Long before the arrival of the first Europeans, Nagasaki was a major center of trade with China. Long-standing Chinese influence clearly felt today. Taking advantage of the repression that Christians subjected to in the 17th century, Chinese Zen monks founded Buddhist temples built in the style of the late Ming dynasty.
On a more mundane and modern level, the most popular meal in Nagasaki at lunchtime a solid cup of nutritious changpon – Chinese noodles in a savory fish broth filled with mushrooms, fish pieces, shrimp, vegetables and other foods.
Street in Nagasaki
Near the centrally located train station, you can find the first sign of a Portuguese presence in the city’s exciting history. The Monument to the 26 Christian Martyrs, executed in 1597 (at the initial stage of the persecution of Catholicism) , has its own small museum of relics, including a wafer that has come down to us in a dried form from the 17th century. The museum tells how other Christians boiled alive in the hot springs of nearby Unzen in 1615. Naturally, one should not forget that in those days Catholics, Protestants and Jews often subjected to no less cruel torture in Europe.
Monument to the 26 Christian Martyrs
Even after the persecutions and the prohibition against being a Christian imposed on missionaries, the Catholics of Nagasaki managed – at great risk – to clandestinely practice Christianity during the reign of the Tokugawa shoguns. They even visited Buddhist temples to worship the female incarnations of the goddess Kannon, who were remade to represent Mary with the baby Jesus in her arms.
Dutch Protestants, however, who did not convert the Japanese to their faith, allowed to remain in the country throughout the centuries of isolation. Their small colony on Dejima Island in Nagasaki Bay sheltered the few remaining foreigners in Japan. Over time, the term “oranda-san”, that is, “Dutch”, in the country began to denote all foreigners.
To get a feel for the character of Nagasaki, start at the harbor. From the Ohata Port Terminal, you can enjoy an exciting 50-minute boat trip across the bay. Your boat will seem like a child’s toy next to the giant supertankers at the Mitsubishi shipyard. Currently the largest private shipyard in the world, in 1945 it was the target of the second atomic attack by the Americans, but the pilots of the B-52 missed. The Dejima Dam has reunited the once island Dutch concession with the mainland. Dejima History Museum (daily 9.00-17.00)exhibits interesting relics of the Dutch colony. A model of a neat little settlement, founded in 1609, created in front of the museum. The only Japanese people who could visit it were the Dutch trade partners and prostitutes. Commerce has always successfully overcome cultural barriers.
Port of NagasakiCity viewNagasaki at night
To see how the Dutch used to live, walk up the cobbled Hollander Slope (tram 5 to Ishibashi) , where there are several redbrick and clapboard houses with colonial-style verandas and – a rare occurrence in Japan – towering chimneys. … These houses a kind of monument to the privileged position of those foreigners who allowed to live here.
British presence in Nagasaki in the 19th century. nostalgically immortalized in the hillside Glover Gardens, named after the prominent merchant of the era, Thomas Glover, and located just west of Hollander Slope. Escalators will take you to the homes of British merchants, which elegantly combine elements of Japanese and European architecture. Many Victorian trappings such as brocade furnishings, a piano, a massive mahogany sideboard and a large old gramophone and trumpet from Nippon-Ophone are of great interest to Japanese visitors.
Kofukuji (1620) became the first Zen Buddhist temple built by the Chinese after the Tokugawa shoguns banned Christianity and ordered their subjects to register as Buddhists. The picturesquely located temple with palm trees in the courtyard has architectural and sculptural design typical of South China. Upon prior request, the clergy will personally prepare a modest but delicious vegetarian meal for you. The beginning of the meal will be announced by the sounds of a large red “fish” gong.
The pride and adornment of the area is the Meganebashi double-arch bridge thrown across the Nakajima River, built in 1634 by the abbot of Kofukuji and the oldest of its kind in the country. On a calm day, the bridge reflected in the waters of the river looks like glasses. The narrow streets by the river lined with interesting antique shops, coffee shops and restaurants. The Sofukuji Temple (1629) is a fine example of late Ming dynasty architecture with its magnificent red-painted tower arched gate. In the courtyard there a huge iron cauldron, from which, during the famine in the 17th and 19th centuries. the poor were given rice gruel. Chinese statues of Buddha notable for their sometimes proud, sometimes joyful, sometimes meek appearance, which cannot be seen in the Buddhas of Japanese temples.
A few minutes’ walk east of the temple, the Nagasaki History and Culture Museum (8.30 am – 7 pm daily) displays local crafts, continental Asian art, painted screens depicting British and Dutch ships in the harbor, and large scale models illustrating different periods of history and development of the city.
Peace park in NagasakiSculptures of the parkPeace park
Peace Park located at the site of the epicenter of an atomic explosion, as a result of which 73,884 people died, 74,904 were injured, and 71,585 people miraculously remained unharmed. The hills surrounding the city prevented the spread of radioactive fallout. The park has a monumental sculpture by local artist Seibo Kitamura, which at the time of its opening in 1955 caused the most controversial assessments. The right hand of a massive male figure points to the sky – where the atomic charge exploded, warning of the ongoing threat of the use of nuclear weapons, and the left hand is set aside in a gesture symbolizing world peace. As in Hiroshima, one of the most exhilarating monuments is the ruins. This time, as a reminder, the remains of red brick and gray stone walls that belonged to the Urakami Catholic Church have been preserved.
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb MuseumMuseum exhibitsMuseum exhibits
It is impossible to imagine arriving in Nagasaki without visiting the Atomic Bomb Museum (daily May – August 8.30-18.30, September – April 8.30-17.30)not as imposing as the museum in Hiroshima, but therefore no less exciting. The exhibits tell about the preparations for the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the terrible effect of the explosion itself and its consequences. Simple objects like a molten bottle, charred remains of a kimono, and photographs of victims clearly demonstrate the destructive power of the atomic bomb. Museum curators have skillfully shared the strategic rationale for the bombing and its tragic consequences for the civilian population. As in the Hiroshima Museum, the main purpose of the exposition is not to evoke sympathy for the victims, but to call on humanity to nuclear disarmament in the name of the existence of our planet itself – “this must not happen again!”
A worthy end to a long day will be the ascent in a cable car to the top of Mount Inasa (332 m) , from which at the end of the day a breathtaking panorama of the city and its bay that lights up the lights opens up.