Modernized during the Meiji period, this southern Japanese city has an intriguing history of Dutch trading, Christian missions and the atomic bomb.
The Japanese city of Nagasaki is known for having been bombed in 1945, but its development prior to that time is fascinating. Visit the revitalized city to explore its earlier trading and industrial past and experience its welcoming modern culture, with a future looking toward world peace.
Built around a protective harbor facing the South China Sea, early Nagasaki was a natural spot for sea trade, beginning in the early 1600s. Tour the restored buildings of Dejima, a manmade island where a Dutch trading post stood for 218 years. Visit the nearby Nagasaki Kameyama Shachu Memorial Museum which tells additional stories of the modernization in Nagasaki that led early industrialization across the country. Nearby, the Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture relates development of East/West relations.
Stop at the Oura Catholic Church overlooking the harbor. In this 1864 gothic church, foreigners and early Japanese Christians were allowed to practice their faith freely. Next door, the Glover Garden contains the former residence of Thomas Glover, a Scottish merchant whose efforts in mining and shipbuilding influenced modernization.
From the port, take a boat ride to Gunkanjima, an island that was once a coal mine. As you pass the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Nagasaki Shipyard, notice the giant cantilever crane, installed in 1909 and still in operation.
Largely because of its shipbuilding and industrialization, Nagasaki was the target for the second atomic bomb during World War II. Tens of thousands of people died. Honor those individuals and the city’s prayers for peace at Peace Park. Here, a tall monolith in Hypocenter Park marks the center of the explosion. The Peace Statue, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall For the Atomic Bomb Victims are nearby.
At night, take the ropeway, bus or car up Mount Inasa to look down upon the lights of the city reflecting in the harbor. Before leaving, visit the beach at Iojima Island to enjoy some sunshine.
Fly to Nagasaki from Tokyo in about 2 hours.