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Posted On 08/15/2019 16:23:37
Trip Date 03/05/2011
Destinations | Cruises | Asia | Japan | Nagasaki | Ground Zero | Atomic Bomb Museum | What to see in Nagasaki | DIY Travel in Nagasaki | One Day in Nagasaki
Our 16 night cruise aboard the Diamond Princess departed from Tianjin, China, the
port city nearest to Beijing. We cruised down the Asian coast where we spent one day in
Nagasaki, Japan for our first port of call. Additional port days were spent in China, Vietnam,
Thailand and Singapore. (The original itinerary also had us spending a day in Busan, Korea however
tensions with the country forced a cancellation.) Throughout most of the trip, the two of us explored
each port city on our own. For sites located further away from port cities, we hired independent tour
guides for private small group tours.
Nagasaki is a great city for the do-it-yourself traveler. Lucky for everyone, many cruises
around Asia include a port day in this interesting city. If your plans include a visit to Japan's
southernmost island, check out this post filled ideas for DIY travel in Nagasaki. You won't want to
miss Ground Zero or the Atomic Bomb Museum, but there's so much more. By
moving quickly and using a combination of trams and walking, you'll find that these 13 spots can all be
seen in just one day!
Nagasaki's Tram System
1. Urakami Cathedral
When the government repealed the prohibition of Christianity, the followers of Urakami who had
regained their freedom took on the building of Urakami Cathedral as their first project. Due to
funding difficulties however, construction did not get underway for 20 years. Finally, in 1914, this
impressive structure was completed as Asia's leading Roman style cathedral.
The church originally featured bells from France in the front pair of towers. Unfortunately they were
destroyed in the atomic bombing of 1945. (One of the bells was actually blown away, along with the
belfry, by the force of the blast.) The building you see today was reconstructed in 1959. In 1980, it
was remodeled with brick tiles and restored to its original appearance. The fragments of the stone
statues remaining after the blast, including the surviving bell, have been arranged in the surrounding
Church Tower Survived Blast
Hop on the tram for a 15 minute ride from the city center to reach the cathedral. Use the Blue Line 1
or Red Line 3 and exit at Stop #18 - Ohashi. Start from the top of the hill and walk down to
the destroyed church. It is then an easy walk to several other sites including the museum, memorial
gardens and Ground Zero.
2. Atomic Bomb Museum
A visit to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum is the primary reason many visitors go to
Nagasaki. On August 9, 1945, three days after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the
second atomic bomb was dropped over the Urakami district of Nagasaki. The bomb killed or injured
The museum begins with the disastrous attack and includes so much more. Visitors learn about
events leading up to the bomb dropping, the history of nuclear weapons development and the
reconstruction of Nagasaki up to the present time. There's also a part of the museum dedicated to the
hope for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons. Comparing the scenes of Nagasaki immediately
after the bombing with the appearance of the city today, you'll be totally impressed by the great
survival spirit of the people.
3. Nagasaki Peace Park
Nagasaki Peace Park was built on a low hill to the north of the hypo-center of the atomic bomb
blast. It was created to represent the wish for world peace. The park features a 9.7-meter-high
Peace Statue symbolizing the Nagasaki people's wish for peace. The raised right hand points
to the heavens to signify the threat of atomic weapons while the left arm is raised horizontally
to represent the wish for peace. The figure's eyes are lightly closed in prayer for the souls of the
atomic bomb victims.
The park also features the Fountain of Peace, which was built in remembrance of a little girl
who wandered in search of water. Visitors can also view a row of monuments from various nations
that form a zone of symbols of world peace.
4. Ground Zero
Be prepared to get emotional at Ground Zero (the "hypo-center") - it is just so simple and yet
so moving! It's just a short walk across the road from the museum to the Hypo-center which
is marked with a black obelisk.
Rubble At Ground Zero
5. Mount Inasa Park
Rising 333 meters above sea level in the center of Nagasaki, Mount Inasa Park is in the Inasa
Mountain range. It is a natural park beloved by residents of the city. The park is famous for its spring
azaleas and nighttime views.
The summit features a glass-enclosed lookout from which visitors can enjoy a 360-degree view of the
spectacular scenery. The view shows the natural beauty of Nagasaki's mountains and coastline. See
the boats in the Port of Nagasaki, the historical settlements of foreign residents, and the rows of
buildings in each district. On clear days you can even see Mt. Unzen, the Amakusa area and the Gotoh
chain of islands.
The summit can be reached by a ropeway operating from Fuchi Shrine (in Fuchimachi). By
tram, use the Blue Line 1 or Red Line 3 and exit at Stop #25 - Takara-Machi.
6. Memorial to the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints
In memory of the centennial of the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan that occurred on
Nishizaka Hill, a memorial relief showing the event was constructed concurrently with the adjoining
Saint Filippo Nishizaka Church. The Memorial Hall that stands quietly behind the bronze
statues of the 26 saints is divided into two themes - things handed down from Christian times and
things created today in order to clarify history. It introduces the history of Christianity from the time
of Saint Frances Xavier's visit. There are exhibitions of historical religious documents, sculptures,
paintings and frescoes. To reach the memorial by tram, use Blue Line 1 or Red Line 3 and exit at
Stop #27 - Nagasajeki Mae.
26 Martyrs Memorial
7. Spectacle Bridge
For a great photo stop, Spectacle Bridge is a must. Japan's first Chinese-style stone bridge
was constructed in 1634 by Mokusunyoujo (the second-generation Chinese monk of the nearby
Kofukuji Temple). The bridge gets its name from its resemblance to a pair of spectacles when the
arches of the bridge are reflected on the surface of the river.
This bridge, along with Edo's Nihonbashi Bridge and Iwakuni's Kintaikyou Bridge, are considered the
three most famous bridges in Japan. Spectacles Bridge was the inspiration for the Double Bridge of
the Imperial Palace. You can reach the bridge by tram on Yellow Line 4 or Green Line 5. You can exit
at either Stop #37 - Nigiwaibashi or Stop #38 - Kokaido Mar.
8. Kofukuji Temple
Kofukuji Temple is Japan's first Chinese temple of the Obaku sect and is another must stop
spot. It is from the year 1620 when China's Ming Dynasty merchants travelled to Nagasaki. They
built this small monastery as a place to pray for a safe voyage.
At the time, the government of Japan's prohibition on Christianity was especially virulent. Even
Chinese residents of Nagasaki, also at risk of being suspected as Christians, felt it necessary to prove
they were Buddhists by building a series of temples of which Kofukuji was the first. By tram, use the
Yellow Line 4 or Green Line 5 to reach the temple. Stop #38 - Kokaido Mar will be your exit.
Kofukoji Temple Buddha
Kofukoji Temple Roofline
9. Sofukuji Temple
With a unique pedigree, the Zen Sofukuji Temple is another mystical and spiritual place. In
1629, the Chinese residents of Nagasaki who hailed from the Fujian Province constructed this Chinese
Temple. It houses 21 cultural assets including the seated statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha, a national
treasure. When the Buddhist statue was renovated around 1935, an internal organ of silver and cloth
was discovered within it.
Raised Entryway to Keep Out Ghosts
Look through the temple's Ming-style gate to find a large 17th century bell and an equally old cauldron
used to serve food during a famine. By tram, use Blue Line 1 or Yellow Line 4. Exit at Stop #35 -
Shokakuji Chita. The temple is located two blocks from the end of the tram lines.
Also located very close by is Sofukuji-dori which is reached by steep steps spared from any damage
during the atomic bomb drop. Hosshin-ji (down the hill and to the right) has a temple bell that was
cast in the 15th century. The fourth temple, Daion-ji, contains the final resting place of the
10. Shinchi Chinatown
Japan's oldest Chinatown, Shinchi Chinatown, was established as early as the 17th century. It
was built because the Nagasaki port remained the country's only major port open to Chinese trade
during the era of isolation. Over the centuries, residents of Shinchi Chinatown have given the city
of Nagasaki a Chinese flair not felt in any of Japan's other major cities. Today, Nagasaki's Chinatown
is best known for its restaurants. The yellow lanterns overhead make it clear you are in Chinatown!
Reach Shinchi Chinatown aboard either Blue Line 1, Black Line 2 or Green Line 5. Exit at Stop 31 -
11. Glover Gardens
Located on the southern slope of a mountain is the beautiful Glover Gardens and former
residence of Scottish merchant Thomas Glover. The prime location helps flowers bloom throughout the
year. The excellent vantage point also offers a great view of Nagasaki Harbor.
The gardens were donated to the city of Nagasaki in 1957 and opened to the public. Eventually, other
Western-style residences of the Meiji era from around the city were dismantled, moved and
reassembled to create a cultural site demonstrating the former foreign settlements. By tram, use
Green Line 5 and exit at Stop #50 - Ouratendhuido Shita. The gardens are located on a slope
directly above the cruise dock and are easily reached by a series of escalators.
12. Oura Catholic Church
Established in 1865, the church is officially known as Oura Catholic Church, The Church of 26
Martyrs. It was built by a French priest who had been dispatched by the Foreign Missionary
Church of Paris to dedicate prayers to the 26 saints martyred on Nishizaka Hill. For this reason, the
church faces Nishizaka.
Oura Catholic Church
Most of the church was seriously damaged in the bomb blast, but has since been restored. The church
became famous worldwide as the church that discovered the "hidden followers" who had survived the
religious persecution. By tram, use the Green Line 5 and exit at Stop #50 - Ouratendhuido
13. Confucius Shrine
Built in 1893, the Confucius Shrine is an interesting stop. It is the only Confucian temple
constructed by the Chinese outside of China. Confucius, the founder of Confucianism, was born in 551
BC in Russia. His birthplace is in the present day Shangong Province of China.
He busied himself with study and preaching to his many disciples. His most famous writing, The
Analects of Confucius, is a record of his sayings and teachings. The temple contains many
sections of his work carved into marble. By tram, use Green Line 5 and exit at Stop #51 -
Cruising China and Southeast Asia
Our great southeast Asian odyssey started with several days in Beijing where we explored many of the
important and well-known sites. Check out part 1 of this series, The Best of Beijing in Three
Days, for more on our experience. You'll find plenty of ideas on how to make the most of a
visit to this Asian city.
Next up in this series is our one day visit to Shanghai. Subscribe at Wordy Explorers User Account to receive weekly
e-mail notices when successive parts of this odyssey and many others are published.
Sightseeing in Japan
We enjoyed our one day in Nagasaki and Japan is on our wish list for a lengthier return visit. In your
opinion, what are the "must see" cities for those traveling to Japan?
Created On 01/07/2019 17:04:58
Updated On 08/23/2019 16:24:33
Scheduled On 07/23/2019 13:23:37
Posted On 08/15/2019 16:23:37
Last Editor Stacy
Location Port of Nagasaki,Japan