nagasaki's population remained openly practicing Catholic.

In 1596, the Spanish ship San Felipe was wrecked off the coast of Shikoku, and Hideyoshi learned from its pilot  that the SpanishFranciscans were the vanguard of an Iberian invasion of Japan. In response, Hideyoshi ordered the crucifixions of twenty-six Catholics in Nagasaki on February 5 of that year (i.e. the "Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan"). Portuguese traders were not ostracized, however, and so the city continued to thrive.

In 1602, Augustinian missionaries also arrived in Japan, and when Tokugawa Ieyasu took power in 1603, Catholicism was still tolerated. Many Catholic daimyo had been critical allies at the Battle of Sekigahara, and the Tokugawa position was not strong enough to move against them. Once Osaka Castle had been taken and Toyotomi Hideyoshi's offspring killed, though, the Tokugawa dominance was assured. In addition, the Dutch and English presence allowed trade without religious strings attached. Thus, in 1614, Catholicism was officially banned and all missionaries ordered to leave. Most Catholic daimyo apostatized, and forced their subjects to do so, although a few would not renounce the religion and left the country for Macau, Luzon and Japantowns in Southeast Asia. A brutal campaign of persecution followed, with thousands of converts across Kyūshū and other parts of Japan killed, tortured, or forced to renounce their religion .

Catholicism's last gasp as an open religion, and the last major military action in Japan until the Meiji Restoration, was the Shimabara Rebellion of 1637. While there is no evidence that Europeans directly incited the rebellion, Shimabara Domain had been a Christian han for several decades, and the rebels adopted many Portuguese motifs and Christian icons. Consequently, in Tokugawa society the word "Shimabara" solidified the connection between Christianity and disloyalty, constantly used again and again in Tokugawa propaganda.

The Shimabara Rebellion also convinced many policy-makers that foreign influences were more trouble than they were worth, leading to the national isolation policy. The Portuguese, who had been previously living on a specially constructed island-prison in Nagasaki harbour called Dejima, were expelled from the archipelago altogether, and the Dutch were moved from their base at Hirado into the trading island. In 1720 the ban on Dutch books was lifted, causing hundreds of scholars to flood into Nagasaki to study European science and art. Consequently, Nagasaki became a major center of rangaku, or "Dutch Learning". During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate governed the city, appointing a hatamoto, the Nagasaki bugyō, as its chief administrator.

Consensus among historians was once that Nagasaki was Japan's only window on the world during its time as a closed country in the Tokugawa era. However, nowadays it is generally accepted that this was not the case, since Japan interacted and traded with the Ryūkyū Kingdom, Korea and Russia through Satsuma, Tsushima and Matsumae respectively. Nevertheless, Nagasaki was depicted in contemporary art and literature as a cosmopolitan port brimming with exotic curiosities from the Western World.

In 1808, during the Napoleonic Wars the Royal Navy frigate HMSPhaeton entered Nagasaki Harbor in search of Dutch trading ships. The local magistrate was unable to resist the British demand for food, fuel, and water, later committing seppuku as a result. Laws were passed in the wake of this incident strengthening coastal defenses, threatening death to intruding foreigners, and prompting the training of English and Russian translators.

The Tōjinyashiki (唐人屋敷) or Chinese Factory in Nagasaki was also an important conduit for Chinese goods and information for the Japanese market. Various colourful Chinese merchants and artists sailed between the Chinese mainland and Nagasaki. Some actually combined the roles of merchant and artist such as 18th century Yi Hai. It is believed that as much as one-third of the population of Nagasaki at this time may have been Chinese.

Modern history

With the Meiji Restoration, Japan opened its doors once again to foreign trade and diplomatic relations. Nagasaki became a free port in 1859 and modernization began in earnest in 1868. Nagasaki was officially proclaimed a city on April 1, 1889. With Christianity legalized and the Kakure Kirishitan coming out of hiding, Nagasaki regained its earlier role as a center for Roman Catholicism in Japan.

During the Meiji period, Nagasaki became a center of heavy industry. Its main industry was ship-building, with the dockyards under control of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries becoming one of the prime contractors for the Imperial Japanese Navy, and with Nagasaki harbor used as an anchorage under the control of nearby Sasebo Naval District. During World War II, at the time of the nuclear attack on August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was an important industrial city, containing both plants of the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, the Akunoura Engine Works, Mitsubishi Arms Plant, Mitsubishi Electric Shipyards, Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works, several other small factories, and most of the ports storage and trans-shipment facilities, which employed about 90% of the city's labor force, and accounted for 90% of the city's industry. These connections with the Japanese war effort made Nagasaki a major target for bombing by the Allies during the war.

Atomic bombing of Nagasaki during World War II by US military aircraft

For 12 months prior to the nuclear attack, Nagasaki had experienced five small-scale air attacks by an aggregate of 136 US planes which dropped a total of 270 tons of high explosive, 53 tons of incendiary, and 20 tons of fragmentation bombs. Of these, a raid of August 1, 1945, was most effective, with few of the bombs hitting the shipyards and dock areas in the southwest portion of the city, several hitting the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, and six bombs landing at the Nagasaki Medical School and Hospital, with three direct hits on buildings there. While the damage from these few bombs was relatively small, it created considerable concern in Nagasaki and a number of people, principally school children, were evacuated to rural areas for safety, thus reducing the population in the city at the time of the atomic attack.

On the day of the nuclear strike on Thursday, August 9, 1945, the population in Nagasaki was estimated to be 263,000, which consisted of 240,000 Japanese residents, 10,000 Korean residents, 2,500 conscripted Korean workers, 9,000 Japanese soldiers, 600 conscripted Chinese workers, and 400 Allied POWs.  That day, the Boeing B-29 SuperfortressBockscar, commanded by Major Charles Sweeney, departed from Tinian's North Field just before dawn, this time carrying a plutonium bomb, code named "Fat Man". The primary target for the bomb was Kokura, with the secondary target, Nagasaki, if the primary target was too cloudy to make a visual sighting. When the plane reached Kokura at 9:44 a.m. (10:44 a.m. Tinian Time), the city was obscured by clouds and smoke, as the nearby city of Yawata had been firebombed on the previous day. Unable to make a bombing attack on visual due to the clouds and smoke and with limited fuel, the plane left the city at 10:30 a.m. for the secondary target. After 20 minutes, the plane arrived at 10:50 a.m. over Nagasaki, but the city was also concealed by clouds. Desperately short of fuel and after making a couple of bombing runs without obtaining any visual target, the crew was forced to use radar in order to drop the bomb. At the last minute, the opening of the clouds allowed them to make visual contact with a racetrack in Nagasaki, and they dropped the bomb on the city's Urakami Valley midway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works in the south, and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works in the north. After 53 seconds of its release, the bomb exploded at 11:02 a.m. at an approximate altitude of 1,800 feet. This was the second and, to date, the last use of nuclear weaponry in combat, and also the second detonation of a plutonium bomb. The first was tested in central New Mexico, United States.

Within less than a second after the detonation, the north of the city was destroyed. Roughly 39,000–80,000 people were killed. About half of these died immediately, while the other half suffered lingering deaths. Among the deaths were 6,200 out of the 7,500 employees of the Mitsubishi Munitions plant, and thousands of others (including 2,000 Koreans) who worked in other war plants and factories in the city, as well as 150 Japanese soldiers. The industrial damage in Nagasaki was high, leaving 68–80 percent of the non-dock industrial production destroyed. The bomb was somewhat more powerful than the "Little Boy" bomb dropped over Hiroshima, but because of Nagasaki's more uneven terrain, there was less damage.

After the war

The city was rebuilt after the war, albeit dramatically changed. The pace of reconstruction was slow. The first simple emergency dwellings were not provided until 1946. The focus on redevelopment was the replacement of war industries with foreign trade, shipbuilding and fishing. This was formally declared when the Nagasaki International Culture City Reconstruction Law was passed in May 1949. New temples were built, as well as new churches owing to an increase in the presence of Christianity. Some of the rubble was left as a memorial, such as a one-legged torii at Sannō Shrine and an arch near ground zero. New structures were also raised as memorials, such as the Atomic Bomb Museum. Nagasaki remains first and foremost a port city, supporting a rich ship building industry and setting a strong example of perseverance and peace.

On January 4, 2005, the towns of Iōjima, Kōyagi, Nomozaki, Sanwa,Sotome and Takashima (all from Nishisonogi District) were merged into Nagasaki.


Nagasaki has the typical humid subtropical climate of Kyūshū and Honshū, characterized by mild winters and long, hot, and humid summers. Apart from Kanazawa and Shizuoka it is the wettest sizeable city in Japan and indeed all of temperate Eurasia. In the summer, the combination of persistent heat and high humidity results in unpleasant conditions, with wet-bulb temperatures sometimes reaching 26 °C (79 °F). In the winter, however, Nagasaki is drier and sunnier than Gotō to the west, and temperatures are slightly milder than further inland in Kyūshū. Since records began in 1878 the wettest month has been July 1982 with 1,178 millimetres (46 in) including 555 millimetres (21.9 in) in a single day, whilst the driest month has been September 1967 with 1.8 millimetres (0.07 in). Precipitation occurs year-round, though winter is the driest season; rainfall peaks sharply in June & July. August is the warmest month of the year. On January 24, 2016, a snowfall of 17 centimetres (6.7 in) was recorded.

Climate data for Nagasaki

Record high °C (°F)21.3
Average high °C (°F)10.4
Daily mean °C (°F)7.0
Average low °C (°F)3.8
Record low °C (°F)−5.2
Source #1: Japan Meteorological Agency


Nagasaki and Nishisonogi Peninsulas are located within the city limits. The city is surrounded by the cities of Isahaya and Saikai, and the towns ofTogitsu and Nagayo in Nishisonogi District.

Nagasaki lies at the head of a long bay which forms the best natural harbor on the island of Kyūshū. The main commercial and residential area of the city lies on a small plain near the end of the bay. Two rivers divided by a mountain spur form the two main valleys in which the city lies. The heavily built-up area of the city is confined by the terrain to less than 4 square miles (10 km2).

Prices in Nagasaki



Milk1 liter$1.80
Tomatoes1 kg$5.00
Cheese0.5 kg$5.00
Apples1 kg$3.30
Oranges1 kg$
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$3.15
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$9.80
Coca-Cola2 liters$2.35
Bread1 piece$
Water1.5 l$1.95



Dinner (Low-range)for 2$
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$
Dinner (High-range)for 2$
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$
Water0.33 l$1.00
Cappuccino1 cup$3.50
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$4.90
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$
Coca-Cola0.33 l$1.35
Coctail drink1 drink$6.00



Cinema2 tickets$30.00
Gym1 month$
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$
Theatar2 tickets$
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$4.40



Antibiotics1 pack$
Tampons32 pieces$3.50
Deodorant50 ml.$2.50
Shampoo400 ml.$3.60
Toilet paper4 rolls$2.00
Toothpaste1 tube$2.00



Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1$
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1$
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$
Leather shoes1$



Gasoline1 liter$1.31
Taxi1 km$
Local Transport1 ticket$1.50

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Both of Japan's major air carriers serve Nagasaki Airport. JAL and ANA offer nonstop flights from Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Osaka's Itami Airport. ANA also offers nonstops to Nagasaki from the new NagoyaCentrair Airport and Naha Airport in Okinawa, while JAL operates from Nagoya Airport in Komaki. In 2005, a new low-cost carrier, SNA (Skynet Asia Airways, now called Solaseed), began flights from Tokyo's Haneda Airport, providing cheaper tickets than major carriers. Another low-cost carrier, Peach Aviation, connects Nagasaki Airport with Osaka's Kansai International Airport at very low rates.

There are also nonstop international flights to Nagasaki from Shanghai(China Eastern Airlines) and Seoul (Korean Air), but these run much less frequently than the domestic flights.

Buses connect the airport to the Nagasaki train station (1 hour, ¥800).

Transportation - Get In

By Train

JR Kyushu runs the Kamome(かもめ) Limited Express train service from Hakata station in Fukuoka once or twice every hour. The one-way ride takes about two hours and costs ¥4,910, although it's recommended to buy nimai-kippu (discount two tickets) for ¥6,000 or yonmai-kippu (discount four tickets: recommended if two people travel) for ¥10,000 (¥5,000 for round-trip per person). If connecting via the Tokaido Shinkansen, you can instead opt for a Sakura train which reaches Shin-Tosu—switching to the Kamome from Shin-Tosu instead of Hakata can cut about 30 minutes off the trip. Fare for the Kamome is covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

TIP: If you intend to travel on the Kamome line from anywhere North of Nagasaki try to reserve a window seat on the left side of the train car on your way down to Nagasaki and on the right side on a trip departing from the city. This will ensure that you that get a close-up view of the fantastic scenery as the train runs right next to the Ariake Sea coast line.

Connections to the Kamome can be made from the rest of the country via the Shinkansen (Hiroshima, 3 hrs; Okayama, 4 hrs; Osaka, 4 1/2 hrs;Tokyo, 7 hrs).

From Kagoshima-Chuo station in Kagoshima, Nagasaki can be reached via the Kyushu Shinkansen and Kamome in about 3 3/4 hours.

Sleeper Trains

You can travel overnight from Tokyo to Nagasaki, however you will have to take three trains: the 10 PM Sunrise Seto/Sunrise Izumo overnight service to Okayama, the Shinkansen from Okayama to Hakata, and the Kamome from Hakata to Nagasaki. This will take a total of 13 hours, and if you're willing to constantly change trains, you will be rewarded as your journey will double as lodging.

Japan Rail Pass holders must pay the lodging charge on the Tokyo-Okayama segment; the rest of the trip is covered under the pass. An alternative if you want to make an overnight trip is to split up the trip into an evening leg and a morning leg, spending the night at a city along the way.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

The Holland overnight bus runs from Kyoto and Osaka Umeda to Nagasaki (11 1/2 hours from Kyoto, ¥11300; 10 hours from Osaka, ¥11000). An additional bus, the Roman Nagasaki, runs from Osaka Hankyu Bus Terminal to Nagasaki at the same cost and time.

The Princess Road and Etranger overnight buses run from Kobe Sannomiya (10 hours, ¥10500) and Himeji (9 hours, ¥9580).


Transportation - Get Around

Trams (路面電車 romen denshaor チンチン電車 "chin-chin densha") connect most of Nagasaki; they run about every ten to fifteen minutes during the day. The most frequently used lines will be the red (3) and blue (1); the blue and red lines run on the same track from the northern end of Nagasaki as far as the Nagasaki train station, where they split. The blue line continues to the You-me Plaza shopping mall, Dejima, and later the downtown shopping arcade. A one-way trip is ¥120 and you can get a transfer ticket (乗り継ぎ券 ”noritsugi ken") to continue your trip, if it requires two streetcars. These tickets can only be acquired if you get off at the Tsuki Machi stop. You can save money if you're doing a lot of travel by purchasing a daily pass for the streetcars (¥500) which you can purchase at the Tourist Information Center at Nagasaki Station, or most major hotels.

Buses also run through much of Nagasaki, including places that aren't served by the streetcars.

It should be mentioned that the street cars stop running around 11PM, and most bus service also has downtime at night. This can come as a rude awakening if you go out in Shianbashi, only to find that you have to stay until 6AM for the first running densha. For the adventurous, it takes about an hour to walk from Shianbashi to Sumiyoshi. This timeframe is heavily dependent on how fast you walk, and what kind of night out you experienced.






  • Youme Saito10-1 Motofunamachi+81 95-823-3131. Located next to Dejima Wharf in downtown Nagasaki, this multistory shopping plaza offers a range of stores and services, including a Starbucks, travel agent, a grocery store in the basement, and of course, a grand selection of clothing stores. The grocery store in particular has a good selection of foreign imports and cheese compared to other supermarkets. The Kinokuniya bookstore on the fourth floor carries a small selection of English-language books. Next to Kinokuniya is also a food court with multiple selections. Youme Saito is easily accessed by taking the blue streetcar line to the Ohato stop.
  • Nishi-Hamanomachi. Also from the blue line, you can access this enormous covered arcade from up to four streetcar stops, the easiest of which are the ones marked "Hamanomachi." There is a proliferation of restaurants, coffee shops, clothing stores, hair salons, and multi-level electronics stores.
  • Chitosepia5-1 Chitosemachi+81 95-842-6001. At the Chitose-machi tram stop, with several clothes stores on the second and first floor as well as an arcade on the second floor. This can be a good place to start shopping. Several restaurants are in the basement as well as a grocery store. The restaurants include Japanese food, a curry restaurant and an Italian restaurant. One recommendation for a cheap and tasty pick-me-up snack is the Hearth Brown patisserie on the lower level Also one of the restaurants here serves Turkish rice (toruko-raisu).
  • Seiyu1-6-10 Hayama,  +81 95-857-1155. Beyond the reach of the Nagasaki trams, so take a bus, is the shopping center of Seiyu. With a Haagen-Dazs ice cream shop and a McDonald's in front it is hard to miss. With almost anything anyone could want, from book store to clothing stores to electronic stores, Seiyu has it all, though in a slightly inconvenient place.
  • AMU Plaza. At the Nagasaki station tram stop is Amyu (AMU) Plaza and with a multitude of stores to see in the plaza and several stores around the plaza that might interest people, including a book shop and an arcade. The bookstore contains a small but serviceable selection of English-language books as well. Inside the plaza is 3 stories of shopping extravaganza, there are clothes, books and electronic stores all around. There are several restaurants on the bottom and top floors of the building as well as an area for people to buy Nagasaki related knick-knacks and souvenirs. There is also an import store called Dragon Deli on the bottom floor where one can find soda that isn't readily available in the rest of Nagasaki, like Dr. Pepper and A&W Cream Soda. Amu Plaza is more expensive than YouMe Saito.


Nagasaki's most famous dish is champon(ちゃんぽん), which is a hearty dish of noodles in a pork-based broth, filled with vegetables, bacon, shrimp, squid, and scallops.

Saraudon (皿うどん) is another popular dish that combines the meat, seafood, vegetables, and sauce of champon, but serves it on a plate, or 'sara', over crispy dry fried noodles.

For Nagasaki's most well-known champon and saraudon restaurants, it is best to head into Chinatown (blue streetcar to the Tsuki-machi stop). While you're there, try out some of the fantastic street food, such as kakuni-manju (marinated braised pork cutlet served in a steamed bun),ebichiriman (shrimp fried in chili sauce, again served in a steamed bun), andmarakao (steamed pound cake, usually available in chocolate and chestnut flavors).

Castella (カステラ) is a sponge cake that was originally brought by the Portuguese; it has assumed a distinctly light Japanese flavor and texture over the centuries, and now one can find it in flavors such as honey, chestnut, and green tea. Head to the Dutch Slope (オランダ坂) on any day of the week to sample castella for free from one of the many vendors.

Chawan mushi, a steamed egg custard, savory instead of sweet and filled with meat, fish, and mushrooms, is also famous.

Another Nagasaki dish is Turkish Rice (トルコライス toruko raisu), named after the country. It consists of a pork cutlet, dry curry mixed into rice, and a small serving of spaghetti, all on the same plate. Tsuru-chan (ツル茶ん), Aburayamachi 2-47, tel. +81 95-824-2679, [www]. Established in 1925, this is the original and perhaps still the best Turkish Rice joint (¥850 a serve) and one of Japan's first cafes. Open 9 AM to 10 PM every day.

Coffe & Drink

The worthwhile trip to the top of Glover Garden also yields another point of interest: the oldest Western-style restaurant in Japan, the Tenjin Coffeehouse. The stop in is worth it to see their impressive Dutch coffee-making equipment, when combined with the historicity could be why they charge about ¥550 for a cup.

Sights & Landmarks

Nagasaki's tourism association coordinates a discount card for foreign tourists, applicable at many popular sites like Glover Garden, Dejima, and the ropeway to Mount Inasa. The card can be obtained from many hotels in the city. A multi-lingual call center can also answer tourism-related questions in English, Chinese, or Korean: +81-95-825-5175, 08:00-20:00 365 days a year. Save some paper by using their collection of electronic pamphlets (PDF) for several attractions.

  • Glover Garden (5 min by foot from tram stop Oura-tenshudo-shita of tram line 5 (destination 石橋 ishibashi)).8AM-6PM. This is a pleasant collection of relocated European style homes built for foreign traders and diplomats when Japan was opened to world after the Meiji Restoration of the mid 19th century. It also offers a great view of Nagasaki harbor. ¥600.
  • Site of the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan. A monument and a museum stand on the site where 20 Japanese Christians and six European missionaries were crucified in 1597. These martyrs were canonized as saints in 1862. This site is also closest to Nagasaki Station; about 10 minutes on foot.
  • Inasayama (稲佐山) (take a bus from Nagasaki Station, or by streetcar to Takaramachi Station, or by bus or taxi to Fuchi Shrine Station). When the weather is clear, this mountaintop offers a full 360 degree view of Nagasaki City and harbor, and is a must-see site. The nighttime view of the city is called the "10 Million Dollar View" and ranked as one of the best 3 city night views in Japan. There is no entrance fee or hours, but there are limits on transportation there. Access is either by car, taxi, bus, ropeway, or a combination. The easiest is all the way up by car or taxi (for the former there's paid parking; for the latter it's about ¥2200 one way). Or there is a bus that goes up partway and requires a 15 minute walk up to the summit. This is the most economical and costs about ¥150 and about 15 minutes from Nagasaki Station (buses leave 1-2 times per hour). A third way is by ropeway between 09:00-22:00, and is ¥1200 round trip. To get to the ropeway station, walk five minutes from the Takaramachi street car stop, or take a bus or taxi to Fuchi Shrine Station and walk 2 minutes.
  • Koshibyo Confucius Shrine (a few minutes by foot from the streetcar No. 5 line's Ouratenshudo-shita stop). 08:30-17:00. This is the only Confucius Shrine the Chinese built outside of China, and was constructed in 1893. It also has a large Chinese history museum behind it. It is often neglected and overlooked by many travel books and tourists, but has a gorgeous and bright appearance that is truly worth a visit. ¥525.
  • Sofuku-ji. 8AM-5PM. Constructed in 1629 by Chinese residents of Nagasaki, this temple is one of the best examples of Ming Dynasty architecture in the world. Even in China itself there are few surviving structures that display Ming Dynasty architecture as well as Sofuku-ji. ¥300.
  • Oura Catholic Church. Built in 1864 by French missionaries, it is the oldest remaining church in Japan. While not used as a church now, it still offers a look at 19th Century worship after Japan repealed its ban on Christianity. ¥300.
  • Urakami Cathedral. Rebuilt after its destruction in the atomic bombing, Urakami Cathedral was once the largest church in Asia.
  • Atomic Bomb Museum (5 minutes by foot from tram stop Hamaguchi-machi of tram line 1 or 3 (destination 赤迫 akasako)). 8:30AM-5:30PM. A well-done commemoration of one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century. At the far end of the museum tour, you will find a powerful argument against nuclear proliferation, outlined in several well-designed exhibits. Buy yourself some ice cream after you leave - you'll need it. ¥200.
  • Dejima (Site of the Former Dutch Factory) (出島) (near Nagasaki Port Terminal, Dejima stop on the blue number 1 tram). 8AM-5PM - entrance closes at 4:40PM. Japan's sole port open to Western trade for over 200 years, Dejima Island was built to keep the West out-of-contact with the local populace in order to prevent the spread of Christianity. While only a few pieces of the original building foundations remain, the buildings have been recreated according to what we know about them, and you can walk inside their warehouses, quarters, kitchen, and other rooms. Dejima Wharf was built for commemorating the exchange between Japan and Netherlands for 400 years. There are 20 shops including restaurants. You can eat lunch or dinner watching the sea. ¥500.
  • Shinchi Chinatown (a few minutes walk south of Tsukimachi street car station), fax: +81 95-822-6540. From the 15th to the 19th centuries Chinese traders and sailors called this area home and it is the oldest Chinatown in Japan. Four narrow streets come together to a central intersection, with several restaurants and shops contributing their part to Nagasaki's unique character.
  • Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium. A surprisingly entertaining and informative aquarium located about 30 min [by bus] from Nagasaki station. A 12-m deep tank dominates the entry way. You can observe a variety of penguins from the vantage of underwater. A number of other aquaria contain many species of fish and invertebrates found locally, as well as a huge tank containing giant catfish (pla bluk) from the Mekong River in Thailand. The building is adjacent to a delightful sandy beach that could make a day with kids full and exciting. ¥500, kids under 3 free.
  • Suwa Shrine18-15 Kaminishiyama-machi (5-minute walk from Suwa-Jinja-mae Station on the Nagasaki Electric Tramway), +81 95-824-0445. The primary site of Nagasaki's annual Kunchi festival, the shrine's expansive grounds situated on the Tamazono mountainside offer a panoramic view of the city, amusing lion-dog guardian statues, and ceiling paintings by 75 artists. Free.
  • Kofuku-ji (about 8 minutes on foot from the Kokaido-mae streetcar stop),  +81 95-822-1076fax: +81 95-827-2726, e-mail:. 8AM-5PM. This was the first Obaku Zen temple in Japan, established around 1620, and Nagasaki residents often call it the "red temple". It was used by many Chinese for over 3 centuries, and is one of the few historical places to escape damage from the atomic bombing. ¥300.
  • Oka Masaharu Memorial Nagasaki Peace Museum. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM.One of the few places in Japan where the war crimes of the Japanese army during the Second World War are documented. Another focus of the exhibition lies on the foreign victims of the atomic bomb and their struggle for recognition and compensation. The Museum is located close to the central train station and just next to the memorial for the "26 Saints of Japan". No English explanation (just a few paragraphs on a leaflet at the entrance). ¥250, ¥150 for under 16 year old.
  • Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum. 10AM-8PM. Beautiful new building (featured in Architecture Week) that often has touring exhibits from around the world. Fees are required for temporary exhibits. Free-¥400.
  • Fukusai-ji2-56 Chikugo-machi. 8AM-4PM. An Ōbaku Zen temple in Nagasaki, Nagasaki, Japan. Its honorary sangō prefix is Bunshizan (分紫山?). Founded in 1628 and later destroyed in 1945, Fukusai-ji has since been reconstructed in the shape of a turtle with an 18-metre high aluminium alloy statue of Kannon, the Bodhisattva of compassion. The interior is famous for the 25-metre Foucault Pendulum which swings over the remains of 16,500 Japanese killed during World War II. ¥200.

Things to do

  • Gunkanjima (Hashima), Tokiwa Terminal, 長崎県長崎市常盤町1-60常盤ターミナルビル102号 (Take number 5 (green) tram toward Ishibashi to Ourakaigan-Dori stop, walk 1 minute toward the water),  +81 95-8959300, e-mail:. 09:00 - 18:00.Gunkanjima (lit. "Battleship Island") is a small island completely covered in the ruins of a mining city, abandoned since 1974. Once the most densely populated place on earth, it's now a ghost town, showing the decay of what society leaves behind. Gunkanjima is about 15 km away from Nagasaki and is reachable as a part of organized boat tours since 2009. It takes its name from actually looking like a battleship from a distance. The tour includes a brief video presentation prior to embarkation, and a guided walk on the island. Explanations are in Japanese and headsets are available (free of charge) with an English recording. Upon return, the boat will circle allowing passengers sitting on either side to take photos. The full tour takes about 170 minutes and starts twice daily, at 10:10 and 13:30. It can be booked and paid in advance online, or on-site up to an hour beforehand. Be aware that due to the precarious nature of the Gunkanjima dock, these tours are cancelled frequently for bad weather. For those of you thinking of jumping the fence and having a free saunter, think again, as all patrons are not only forced to sign a very specific no-fence-jumping waiver, but have to wear the same list of said rules around their necks at all times. There is a memorial to the many Korean workers who lost their lives to the mines of this island as a result of the forced labor programs during Japan's occupation of Korea. This was recently a dramatic film location for the James Bond film 'Skyfall'. ¥3900 (weekday adult; add ¥300 on weekends, discounts for children).
  • Lantern Festival Lunar New Year (mid Jan-mid Feb). Held by Nagasaki's Chinese community, large lanterns are displayed on street corners and in the shopping arcades. Venture through Chinatown or along the river in the evening to see some of the 20,000+ lanterns displayed in the city. Many of the lanterns are shaped like animals or figures from Chinese mythology, and the major lantern every year represents the corresponding zodiac animal (e.g., 2008 featured rats, 2007 featured pigs, etc.).
  • O-Kunchi, the city's biggest and one of Japan's more popular festivals, takes place October 7-9th annually. This festival, based around the descent of the city's patron kami(神)from their home high up in the Suwa Shrine, features choreographed routines with giant, cumbersome floats, sake, and a general feeling of celebration. Finding food will not be a problem during O-Kunchi, as the streets are lined with thousands of vendors hawking takoyaki, yakitori, and grilled corn on the cob.
  • Although all of Japan celebrates O-Bon in August, Nagasaki puts a unique and deafening spin on the day of ancestor worship. Head down to the harbor for the main festivities, which involve far more alcohol and fireworks than is generally considered safe.
  • A quick boat ride to Iojima is the easiest way to get to a beach. From Nagasaki harbor to Iojima is about ¥1500 and about 10-15 minute another ¥500 gets you in. The boat ticket allows a visit to the hot springs in the hotel on Iojima so that visitors can wash up.
  • A quick jaunt into Shianbashi, or Shianbash for short, is a must when you visit Nagasaki. This area of Nagasaki exudes debauchery, full of numerous Snacks (not to be confused with a snack bar) and drinking establishments.
  • If you happen to be in Nagasaki between March and June, you can take a walk with Saruku-Chan. More commonly known as Saruku-Haku, these guided tours allow the Sarukist to experience the history of Nagasaki in a very unique way, by walking it! Available with orators teaching in either Japanese and English, these walks are quite the learning experience. They require a bit of multitasking: one must be able to listen, walk and look at the same time. The course sizes range from just a few miles to a monstrous 13 mile jaunt.

Festivals and events

The Prince Takamatsu Cup Nishinippon Round-Kyūshū Ekiden, the world's longest relay race, begins in Nagasaki each November.

Kunchi, the most famous festival in Nagasaki, is held from 7–9 October.

The Nagasaki Lantern Festival, celebrating the Chinese New Year, is celebrated from February 18 to March 4.


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