Bucket List: Best Tourist Spots and Attractions in Nagasaki, Japan
Nagasaki is the capital of Nagasaki prefecture and is a stunning place to be. This city played a crucial role in foreign trade relations in Japan’s period of isolation, and the city is known in recent times as one of the two cities that was destroyed by an atomic bomb. The city was reconstructed afterward and is now a tourist hotspot in Japan. Some of the top things you can do in Nagasaki are listed below.
What to do in Nagasaki? Check out these interesting activities and tourist spots in Nagasaki:
Dejima is a fan-shaped artificial island that was a Dutch trading post in Nagasaki, Japan, from 1641 to 1854. Located in the bay of Nagasaki, Dejima is listed in old Western documents Latinised as Deshima, Decima, Desjima, Dezima, Disma, or Disima. Dejima was built in 1634 to house Portuguese traders and separate them from Japanese society by digging a canal through a small peninsula. The Dutch were moved to Dejima in 1641, and during most of the Edo period, the island was the single place of direct trade and exchange between Japan and the outside world. Dejima was abolished after the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, and the island was later integrated into Nagasaki city through land reclamation. In 1922, the “Dejima Dutch Trading Post” was designated a Japanese national historic site.
Go sightseeing at Oura Cathedral
Also known as the Basilica of the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs of Japan, this Catholic church was erected by French missionaries, and it dates back to 1886. The church is well known because it is the oldest church of its kind in Japan. The church is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will get to learn about the 26 Japanese Martyrs.
Visit the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
Since Nagasaki is one of the places in Japan where the atomic bomb was dropped, one of the top things to do in Nagasaki is to visit the city’s main monument, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. This is the best place to learn about the dark time in the city’s history, as you will find photos and items from the periods which were found after the blast. You will also get to see galleries of stories that were compiled from survivors.
Address: 7-8 Hiranomachi, Nagasaki, 852-8117, Japan
Phone: +81 95-844-1231
Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum and Monument
The Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum and Monument were built on Nishizaka Hill in Nagasaki, Japan, in June 1962 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the canonization by the Roman Catholic Church of the Christians executed on the site on February 5, 1597. The Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan were a group of Catholics who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597, at Nagasaki. Their martyrdom is especially significant in Japan’s Catholic Church’s history.
The museum’s collection includes important historical articles from both Japan and Europe (such as original letters from the Jesuit priest St Francis Xavier) and modern artworks on the early Christian period in Japan. The displays are arranged chronologically into three periods: the early Christian propagation, the martyrdoms, and the persistence of Christianity underground during the persecution.
The main monument with an extensive bronze depicting the Twenty-Six Martyrs was designed by Japanese sculptor Yasutake Funakoshi. The work took Funakoshi four years to complete.
Glover Garden is a park in Nagasaki built for Thomas Blake Glover, a Scottish merchant who contributed to the modernization of Japan in shipbuilding, coal mining, and other fields. In it stands the Glover Residence, the oldest Western-style house surviving in Japan and Nagasaki’s foremost tourist attraction.
Located on the Minamiyamate hillside overlooking Nagasaki harbor. It was built by Hidenoshin Koyama of Amakusa island and completed in 1863. It has been designated as an Important Cultural Asset. As the house and its surroundings are reminiscent of Puccini’s opera, it is also known as the “Madame Butterfly House.” Statues of Puccini and diva Miura Tamaki, famed for her role as Cio-Cio-san, stand in the park near the house. This house was also the venue of Glover’s meetings with rebel samurai, particularly from the Choshu and Satsuma domains.
Go relax at Nagasaki Peace Park
This was another park that was constructed to honor the victims of the Nagasaki bombing, and it is located next to the Nagasaki atomic bomb museum. At the park’s north end is the 10-meter-tall Peace Statue created by sculptor Seibo Kitamura of Nagasaki Prefecture. The statue’s right-hand points to the threat of nuclear weapons, while the extended left hand symbolizes eternal peace. There are many other notable memorials inside the park and art installations.
Go on a day tour to Hashima Island
This island can be found 15km from the city of Nagasaki, and it is among the 500 islands that were abandoned. You will find the place quite interesting and also love the nice weather there.
This is also known as Battleship Island. The town has been abandoned since 1970, but you can go on a day trip here to see the ghostly relics of the former town which was once here. The best way to explore this town is to sign up for a walking tour where you will get to experience and hear about the sad history of the town.
Go sightseeing at Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium.
The aquarium is just around 30 minutes outside the city center, and the highlight of the aquarium is that you will see numerous penguins through the underwater tanks as they swim around. If you are fortunate to come here during the feeding times at weekends, you can also feed fish to the penguins, and your kids will surely love this. There is also a small beach at the aquarium where you can just spend your day relaxing next to the water.
Address: 3-16 Shukumachi, Nagasaki, 851-0121, Japan
Phone: +81 95-838-3131
Go on a walking tour
This is one of the top things to do in Nagasaki as you will get to see the city from the local’s point of view. The best time to go on a walking tour is between March and June, as you will learn about the city’s history while seeing the stunning cherry blossom simultaneously. The walking tour is available both in English and Japanese, and it is a way to see the city from another view while also doing a little exercise.
View the city from Inasayama Observation Deck
Viewing from the observation deck is one of the top things to do in Nagasaki, and it can be found on Mount Inasayama, which is up to 633m high. Although you can visit the deck during the day or night, the best time to come here is at night, when you will get to see the city’s stunning sights. Apart from the nice view, the scenic cable car ride is the trip’s highlight. This is also the best place to take Instagram-worthy pictures of the city. You can take a ropeway to the top of the mountain, and if you are looking for adventure, you can go on a hike to the mountain’s peak.
Go sightseeing at the Prefectural Art Museum.
This is a museum located in an environmentally friendly place, and it was designed by Kuma Kengo. You will see art exhibits from Nagasaki and Spanish arts with some special exhibits. This is the best place to go if you have free time to spare; you will also get to see collections of Picasso and Pablo in this museum. There is a café nearby where you can just chill out.
Visit Fountain of Peace
This is located in Nagasaki peace park, and it was built to honor the people who died in search of water. This is unlike any other fountain, as this fountain was founded by Nagasaki citizens who hoped for eternal peace after the nuclear attacks in 1969. You will also find the monuments’ engravings quite impressive, and this is just near Nagasaki station.
Get a Chance to meet Inosuke Hayasaki – Atomic Bomb Survivor
One of the few living survivors of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki, Inosuke Hayasaki still frequents Nagasaki Peace Park to meet the locals and tourists alike. He still vividly remembers the tragic day which happened 74 years ago were about 74000 people died. Hayasaki, who was aged 14 during that time. He worked at the Mitsubishi Arms Plant, about 1km north of the bomb’s epicenter. He said his boss had ordered him to go to another factory. The bomb exploded just as he entered the building; he was blown behind a huge pillar but was miraculously saved. Among the 32 workers, only two of them survived.
Have fun at Nagasaki Seaside Park
This park is situated near the Matsugae international terminal and Dejima Wharf; it is a serene place to just enjoy the fresh air and just have a stunning view of the canals. You will also love the scenic views of the sea from here; another thing to do here is to just grab a coffee at the nearest konbini and just enjoy the serenity of the park.
Try out Champon
The city is popular for its dining culture, and while you are in the city, you should not miss trying out some local specialties like Champon. Champon is a local dish that comprises noodles in a pork broth that is then topped with bacon, crunchy vegetables, and seafood. There are also many other mouth-watering delicacies that you can try out, like Sarandon.
Enjoy Delicious Turkish Rice
Toruko rice (Turkish rice) is a favorite local dish of Nagasaki. The dish is made from pilaf rice and Napolitan spaghetti (pan-fried spaghetti flavored with ketchup, a popular pasta dish in Japan) with tonkatsu (a pork cutlet) toppings.
Try out the Castella
This is a delicious steamed sponge cake that is served in Nagasaki, and this dish was inspired by the Portuguese in the olden days. The cake is flavored with numerous ingredients like honey, chestnuts, or match, making it a delicious sweet treat you should not miss while in town.
Explore Koshibyo Confucius Shrine
The shrine is famous for being the only Confucian shrine that was built outside of mainland China, and it dates back to 1893. This is also the best place to learn about the history of the Chinese community in the city, and if you are a history lover, this place is truly a must-visit. Nagasaki is a city with diverse cultures and historical landmarks that everyone can visit and enjoy; you will be stunned by the plethora of attractions that you can include in your Nagasaki Itinerary.
Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown
Nagasaki Chinatown is an area that is popular for its shopping strip and various street food and restaurant options.
Most of the Chinese members of Nagasaki Chinatown are of Fuzhounese descent. Nagasaki and Fuzhou established ties as sister cities in 1980 to recognize the historical connections between the two cities and the Fuzhounese immigrant community.
Sofuku-ji is an Obaku Zen temple that was built by the Chinese monk Chaonian (Chozen) in 1629 as the family temple of the Chinese from Fuzhou, Fujian Province, who settled in Nagasaki.
Two of its buildings have been designated as national treasures. The red entrance gate and other structures in the precincts are rare examples of the architecture of South China during the Ming dynasty. On the temple grounds is a large cauldron made by the resident priest Qianhai to cook gruel for people who were starving during the famine of 1681. The Chinese Bon Festival is held here from July 26 to 28 (by the lunar calendar), with Chinese coming from all over Japan to participate in the ritual for the dead.
Meganebashi, also known as Spectacles Bridge, over the Nakashima River, was built in Nagasaki in 1634 by the Chinese monk Mokusunyoujo, the second generation of Chinese monks living at Kofukuji Temple. It is said to be the oldest stone arch bridge in Japan, along with Edo’s Nihonbashi bridge and Iwakuni’s Kintaikyou bridge, and has been designated as an Important Cultural Property.
Megane Bridge is also part of the first group of bridges built over the Nakashima river. Megane Bridge is made of stone and is a double arch bridge. It received the nickname “Spectacles Bridge” because its two arches and their reflection in the water create the image of a pair of spectacles.
Experience Nagasaki Kunchi Festival
If you are visiting Nagasaki between October 7-9, make sure to catch the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival. Kunchi, also Nagasaki Kunchi or Nagasaki Okunchi, is the most popular festival in Nagasaki, Japan. The festival started as a celebration of autumn harvests in the late 16th century and became a shrine festival when Suwa Shrine was founded in 1642. Back in the day, the festival was also used to check for hidden Christians after the ban on Christianity.
Maruyama Hanamatsuri Festival
An annual festival is held every November 9-10 at Umezono Migawari Tenmangu and the surrounding area in Nagasaki. This festival aims to commemorate the bygone days of Maruyama, formerly one of Japan’s three largest geisha districts (hanamachi). The event showcases traditional dances and a procession of courtesans through the streets. The festival also features an onnamikoshi, a portable shrine carried strictly by women only.
How to get to Nagasaki
If you are flying from Manila, the fastest way to reach Nagasaki is via Fukuoka. Cebu Pacific offers daily flights between Manila and Fukuoka, Japan, with affordable fares as low as P3,288 per sector. Book Here: http://bit.ly/CEBxteamoutoftown
How to get to Nagasaki from Fukuoka
By JR limited express train
Limited express trains are operating between Fukuoka’s Hakata Station and Nagasaki Station. The one-way trip takes two hours and costs 4,190 yen by unreserved seat or around 4,500 yen by reserved seat. Discounted sets of two tickets cost 6,180 yen. The trip is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass and the Kyushu Rail Pass.
By JR local trains
This option is cheaper, but it takes about 4-5 hours to reach either Hakata Station or Nagasaki Station. The train ticket costs 2810 yen (one-way ticket).
By highway bus
Nishitetsu highway buses operate every 15 minutes between Fukuoka (Hakata Station, Tenjin Bus Center) and Nagasaki Station. There are also hourly connections to/from Fukuoka Airport. The one-way journey takes about 2.5 hours and costs 2570 yen.
Nagasaki Travel and Tour Packages
Huis Ten Bosch Ticket Nagasaki
Located in the heart of Nagasaki Sasebo city, Huis Ten Bosch is one of Japan’s most unique theme parks. It’s known as a “little Europe,” as the entire area replicates Holland in the Middle Ages. More than just a theme park, it has numerous attractions, museums, shops, restaurants, hotels, and more.
Disclosure: This was an updated version of our recommended Things to do Nagasaki Blog post. We added new attractions and activities from our recent trip, which was made possible by Cebu Pacific and Strategic Works, Inc. We hope that this will help you create your Nagasaki Itinerary for your next visit.
Find the Best Hotels in Nagasaki according to your budget via Agoda.
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