During Japan's period of national isolation (1641-1858), Nagasaki City flourished as the only port open to trade with Europe and China. Nagasaki is a port city that is surrounded by mountains and offers a wealth of attractive features, including history, food, and shopping opportunities.
Streetcar/ Tram
The streetcar can take you to all the main tourist destinations at a reasonable price
Nagasaki Lantern Festival
Nagasaki Nightscape
The night views in Nagasaki are spectacular. With Nagasaki Port at the center, mountains loom on three sides. The lights of the houses and streetlamps dotting the slopes mingle with the twinkling stars in the sky. Nagasaki's splendid nighttime scenery can be enjoyed from many parts of the city. At the World Night View Summit in 2012, Nagasaki was recognized as one of three cities with the most spectacular night views in the world. The best way to enjoy this view is to ride in a glass-paneled cable-car to the peak of Mt. Inasa.
Spectacles Bridge (Megane-bashi)
This bridge was built in 1643 and is Japan's oldest stone arch bridge. Its reflection in the river resembles a pair of eyeglasses, hence the name "megane-bashi", which means 'spectacles bridge'. If you want to be romantic, try spotting a heart-shaped stone near to the bridge.
Glover Garden
This garden has been designated an Important Cultural Asset. Here you can visit beautiful mansions built for British merchants, including the oldest wooden Western-style home in Japan, built by the Scottish merchant Thomas Glover, who played a key role in the industrialization of Japan. The garden is lush with flowers, offers a stunning view of Nagasaki Port, and features statues relating to the opera "Madame Butterfly", which is set in Nagasaki.
Peace Park
On August 9, 1945, at the close of the Second World War, an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Every year, a Peace Ceremony is held at the Peace Park. In addition to the Peace Statue, the park is full of art works donated by countries all over the world in support of the city's prayer for peace. The Atomic Bomb Hypocenter and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum are also located near to this green park, and the area is a focal point for Nagasaki's constant work to spread its message of world peace.
Oura Cathedral
Oura Cathedral has been designated a national treasure. It is the oldest wooden church of gothic architecture in existence in Japan.
In 1934, the Shimabara Peninsula became Japan's first national park, named 'Unzen National Park'. In 2009, the 'Unzen Volcanic Area Global Geopark' became Japan's first global geopark. In addition to its many historic sites, the peninsula is also full of beautiful places to enjoy all four seasons. Watch the smoke rising at Unzen Jigoku ("Unzen Hell"), visit the Mt. Unzen Disaster Memorial Hall, relax at the hot springs, or take a walk through the former castle town.
Unzen Jigoku ("Unzen Hell")
Hot water and gases spout out of the earth. White steam and a smell of sulfur accompany you as you walk through this hotspot of volcanic activity. The songs of the wild birds bring another aspect to the scene: in this place, nature shows both its fierceness and beauty in a fascinating spectacle. This area is one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts.
Nita Pass, Unzen
These mountains are famous for their azaleas in the spring, green colors in the summer, autumn leaves in the fall, and frosty fog in the winter. Enjoy the cable-car ride up to the top for breathtaking views. A brand new trekking path allows hikers to enjoy the mountain flowers and wild birds, as well as stunning close-up views of Heisei Shinzan, the peak newly-formed by the 1990s Fugendake eruption.
Shimabara Castle
At the castle, you can try on ninja and samurai armor and marvel at traditional crafts and documents of Christian and samurai history. It is also known as a perfect spot for taking pictures of a quintessential Japanese scene, the castle surrounded by flowers such as cherry blossoms and lotuses.
Old Samurai Warriors' Houses
On the west side of Shimabara Castle, the samurai residences have been carefully preserved, complete with clear spring water flowing in canals down the center of the streets.
City of Swimming Carp
Shimabara has always been blessed with plentiful spring water. The "City of Swimming Carp" has been beautifully maintained by local people. The sight of the colorful nishikigoi carp swimming through the canals of the city is one of the most attractive features of Shimabara.
There are several great places in Nagasaki prefecture
where you can enjoy both indoor and open-air hot springs or rotenburo.
Hirado
There are two places I love here. The first is Hotel Ranpu. The beach is just across the street, so you can swim around until you're tired (or sunburned) and then relax in the hot spring. There are many different kinds of water you can try out, including a dirt-colored bath and a green tea bath, and inside is a green house where you can bathe amidst tropical plants. Every other day, the bath that overlooks the sea alternates between the men's and women's side.
Shimabara
This is the kidney shaped peninsula south of Nagasaki city which is riddled with hot springs. My favorite one in Shimabara City is Nanpuro. It is situated along the coast, and looks out onto the ocean. However, if you're still feeling a little shy about bathing in the buff with a bunch of strangers, Shimabara also has a free foot spa near the shopping street.
Unzen
Unzen is in the center of the Shimabara Peninsula and deserves special mention. Setting foot in Unzen is almost like stepping into another world, shrouded in billowing steam from the volcano. You can throw a stone in any direction and hit a hot spring, though some of them are just a little bit too hot for bathing! Here you can find a variety of private and public, indoor and outdoor hot springs. All of the water used in these hot springs is heated by the volcano, giving off a distinctive sulfur smell, and is great for your skin. It is even more stunning in the fall, when all of the leaves turn to different shades of yellow, red and brown. Even if hot springs aren't your cup of tea, there are still plenty of paths to walk around the different steaming pools, hiking trails and lovely places to have lunch.
Nagasaki is fortunate enough to have a plethora of fabulous hot springs in all areas of the prefecture. In addition to the ones I've already mentioned, there are also notable onsens in Obama (a town on the Western coast of the Shimabara peninsula), Iojima (an island off the coast of Nagasaki city) and Ureshino (a town just over the border in neighboring Saga prefecture.) Most places provide amenities such as shampoo and body soap, as well as a modesty towel that you can borrow or purchase. So even if you are just coming from dinner, shopping or the beach, you can drop in and bathe any time. Just look for the Japanese characters for onsen and you can find them just about anywhere! PILGRIMAGE
Surrounded by stunning ocean and mountain scenery, Nagasaki Prefecture has always been blessed with natural beauty. Asian and European influences have intermingled with local cuisine to create the unique "WaKaRan" (Japanese-Chinese-Western) gourmet culture.
Shippoku
Traditional Nagasaki cuisine with Chinese, Portugese, and Dutch influences.
Champon
"Champon" means "mixture", and this original Nagasaki noodle dish, based on Chinese cooking, features a mix of fresh ingredients like vegetables, meat and seafood.
Oyster
The oysters caught around Nagasaki have an exquisite flavor and are extremely popular! How about a delicious oyster BBQ at one of the little huts along the coast in winter?
Sasebo burger
This original handmade burger was developed from the menu of US Navy soldiers stationed in Sasebo.
Lobster & Other Seafood
Nagasaki Prefecture is naturally blessed with first class seafood like lobster, tai (red sea bream), and fugu (puffer fish), and there are numerous gourmet events for seafood enthusiasts.
Nagasaki beef
Nagasaki Beef won first prize at the 2012 Japanese Beef Olympics. Its naturally aromatic taste makes it perfect for steak or BBQ. Beef also has a history in the area: inspired by foreign culinary customs, it was in Dejima that Japanese people first ate beef.
Castella
Castella sponge cakes are Nagasaki's best-known sweet. In the mid-16th century, missionaries from Spain and Portugal brought this traditional treat to Japan. Chinese influence later gave rise to the "momo castella", a peach shaped version.
Mikawachi-yaki &
Hasami-yaki Ceramics
Mikawachi-yaki and Hasami-yaki ceramics are traditional crafts that have been made in the area for 400 years.