On 9.8.1945 the second nuclear bomb of the Americans exploded over Nagasaki. 75,000 people died immediately, another 100,000 died of the long-term consequences of the radiation. The Peace Park "Heiwa-Koen" was built in 1955 at the site over which the atomic bomb was detonated. The blue peace statue of Seibo Kitamura points with one arm into the sky, from where the bomb came and with the other arm in the horizontal, as a symbol of peace. His eyes are closed to commemorate the dead. In front of the statue, the peace declaration of the mayor of Nagasaki is read every year on the 9th of August. Next to the Peace Park is the Atomic Bomb Museum, the National Memorial for Atomic Bomb Victims and the Peace Hall. In the memorial park there is the Hypocenter Monument, a black stele that marks the site of the atomic explosion.
On the west side of the Kazagashira mountain there are many Buddhist temple complexes. Walking from Sofuku-ji to Kofuku-ji, you pass Daiko-ji, Daion-ji, Chosho-ji, Iozen Enmei and other smaller temples. Behind the Kofuku-ji there are more temples until you reach the small river. You can also follow the steep stairs to the mountain, then you will discover the most beautiful lanes of Nagasaki.
The Sofuku-ji Temple was built in 1629 by Chinese immigrants from Fujian. Like the Fukusai-ji, the Sofuku-ji belongs to the Obaku School of Zen Buddhism. He is one of the "Three Lucky Temples" in Nagasaki, all bearing the FU (luck) character in their name. The Sofuku-ji is built in the style of the later Ming Dynasty and is the oldest building in Nagasaki. The gate "Daiippo-mon" (gate of the first summit) was manufactured in Ningbo China and then put together in Nagasaki. The Daiippo-mon is a national treasure of Japan. The entrance gate (photo) with the rounded pedestal is modeled on the legendary gateway to the underwater paradise. The Sofuku-ji is the most famous Chinese temple in Japan and Chinese people from all over Japan come to the temple festivals here. Sofuku-ji is the main attraction of Nagasaki.
The goggle bridge "Megane Bashi" is the landmark of Nagasaki. The two arches look like glasses when they are reflected in the Nakashima River. The bridge was built by Chinese Zen priest Mozi in 1634. This makes the spectacle bridge the oldest stone bridge in Japan. The bridge connects the hill on which the Chinese temples Sofuku-ji and Kofuku-ji were built with the city center of Nagasaki. The "Megane Bashi" is one of the most popular photo opportunities of Japanese tourists in Nagasaki.
The Fukusai-ji Temple in Nagasaki was founded in 1628 by Chinese immigrants. During this time, Nagasaki's "Three Lucky Temples" were created. The 3 lucky temples are Kofuku-ji, Sofuku-ji and Fukusai-ji. They each carry the Chinese character Fu (luck) in their name. The Fukusai-ji was the first temple of the Obaku school of Zen Buddhism in Japan. His first master was Yinyuan Longqi (Japanese: Ingen Ryuki), a student of Linji Chan buddhism who came to Nagasaki from China in 1658. Later he went to Kyoto, where he founded the main temple of the Obaku school, the Manpuku-ji temple in Uji. The Fukusai-ji temple was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. The temple was rebuilt after the war. The hall was built as a giant turtle on which stands a 18 m high Kannon statue, children flock at the feet of the statue. The turtle is a symbol of long life, it holds the secrets of heaven and earth. Kannon is the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion. Inside the temple, a foukault pendulum swings to commemorate the 16,500 children killed by the atomic bomb.
The port of Nagasaki was the trigger that lead to the rise of the city. The large sheltered bay was expanded for trade with the Portuguese in 1571. Later, the Dutch and the Chinese followed. The overseas trade made Nagasaki one of the most important port cities of Japan as it was the only city with the right to trade with foreign nations for a long period of time. Today there are shipyards, a terminal for cruise ships, a port for warships and ferry piers.
Dejima was a European settlement on an artificial island in the port of Nagasaki. Originally the Portuguese merchants were housed here, who started trade with Japan in 1543. Due to their aggressive proselytizing, the Portuguese were banished in 1639 from Japan. The Dutch took their place in 1641 and were allowed to build a trading post on Dejima island. The Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie short VOC operated the base on the fan-shaped island, which was connected by a bridge to the mainland. The Tokugawa Shoguns in Edo (Tokyo) decided that no foreign ships should be allowed to enter Japan in 1635. Nagasaki remained the only gateway to the world. It was not until 1853 that Japan's isolation policy was ended by American warships. Today Dejima is an open-air museum with reconstructed historical buildings from the 17th century. The former island was connected by landfills with the mainland. On the model in the open-air museum (photo) you can see the former location of Dejima. In each building, the history of the Dutch trade post is presented very vividly.
The Hamano Machi Arcade is a covered shopping street in the center of Nagasaki. Two streets were covered, crossing in the middle. The longer part is about 400 m long, the shorter part about 280 m. The intersection of the two passages is the center of Nagasaki. In the Hamano Machi Arcade there are shops and restaurants of all kinds. It is a normal "Shotengai" (covered shopping street), as you can find in many Japanese cities.
Nagasaki is located in the western part of Japan, the closest distance to China. During Japan's isolation, Nagasaki was the only port allowed to sail on foreign ships. As a result, a Chinese enclave was formed in 1630 alongside the Dutch settlement on Dejima. However, the Chinese were able to develop more freely and built Buddhist temples on the green slopes east of Chinatown. Nagasaki Chinatown consists of a shopping street bordered by two Chinese gates. Chinatown is quite small but there are many Chinese buildings throughout the city. Nagasaki's attractions include the Confucius Temple, located about 600 meters southwest of Chinatown. In Chinatown, there are many shops and restaurants that stand out by an exaggerated cheesy facade design.
Glover Garden is one of Nagasaki's most famous attractions. The businessman and entrepreneur Thomas Blake Glover built his domicile on a hill above the port of Nagasaki (center of picture above). The Glover House from 1863 is the oldest preserved western house in Japan. The "Glover House" was built by a Japanese architect who combined the European architectural style with Japanese wood construction. The roof is Japanese, while the columns and windows are designed in western-style. Overall, the Glover Garden is a mix of Far East and Europe. Thomas Glover was a fan of Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly", he had a statue of Tamaki Miura, the actress of Cio-Cio-san in the park. The Glover Garden features other structures, such as the Mitsubishi House, a Koi pond and a large garden overlooking the Nagasaki Bay.
The deserted island of Gunkanjima has the silhouette of a warship and is one of Nagasaki's most popular attractions. Actually, the island is called Hashima (border island). By coal mining starting 1810, the island was approximately doubled by landfills. In order to protect the accumulated land, a wall was built around the island. When Gunkanjima was still inhabited, there was a large chimney that blew black smoke into the air. This made the island look like a moving battleship. In 1960, 5,259 people lived on the island, exploiting the coal seams that lay diagonally under the sea. In doing so, tunnels up to 1,100 m deep were driven under the water. The coal production was stopped in 1974 and all workers left the island. Since then, the buildings are rotting and partially collapsed already. Landing on Gunkanjima is subject to strict safety regulations and is only carried out at good weather. We had the best weather ever and still could not get on to the island because a typhoon had damaged the jetty. You need good luck to get on the island.
From Nagasaki you can take boat trips to Gunkanjima. The tour takes depending on the provider 2-3 hours and costs about 3,500-4,000 yen (about 30 € in 2018) The tours are booked out at good weather quickly, in summer you should book about 2 weeks in advance. We took Gunkanjima Cruise but there are more providers from Nagasaki see link below.