Nagasaki - Japan Travel Guide - Japanspecialist


An international city, for better and worse.

About Nagasaki
Nagasaki is a port city with 450,000 inhabitants on the west coast of the southern island of Kyushu. Many know it best as a victim of the atomic bombing in 1945, but the city has in fact been international since its foundation in the 16th century, trading with especially the Portuguese and the Dutch. This international history is still seen in the city's food and architecture.

Peace Park, Chinatown and sparkling city lights from the mountaintop
The pace is a little quieter here than in other Japanese cities with nice trams bumbling through the city. Of course, one must visit the Peace Park and the associated Atomic Bomb Museum. Go to the top of the 333-meter-high Mount Inasa from where you have one of Japan's most beautiful evening views. It is easy to get to by bus, car or cable car. You shouldn’t miss Chinatown and the local noodle dishes of champon and sara-udon. Near Chinatown is a cosy shopping arcade where the atmosphere is somewhat reminiscent of Japan in the 60s and 70s. Take a walk along Nagasaki Wharf and Seaside Park. There are many options for eating or having a drink with the locals on one of the outdoor terraces. In the evening, one must go out in the Shianbashi and Doza area where local restaurants and sake bars are hidden in the narrow streets.

Other attractions in Nagasaki
You can visit the small island of Dejima, which for centuries was the only place the Dutch traders were allowed to stay. The area around Nagasaki also has several UNESCO-protected places where Japan's first Christians lived. A good excursion is to the Shimabara Peninsula. Here is the Unzen Jigoku ("hell") volcanic area, where the steam from hot springs and volcanic gases is intense. Another option is nearby Sasebo, where you can see the beautiful Kujukushima ("99 islands") as emeralds in azure water. Finally, visit the UNESCO-protected island of Hashima, also called Gunkanjima, which was abruptly abandoned in 1974 when the island's coal mines closed. A real ghost town!

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