Many people knows Nagasaki for a not very pleasant reason, but it's no fault of the city really. However, I have to confess how Nagasaki emerged like a reborn phoenix from a devastated city into a sparkling pearl in the post war era made me captivated!
Hopefully my short post on Nagasaki can share more prominence what this city currently brings. Let us begin from Nagasaki Station!
Nagasaki does not have the privilege being served by the Shinkansen, but I don't see the need for it really. Basically because Nagasaki city center is already very congested, any Shinkansen station will likely have to be built in the outskirt of the city, which makes the extra travelling distance difficult to justify, not to mention cost, especially if it has to be fully underground otherwise. The need to traverse to Fukuoka, the major hub in Kyushu, is currently serves by a 2-hour train ride, or alternatively, a 2.5 hours highway bus. The picture above shows Nagasaki's central bus station on its left, with Nagasaki train station on the right, and the streetcars as well as road vehicles dividing them in-between.
Without further delay, let's jump onto a streetcar and start exploring Nagasaki!
Nagasaki's streetcar is cheap, regardless of distance, per trip cost merely ¥120. But it's worthwhile getting a 1 Day pass for just ¥500 if you travel more than a few places in a day, save you some transfer hassle, especially if you don't speak Japanese. Get it from major hotels or tourist information center. Last I knew, it wasn't available on the streetcar.
Pictured here is probably their oldest series streetcar on the road, and still oozes a romantic effervescence from the Taisho era!
My first destination seeking love... is Meganebashi, which means Spectacle Bridge in English. When you look at the bridge with its arch reflection, doesn't it seem like a round rim spectacle? Meganebashi was actually built in 1634 under another name, but had only been renamed Meganebashi in 1882 because of this visual effect (maybe because that's the era when spectacles were introduced to Japan??). Meganebashi is also one of Japan's 3 most famous bridges, along with Kintaikyo in Yamaguchi, and Nihonbashi in Tokyo.
To get to Meganebashi, alight at streetcar stop Nigiwaibashi, from where it's a few minutes' walk. No worry, knowing Japan, there will be sign posts guiding you there from where you alight.
I did mention I was seeking love didn't I?
Wait a minute, what were you thinking?? Red light district? Come on, my mum will slaughter me for that! LOL!
Underneath Meganebashi nearby, if you can spot this heart-shaped stone and make a wish, you may be blessed with blissful love eternally! You may not believe it, it doesn't matter, but you have to salute the Japanese for coming out such gimmicks! And by the way, there are believers who actually put a ¥5 coin on top of the heart-shaped stone, which has the meaning of a divine blessing. So if you simply add one to one, it means you will enjoy double blessing power!
In Nagasaki, there are 3 power spots where you can find such loves, and if you are inspired, follow me in my following post!
Next destination, Glover Garden!
By now, if you are still not aware, Nagasaki was one of the earliest Japanese ports opened to foreign trade. As such, there was a large community of European settlement here, some of the most prominent ones stayed here, such as Thomas Blake Glover, a Scottish merchant who contributed to the modernization of Japan in shipbuilding, coal mining, and 'OTHER' fields.
You can choose to alight from streetcar at either O-Uratenshudoshita or Ishibashi, the latter having the convenience of a lift to go right to the top of Glover Garden.
If you choose to alight at O-Uratenshudoshita, you will pass by O-Ura Church (O-Ura Tenshudo) before reaching Glover Garden. This is the oldest church in Japan, and was designated as a National Treasure in 1933 and again on March 31, 1953 under the 1951 Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties. It was the first Western-style building in Japan to be given this honour.
There are many historical buildings within Glover Garden, however, if I list them all here, it may be a tad too heavy for some readers (History are heavy, LOL!). Hence, pardon me for being selective on this aspect.
Anyway, soon as you paid at the entrance (¥610), you shall see a travelator by the side, which will then bring you to the top of Glover Garden, from where you will traverse down slope to appreciate the entire garden, a very thoughtful foresight by the authority! And if you have taken the Ishibashi route in the first place, you will gain access to the garden via Sky Road, which will eventually lead you here too, the Old Mitsubishi Wharf 2 Hostel, where you will have an excellent view of Nagasaki.
In name, it was a hostel, but the setting was very much a mansion, with a breath-taking view of Nagasaki, most notably, Mount Inasa.
The former Jiyu-tei restaurant, the very first western restaurant in entire Japan!
Tamaki Miura, who played Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly, where the story was based right here in Glover Garden.
Last but not least, the former Thomas Glover residence. He was the prominent character who provided guns to rebel forces against the Empire (Oops, I mean the Bakufu... too much Star Wars... me bad. But good thing I didn't mention lightsabres huh?!), and also brought the first steam locomotive to Japan. So perhaps, he could boldly tell Hideo Shima-san and Eiji Mitooka-san, "I am your father...(in terms of bringing forth Japan's railway revolution)". That is, if he is still alive this day.
I know you must be curious how a Japan once powerful figure's living room looks like, well, here it is. Nothing fanciful by today's standard, but I suppose must be considered lavishing in the olden days.
Oh! Found it!
I must confess I didn't do much research before coming Kyushu, and I was so excited finding the 2nd heart in this trip. But that was also the problem... actually, there's another heart-shaped stone in Glover Garden which I wasn't aware of, and I only found out upon leaving Japan. Somebody send me back to Nagasaki please!
Behind I end my trip in Glover Garden, I absolutely have to share about Nagasaki Museum of Traditional Performing Arts. You can see there are some floats, boats, and dragons they used during the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival. These are so vibrant and colourful that even though they stayed motionless, I could feel the pulsating atmosphere when they were used during the festival!
There was still time before last light, and I made it a point to visit Nagasaki's Shinchi Chinatown near Tsukimachi. Japan has 3 main Chinatown, in Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagasaki respectively. By far, Nagasaki's Shinchi Chinatown is the smallest among them. I could still get lost in the other two, but shops here are systematically laid along a cross junction, it's pretty easy to navigate. I believe it would be prettier if I came around night time, but sorry, I would have regretted it if I miss what I'm gonna introduce next.
This! This! This!
This is the highlight of my trip in Nagasaki, night view from Mount Inasa, one of 3 best night view in the world since 2012, along with Hong Kong's Victoria Peak and Monaco's La Condamine.
The city lights from the city are scintillating, that alone is worth all the effort coming here, especially with your love one.
Mount Inasa is quite some distance away from the nearest streetcar stop, so the easiest way to get here is to take bus number 3 or 4 in front of Nagasaki station, some 6 minutes later, when you see a large crowd alighting, don't hesitate, join them! Upon alighting, take a short flight of stairs up Fuchi Shrine. You may be misled by the crowd as if they are faithful devotees, chances are, they aren't. They are there to take the Nagasaki Ropeway to Mount Inasa. Yes, the station is hiding behind Fuchi Shrine. Upon reaching Inasa Dake station at the other end, it's a few minutes walk to Mount Inasa Observatory.
Right here, it's pretty easy to locate the 3rd heart, this time not a stone though.
I actually visited a few more attractions but I am constrained by the number of pictures I can post here (and I haven't even talk about Sasebo! |=.=|"). So before I end this post, let me share a picture on Dejima, once an island that then Japanese government restricted foreign traders to reside.
Nagasaki has a rich heritage, notably also with its role in overthrowing the Bakufu, and was a place that revolutionary hero Masaharu Fukuyama once reside (Agh... what am I doing, I meant, Ryoma Sakamoto! LOL!). It's worth spending more than 2 nights in Nagasaki, especially in the case of bad weather such as a heavy fog or storm, for missing the view from Mount Inasa because of bad weather will be a deep regret.
Oh, don't forget to savour Nagasaki cuisines such as Chapon (pictured above), Castella, Turkish (Toruko) Rice too!
Thank you and hope you have enjoyed reading my blog! (^.^)
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