Here’s a Nagasaki Japan guide for anyone moving to Nagasaki, visiting, or living in Nagasaki. We’ll discuss traveling to Nagasaki, its history, and what to do in Nagasaki. Nagasaki Peace Park, Huis Ten Bosch, and the UNESCO World Heritage Hidden Christian sites are just some of the most popular Nagasaki attractions, as well as various shrines, temples, and nature parks.
Nagasaki prefecture is located on the north-western coast of Kyushu, in the south of Japan, bordering Saga prefecture. Nagasaki also includes a lot of small islands, including Tsushima and Iki. The capital of the prefecture is Nagasaki city, home to a variety of Nagasaki attractions. As well as Nagasaki city, Sasebo city, and Omura city are some of the prefecture’s largest cities and popular places for people living in Nagasaki.
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History of Nagasaki
Nagasaki has a long history as the only place of trade during Japan’s isolated Sakoku period. There are a few ports such as Nagasaki city, as well as a US Navy base at Sasebo city. It is through Nagasaki that imported Portuguese products such as castellas, the popular sponge cake, became assimilated into Japanese culture. Through this, Nagasaki is home to a large number of Catholic residents. The prefecture also has a strong industrial history, including weapon-making and shipbuilding during the Second World War.
In 1945 the US dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki which killed roughly 39,000 people and destroyed a large area of the city.
Getting around Nagasaki Japan guide
Kyushu is perhaps one of the harder areas to access from the rest of Japan, but like most places here it is still easy to get around. Nagasaki is fairly well-connected to other areas considering how far south it is to Japan’s most populated cities, making living in Nagasaki a lot easier!
It is much easier to get around the bigger cities, public transport in the rural areas may take longer with infrequent buses. JR Kyushu provides trains across along the Nagasaki Main Line. There is also a tram system in Nagasaki city. If you plan on traveling around more of Kyushu, we recommend using a car to access some of the more remote areas.
If you are moving to Nagasaki or visiting from afar, you may want to fly into the prefecture’s main airport. Nagasaki Airport is located in Omura City and connects the prefecture to the rest of Japan with frequent domestic flights as well as some international flights to China and Hong Kong.
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Unsurprisingly, Nagasaki City is the place to start if you are wondering what to do in Nagasaki. Nagasaki City houses the UNESCO World Heritage ‘Hidden Christian Sites of Nagasaki’, which includes the Gothic-style Oura Cathedral, which is the oldest wooden church in Japan.
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For anyone wondering what to do in Nagasaki City once the sun goes down, the city is known for its spectacular night view, which can best be seen from Mount Inasa. The view from Mount Inasa Observatory is considered one of the top 3 night views in all of Japan and it can be easily accessed by ropeway. The view is also pleasant during that day for visitors who may want to enjoy a small hike.
Nagasaki Peace Park
Nagasaki Peace Park is a large park in Nagasaki City commemorating the atomic bombing of the area on August 9th in 1945. Nagasaki Peace Park is made up of two parks and a museum, there is also a memorial hall for the victims of the bombing. One of these parks is the Memorial Park, which contains the iconic Peace Statue, a large fountain, as well as other memorials. The Hypocenter Park is located in the center of Nagasaki Peace Park, it holds a black monolith marking which marks the epicenter of the explosion. Nearby you can find the Atomic Bomb Museum where visitors learn about some of the devastating effects of the war.
Sasebo City is the second largest of the prefecture and it is a popular place amongst people living in Nagasaki. The city includes part of Saikai National Park, containing the Kujiku Islands, a collection of serene islands that can be accessed by ferry.
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Huis Ten Bosch
Huis Ten Bosch, in Sasebo City, is a theme park recreating The Netherlands. It is named after a royal residence in The Hague and translates to “house in the woods”. Not only does the park have a variety of theme park attractions and Dutch-inspired buildings and windmills, but it also has season flower displays in the gardens and boat rides down the canals.
The Shimabara peninsula is home to some beautiful Nagasaki attractions. The peninsula is made up of Shimabara City, Unzen City, Obama, and Minami-Shimabara City.
Unzen Onsen and National Park
Unzen National Park, in the center of the peninsula, is where you can find the peaceful Unzen onsen town. The resort town attracts visitors from all across Japan and the World. Also in the area, visitors can enjoy the large array of walking trails.
The active volcano, Mount Unzen is the highest peak in Nagasaki prefecture and has some breathtaking views for anyone who hikes up it. It is particularly scenic during the changes in season. In springtime the lands are covered with pink azaleas and in autumn it becomes a palette of browns, reds, greens, yellows, and oranges.
Shimabara Castle and City
If you are visiting the prefecture and planning out what to do in Nagasaki, make sure to include a day trip to Shimabara City. It is famous for the large Shimabara Castle, which was first built in 1964. Nearby, visitors can also walk down the ‘Samurai Street’, a street lined with a spring water canal and stone walls with three restored samurai houses with open exhibits. Not only does the city have impressive historical sites, but it is also part of the Unzen-Amakusa National Park, so it’s rich with natural beauty too.