City Guide Nagasaki 長崎

City Guide Nagasaki 長崎

About Nagasaki

Population: 415 000 inhabitants

Location: Western part of Kyushu Island.

Nagasaki is the capital of the Nagasaki Prefecture as well as the biggest city there. Being one of the closest cities to the Asian Mainland, the port city was very important regarding foreign trade relation. Unfortunately, Nagasaki is mostly famous for being the target of the WWII Bombings in Japan just a few days after Hiroshima. It is however a lovely and vibrant city with warm people.

Facts About Nagasaki
  • During Japan isolation policy, Nagasaki was one of the very few port cities open to foreign traders.
  • Gukanjima, 20km away from Nagasaki’s coast had the highest population density ever recorded.



Main Districts

  • Dejima: Former Dutch Traders district. This district used to be in fact a man-made island originally made to segregate Portuguese residents from Japanese and after them being expelled from the country, it became the Dutch Trading Station for the 2 century of Japan’s Isolation Policy (being the only remaining westerners allowing in the country). They were restricted to this area.
  • Chinatown: Oldest Chinatown in Japan. With the Dutch, the Chinese were the only foreign traders allowed in the city during Japan’s Isolation Policy.
  • Heiwa: Most frequented area. There are also the Peace Park and Museum. 
  • Daikoku: Central Nagasaki, filled with shops, restaurants and bars.

Top Attractions

  • Glover Garden: This is an open-air park which displays western mansions. Those mansions used to belong to foreign residents living in Nagasaki, this hill was where all the western merchants used to settle after the Japanese Isolation policy in the 19th century.
  • Sofukuji Temple: This temple belongs to the Obaku school of Zen Buddhism. It was first built for Chinese residents in Nagasaki hence its Chinese architecture.
  • Kofukuji Temple: The oldest and one of the most important Chinese-founded temples in the city. The district it was built in in where the Obaku school of Zen Buddhism was born (in Japan). 
  • Meganebashi Bridge: Literally means “Glasses Bridge” as it looks like a pair of glasses when reflected in the river water. 
  • Suwa Shrine: On top of a hill in a forest, this huge shrine is accessible by climbing its 200 steps. You will find numerous statues of “protective dogs”, “water-sprite dogs” and “turntable dogs” which you can pray to by putting water on to the plates on their heads. 
  • Koshibyo: Confucius Shrine. It is the only one of its kind to be built outside of China. In the courtyards are 72 statues of Confucius’ disciples, each one of them weight 2 tons.

Best Places to Go Out

  • Mount Inasa: Along with Mt Rokko and Mt Hakodate, Inasa is one of the Three Best Night Views in Japan. Once up there you will be able to admire the city view. You can either access it by ropeway, bus or car.
  • Shimabara Peninsula: Outside of the city. It’s a popular hot spring and hiking spot.
  • Chinatown
  • Daikoku

Best Culture Spots

  • Nagasaki Peace Park: The park was built to commemorate the city’s bombing. It is made of 2 parks and a memorial museum. In the middle of the park you will see a black monolith where the explosion’s epicenter is. You can also have a look at a layer of soil below the park’s surface where broken roof tiles, bricks and pieces of glass remain from the explosion.
  • Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum: Just like the Atomic Bomb Museum in Hiroshima, there you will find artefacts, photos, firsthand accounts from survivors and stories. 
  • Gukanjima: is an abandoned island near Nagasaki’s coast. Also called battleship island, even though it was not a battleship. Gukanjima used to be a coal mine until 1974. This island is 480m long and 150m wide, with more than 5 000 residents, making the island having the highest population density in history recorded worldwide. To accommodate all the residents the island was built in a way that looked like a battleship.
  • Oura Church: This church is the most famous Christian church in Japan. Built by a French missionary for the foreign merchant’s community. It is considered being the oldest one in Japan. It was also built to commemorate the 26 Christians executed in Nagasaki in 1597.

What to eat

  • Shippoku Ryori: A fusion of Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese cooking. The usual dishes are red snapper fin soup, braised pork, fried chicken, tempura. 
  • Nagasaki Beef: It won the last Prime Minister’s Awards in the “Wagyu Olympics” and hence considered best Wagyu in Japan.
  • Guzoni: This dish is a hot pot with rice cake, vegetables, seafood, fried egg and light soup.
  • Sea Bream: Largest sea bream in Japan. Most popular dish with sea bream would be Taimeshi where the fish is cooked with shoyu and salt the grilled and served over rice.
  • Sara Udon: Thinner and crispy udon type which are fried in oil. Usually with toppings such as seafood, cabbage bean sprouts or other vegetables.
  • Goto Udon: Again, the udon noodles are thinner and you have to dip them in a mix of scallion, fish flakes and a raw egg.
  • Omura Zushi: Sushi layered with vegetables and a thinly sliced omelet
  • Momo Castella: white peach sponge cake.

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