Nagasaki Prefecture, abundant in natural beauty, is surrounded by both mountains and sea. During the Edo Period, Nagasaki was the only part of Japan open to the outside world, playing a large role in Japan's international exchange and modernization. With a fusion of Japanese, Asian and European influences, Nagasaki's culture is quite unique, and you can still find that blended culture alive today in the streets, cuisine and festivals of Nagasaki. The night view of the city is one of the New Top 3 Night Views in the world. Overcoming the martyring of Christians and rebuilding after the atomic bomb, Nagasaki is full of experiences like nowhere else.
Direct international flights: 1 hr 20 mins from Seoul, 1 hr 25 mins from Shanghai
Domestic flights: 1 hr 45 mins from Tokyo, 1 hr 25 mins from Nagoya/Okinawa, and 1 hr 10 mins from Osaka
Other: 2 hrs 20 mins by bus or 1 hr 50 mins by JR train from Fukuoka | 4 hrs 30 mins from Osaka by JR train, 3 hrs from Hiroshima by JR train.
208 islands and islets form the vista that is Saikai National Park. You can take a cruise on a pirate ship, a stroll along the boardwalk course or enjoy the many restaurants. You can also learn about the surrounding ecosystem at the Kujukushima Aquarium - Umi Kirara, where you can even try pearl picking.
90% of Tsushima is covered in mountain forests, making it perfect for outdoor activities in a pristine natural setting. Iki is home to many shinto shrines and is famous as a mystical island in which deities reside. The Goto islands are where many hidden Christians lived during Japan's ban on Christianity. Even now, there are some fifty churches remaining.
Approx. 300 bottlenose dolphins inhabit the ocean around Minamishimabara. Watching the dolphins in their natural habitat, with clear skies above and crystal blue waters below, you're sure to feel revitalized. You have a 99% chance of encountering dolphins here all year round.
Home to Unzen Onsen, rated the #1 hot springs resort in Kyushu by Western travelers, this was Japan’s first national park. With the scent of sulfur filling the air and blasts of steam shooting out from the ground, this place is certainly fit to be called “hell”. The area was the setting for the opening scene of the film Silence.
OLLE originated from Jeju Island in South Korea. It refers to unique hiking courses that allow you to experience historical and cultural spots along the way. In Nagasaki, you will find two such courses: one in Hirado, and one in Minamishimabara.
Due to the undulating landscape of Nagasaki, stone wall rice fields have been cleverly utilized to make use of narrow plots of land and can be found throughout the prefecture. From scenes of rice planting in early summer through to the harvests in autumn, the change in seasons offers travelers a sense of tranquility.
This is a form of Japanese-Chinese-European fusion cuisine that is representative of the history and culture of Nagasaki. This unique style of cuisine was the result of people of different countries intermingling. At Shippoku restaurants you can enjoy the formal "omotenashi" hospitality as kenban (Nagasaki geisha) entertain you.
Nagasaki prefecture is said to be where wagyu beef was first developed. The meat is rich in flavor and is well-balanced with a mild touch of lean fat. Sasebo Burgers are often made using Nagasaki wagyu beef and there are some 30+ certified shops using their own custom recipes to create this popular burger.
Nagasaki is surrounded by ocean and ranks #1 nationwide in terms of fish variety, and takes 2nd place when it comes to catch volume. You can enjoy fresh seafood and sushi all year round: in spring, sea bream; in summer, horse mackerel; in fall, bigfin reef squid; in winter, flounder.
This island was the former site of an underwater coal mine. Due to the shape of the surrounding sea wall and concrete buildings, the silhouette of Hashima Island has given rise to its nickname “Gunkanjima" (Battleship Island). It once boasted the world’s highest population density and supported Japan’s modernization, but the mines were closed in 1974. This site was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2015, and was the model for the island featured in the film Skyfall.
Thomas Blake Glover contributed to Japan’s modernization. His residence was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2015, and is the oldest Western-style wooden building in Japan. Also the site of the former Alt and Ringer residences, the location is popular for its views of Nagasaki Harbor.
The Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki/Amakusa region are slated for inscription into the World Heritage list in 2018. They were also used as the setting for Martin Scorsese’s 2017 film, Silence. Today, there are over 130 churches in the prefecture. Pilgrimage tours are also popular.
During Japan’s isolation period, the only place open to the West was this fan-shaped, manmade island. As the gateway for trade, the latest items and culture spread through Japan via Dejima. Nowadays, kimono fitting experiences are popular. Cross the main bridge (opened recently after 130 years of having no bridge) to travel back in time to the days of Dejima.
Shimabara Castle contains the Museum of Christian History, where you can learn about the Shimabara Rebellion, the impetus for Japan's isolation policy. In spring, you will see cherry blossoms blooming, and in summer, lotuses. Shimabara is known as the "City of Water", and you can see carp swimming in the waterways that run along the streets and houses. You can also enjoy the beautiful castle town, cafés and more.
The view of the St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church amongst the Japanese temple roof tiles presents the perfect chance to photograph the intersection of Japanese and Western culture. Hirado Castle stands atop a hill and has spectacular views of the ocean from its keep.
At 11:02am on August 9, 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Find out about the horrors caused by the atomic bomb, the lead up to the bombing, the city's revival from then to now, the history of nuclear weaponry development, and the prayers of the Hibakusha for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons.
With a pledge to never undergo the horrors of war again, this park was built as a prayer for world peace. Here you can find the Peace Statue (created by local sculptor Seibo Kitamura), the Fountain of Peace, and sculptures donated from around the world in support of the park's message. Every August 9, a peace declaration to the world is made here.
Here you can see the impact the atomic bombing had on people’s lives and learn about the prayers for world peace. Sanno Shrine is home to the One-legged Torii Arch and Urakami Cathedral is where the atomic bombed Belltower can be found. Walk inside the atomic-bombed school building, learn what happened to the children and modern Nagasaki’s peace education efforts at Shiroyama Elementary.
Nagasaki Kunchi Festival, with its some 380 years of tradition, is held Suwa Shrine - home to the patron deity of Nagasaki. Each town in Nagasaki City has it's own unique performance. However, unlike most traditional festivals Nagasaki Kunchi includes not only Japanese-style performances, but also elements inspired by the Chinese and Europeans who resided in Nagasaki.
Spring brings with it cherry blossoms and at Huis Ten Bosch tulips bloom, while azaleas are in abundance in Unzen. In Summer, hydrangeas and sunflowers can be found dotted across the landscape and in the fall, all the colors of autumn carpet the area surrounding the Unzen Ropeway. Nature puts on a display all year round in Nagasaki.
Nagasaki is surrounded by many stunning displays of light. Huis Ten Bosch boasts the world’s largest light show, using 13 million LEDs; Nagasaki is known as one of the New Top 3 Night Views in the World; and there is also the Lantern Festival, the largest Chinese New Year celebration in Japan. Each and every one of these is a must-see!
Sasebo is abundant in theme parks like Kujukushima Pearl Sea Resort and Huis Ten Bosch. If you plan to stay overnight, there are hotels that look out onto Saikai National Park and also plenty of places to stay in the center of Sasebo City. Official hotels inside Huis Ten Bosch and other accommodation facilities in the vicinity are also available.
Garden Terrace Nagasaki Hotel and Resort was designed by noted architect Kengo Kuma, who is drawing attention for his designs for the Tokyo Olympics. There are also hotels along the mountains, with spectacular night-time views, and other conveniently located hotels with great access to downtown Nagasaki.
Hot springs containing various properties can be enjoyed at ryokan right across the Shimabara Peninsula. From the ryokan at Obama Onsen you can watch the setting sun, while the ryokan at Unzen Onsen are right on the doorstep of the so-called “Unzen Hells”. It's also easy to visit Shimabara Castle town from Unzen and Obama.
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