Dejima: An Artificial island in the heart of Nagasaki
During our recent fam trip to Fukuoka, we also spent a night in Nagasaki to explore this historic place in Japan.
Located in the western mountains of Kyushu Island, Nagasaki has been known as a historical city in Japan.
What Made Nagasaki Famous
For the uninitiated, Nagasaki was among the two cities in Japan that were hit by atomic bombs during World War II.
It is the reason is why a lot of tourists across the globe are visiting the sites in Nagasaki that are associated with this event. For example, quite a few tourists that go to this place visit monuments and museums that show off the stories of people who were impacted by this episode in the country’s history.
But, of course, apart from its historical significance, many people find the place a go-to destination due to its sumptuous, unique local delicacies and street food. Here, you can find a wide array of food options to satisfy your taste buds.
History of Dejima, Nagasaki
Constructed way back 1634, Dejima is a human-made or artificial island. Initially, the purpose of building this site was to segregate residents of the place – who were mostly Portuguese – from Japanese people. This way, the government can control the residents’ missionary activities and prevent the spread of Christianity.
Later on, these Portuguese residents were then expelled from the country. The Dutch Trading Station, which was in Hirado, was then transferred to the place.
It then became the country’s so-called “window to the world,” because goods were traded with Japan by Dutch ships. On top of that, the place had been significant to Japanese samurai as it was where they studied western medicine, botany, military science, and even astronomy.
Moreover, games such as billiards and badminton were introduced to Japan through Dejima. Japanese were introduced to things like coffee, cabbage, clover, chocolate, beer, and tomatoes because of Dejima.
At present, you can still find an array of structures linked to the place’s rich historical past – such as walls, gates, residences, and even warehouses.
Touring the Artificial Island
When visiting Dejima, you can find and experience a multitude of tourist spots and activities that will entice your fancy.
What is also good about this fan-shaped island is that it comes with pleasant weather even during summer.
So, without further ado, here are a slew of places and activities that you could enjoy:
- Gardens of Dejima – these are the right spots to take pictures. There are also resting areas to take a break when exploring the place. Here, you can also find a scale model of this island that provides a good overview of Dejima’s rich culture.
- Souvenirs Shop – If you are on the lookout for some mementos or souvenirs that you can bring with you when going home, the Dejima Souvenirs Shop is a place to go. Here, you can purchase local delicacies, sweets, trinkets, and keepsakes. It is situated close to the east gate of the site.
- Kimono Experience Tour – just recently, tourists are now able to experience the Edo period attire in the place – thanks to the Kimono Experience Tour. For 30 minutes, tourists can dress up in a stunning kimono garment while walking the main street of the site.
The residences of the Dutch officials, the warehouses that stored trading goods, and the offices of the Japanese officials from the early 19th century have been restored to showcase the colorful past of Dejima.
These buildings have been rebuilt on the exact positions suggested by the excavation investigations using traditional methods based on items that remain in the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, Holland such as building models, illustrations, old photographs, literature, and paintings. It is as if the Edo Period Dejima has back to life here.
Try Out Toruko Rice (Turkish Rice) Lunch at Dejima
After touring around the historic artificial island, we also visited the Former Nagasaki International Club for lunch. This building is now turned into a restaurant and functions as a social spot where we sampled one of the “must-eats” when you go to Dejima, Nagasaki — The Toruko Rice. Covered with demi-glace sauce, this dish comes with pilaf rice, tonkatsu or pork cutlet, as well as Neopolitan spaghetti – all lumped onto one plate.
Well, if you are looking for the reason why it was named after “Turkey,” you have to know that it remains a mystery up until the present times.
However, there are a bunch of theories that can be linked to the mystery. Some people think that it is because the three ingredients of the dish resemble the flag of Turkey’s flag of three colors.
Another theory is that spaghetti comes from Italy, and the other ingredient, the pilaf, comes from China. In between, you can find Turkey. But, of course, you may find this theory a bit fanciful. It’s up to you to decide.
It is worth noting that this local dish is one of the most favorite meals by the people of Nagasaki. In fact, it is deemed an indispensable part of their lives. So, to get a taste of the spirit of this place, you have to try out the famed Toruko Rice.
How to Get There
You can get affordable flight deals from Manila to Nagasaki. There are online booking apps or sites that allow you to find the cheapest flights to Nagasaki from hundreds of airlines.
Now, if you wish to visit Fukuoka first, then you may take a Cebu Pacific Air flight from Manila to Fukuoka. Cebu Pacific offers daily flights to Fukuoka from NAIA Terminal 3. From Fukuoka, you can head to Nagasaki via train and bus.
Via JR Limited express train
In two hours, you can travel from Hakata Station in Fukuoka to Nagasaki Station. It costs 4,190 yen for an unreserved seat and 4,500 yen for a reserved seat. Note that only one or two limited express trains are operating every hour. The Kyushu Rail, as well as Japan Rail Passes, covers the trip.
Via JR local trains
If you are on a budget, however, you can take local trains, in which you can reach the destination in around 4 to 5 hours. It will cost you 2,810 yen. Note that one transfer of passengers is a necessity along the way.
Via highway bus
Every 15 minutes, you can ride Nishitetsu highway buses. The trip is around 2.5 hours, and you have to fork out 2,570 yen.
About 6 minutes from JR Nagasaki Station and 1 minute from Nagasaki Expressway, Nagasaki IC/Nagasaki Dejima Road. Please use the nearby commercial parking lots.
Dejima Restoration Office Nagasaki City Hall
TEL +81 (0)95-829-1194 / FAX +81 (0)95-811-1050
6-1 Dejima-machi, Nagasaki, 850-0862, Japan
Official Website: https://nagasakidejima.jp/en/
There you have it: some information that you can bring with you while exploring Dejima and different breathtaking destinations in Nagasaki. Enjoy!