When you come to Kyushu (especially Fukuoka, and soon we hope !) be sure to save a day or two for Nagasaki. It’s just about a two hour trip by special express train from Fukuoka, with plenty to see along the way. My favorite is the twenty minutes, or so, along the coast of the Ariake Sea. I don’t know why, but there is just something mysterious about the Ariake. Maybe because it’s an inland sea. Be warned that the weather is often rainy, though that adds an extra beauty to most places in Japan. Clouds almost always put on a good show, too.
Nagasaki is, of course, most famous for the atomic bomb museum and peace park and those are places I hope everyone in the world will see someday so we can decide together to get rid of those horrible weapons. Though there are reminders of what happened and the consequence of it in many places, the city is a bustling tourist spot and life goes on, as life is wont to do. It’s possible to be in Nagasaki and hardly be aware of the bombing at all; sad though that is.
Walking is what I like best. When the weather is mild and I’m feeling especially confident, I tackle the hills, which remind me of San Francisco. Most times, I’m more than happy to stay on the flat and enjoy a relaxing loop that stays near the train station and is easy to walk. From the ticket wicket, you go out to the main street and turn right. Pass the department store and hotel that are part of the station and cross the first street you come to. On your right you’ll see a bridge that goes over the harbor,and probably some marine activity. Keep going a bit and then turn right wherever strikes you for the next several streets. A very short walk will bring you to the harbor (if you see Youme Town in front of you just walk a bit more to your left) and Dejima port. Chances are there will be lots of yachts and maybe a few sailing ships, and maybe even a cruise ship. There are several places to eat, drink and get fat.
Just past the harbor is the art museum, which is really beautiful inside and out.I recommend going a bit past the museum and through the park looking to your left for a red brick building. That’s the old British Consulate. Behind the consulate is a narrow road at the foot of Dutch Slope.If you walk 50 meters to the right, you’ll come to Hotel Monterey, a beautiful boutique hotel with a tiny alcohol lamp museum and great restaurant (tasty, tasty lunch.) The lamp museum only takes a few minutes and you’re sure to get a good social media pic.
Now it’s back the way you came on the narrow street but go past the consulate and just keep going for about ten minutes and you’ll come to China Town with it’s many restaurants. Have a really good tapioca dessert, and rest a minute. From China Town you keep heading in the same direction ( basically back towards the train station) and you’ll come to a wonderful thing about older Japanese cities, the shopping arcade.
Arcades used to be everywhere (the word in Japanese is shotengai) in Japan. They are streets that are closed to traffic with shops of all varieties and a roof. Nagasaki has a really nice one that is a few square blocks and has anything you might want.If you’ve been heading in the same direction since China Town, the train station is now a ten minute walk to left.
All of this walk centers around the trolley car line that runs in front of the station and is also a great way to get a bit further than this walk has taken you. On the one end is Glover House and a beautiful view of the harbor, and on the other end is the Peace Park.You might consider staying overnight, too. Just do a search for “nagasaki night view” and you’ll see why.
Many of the places that are usually listed as must see sites in Nagasaki are close to this walk, like the “glasses bridge,” and temples built by Chinese merchants, and Dejima, not to mention a temple shaped like a turtle. Looking at a map of Nagasaki, just look to the south and east of Nagasaki Station, and you’ll see where to go.