Dejima: A Historic District in Nagasaki

Dejima Nagasaki Travel Guide

Friendly Dejima's Gatekeeper

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.

Friendly Dejima's Gatekeeper
Friendly Dejima’s Gatekeeper

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.

Dejima Island Nagasaki
Dejima Island Nagasaki

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.

Nagasaki Dejima Dejima's diorama
Nagasaki Dejima Dejima’s diorama
Diorama of Dejima
Diorama of Dejima

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.

Dejima's historical structures
Dejima’s historical structures

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.

Restaurant inside Dejima
Restaurant inside Dejima

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.

Dining Room in the Chief Factor's Quarters
Dining Room in the Chief Factor’s Quarters

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.

Dejima in Nagasaki Japan photo by @boudewijn_huysmans via Unsplash
Dejima in Nagasaki Japan photo by @boudewijn_huysmans via Unsplash

What is also good about this fan-shaped island is that it comes with pleasant weather even during summer.

Dejima Tour Guides
Dejima Tour Guides

So, without further ado, here are a slew of places and activities that you could enjoy:

Dejima Souvenir Shop
Dejima Souvenir Shop
Dejima Kimono Experience Tour
Dejima Kimono Experience Tour
  • 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.

Restored Buildings

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.

Chief Factor's Residence Exterior in Dejima
Chief Factor’s Residence Exterior in Dejima
Inside Chief Factor's Residence
Inside Chief Factor’s Residence

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.

Turkish Rice
Turkish Rice

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.

Nagasaki salad
Nagasaki salad

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.

Toruko Rice
Toruko Rice

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.

Manila to Fukuoka Flight Schedule as of November 2019
Manila to Fukuoka Flight Schedule as of November 2019

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.

By Car

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.

Contact
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
E-mail dejima@city.nagasaki.lg.jp
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!

Disclosure: This Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki Familiarization trip was made possible by Cebu Pacific and Strategic Works, Inc

Searching for best hotels and affordable flights? Check out our complete list of affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

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