Tag Archives: Kyushu

Must-See Sites in Nagasaki

As I may have already mentioned once or twice, I really enjoyed the town of Nagasaki. The combination of the nice people, great weather and interesting sites made it just an awesome place to visit in Kyushu. I was only there for a day and a half, but here are some things I did that are worth checking out if you’re ever in town.

1) Glover Garden

Glover Garden is a beautiful spot that overlooks the Nagasaki harbor. It was named after the merchant Thomas Glover who moved there from Scotland in the mid 1800s. Nagasaki was brimming with foreign merchants as was a free trade port. In addition to having stunning scenic views and beautiful flowers, the garden also has preserved old merchant homes on the property. The hike up to garden from the port is also a cute old shopping street.

2) Chinatown

Japan’s oldest Chinatown is located right here in Nagasaki. It was created as early as the 17th century due to the trading that was done with China. It’s not a particularly large Chinatown, but it does have many good restaurants, including some great spots to eat the delicious local dish, champon.





3) Meganebashi (Spectacles Bridge)

The Nakajima River runs right through the center of Nagasaki City and is definitely what makes the area so beautiful. It is dotted with many stone bridges, the most famous one being Meganebashi, also known as Spectacles Bridge because the reflection of the bridge in the river makes it look like a pair of spectacles. When I was in town, the weather was amazing and you could find many people sitting by it and enjoying the day with friends. By Meganebashi you can find many giant koi fish that are very used to people and will follow you around begging for food. This bridge was just a few minutes away from my hostel so I spent a lot of time here and loved it.

4) Kazagashira Park

I couldn’t make it to the infamous battleship island (more on that below), so on Wednesday morning I decided to hike up a mountain to see Kazagashira Park instead. I wasn’t at all prepared for just how many steps were involved to get there, so the hike up did prove to be quite a workout. But when I did (finally) make it up there, I was rewarded by a fantastic view of the city from the observatory deck, as well as the many beautiful cherry blossoms trees that were blooming. This place isn’t quite as popular as Mt. Inasa, but it is also a great treat if you are up for the hike.

5) Peace Park

On my last visit to Japan, I visited Hiroshima and saw their Peace Park and A-Bomb museum. In Nagasaki, I skipped the museum this time because of a lack of time, but did make it over the Peace Park as well as the hypocenter park a few hundred meters away. The Peace Park has some great statues and art pieces that were given from other countries, as well as a giant Peace statue as the main event. I first visited the Peace Park at night which was a mistake because the statues look haunting and I couldn’t help but feel that the many cats that roam in the area carried the souls of those who lost their lives that day. Take my advice and go during the day when its not so creepy.

6) Dejima

Nagasaki has a very interesting history which includes a period of isolation where all international trade was stopped other than Chinese and Dutch trade. Dejima is a district that housed Dutch traders back in the 17th century – the Dutch traders were in fact kept isolated in that area. Most of the houses and werehouses there were built as replicas of what used to stand, but you can see the real stone foundation below which is pretty cool. Dejima used to be an island but other places have been built up around it starting in the 20th century.

Where I plan to go on my next visit:

1) Gunkanjima (Battleship Island)

I was really bummed when I found out that there weren’t any English tours available the day I wanted to go to Battleship Island (I’m kicking myself for not just tagging along with a Japanese tour.) Gunkanjima was essentially a large coal mine, and got its nickname because its 5,000 residents were all housed in tall buildings that all together resembled a large battleship. In the 70’s the mines were closed and everyone was forced to leave. Because of the typhoons that have hit, the buildings have since then started to fall apart – in fact, you can only visit the island as a tour group and can’t get too close to the buildings because they may collapse. It sounds so freakin’ cool, I am definitely going to make it over next time.

2) Mount Inasa

Who doesn’t love a good ropeway! Mount Inasa boasts the best panoramic views in Nagasaki, and you get to take a fun ropeway on your way to the top. At over 300 meters high, you can get a great view of the port and Nagasaki city. Also, Mount Inasa is known to be one of Japan’s top three best night views.

3) Penguin Aquarium

It’s a little bit of a trek since its outside Nagasaki City, but hello penguins that you can pet!? ‘Nuff said.

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Can You Hear My Heart Beating Like a Hammer?

Do you remember as a kid having your friends bury you in sand at the beach? Or maybe burying your friend as a prank? Well, that’s exactly what Tim and I paid ¥1000 to have done to us today! Except this time it was at a spa called Saraku Sunamushi Onsen on the southern coast of Japan in a small town called Ibusuki. Ibusuki beaches are known for being hot from the natural subterranean geysers below. In fact, if you were to dig a hole in the beach with a shovel you would see steam rising from the sand. So cool, right? While we were simmering in our bath I noticed how my whole body was pulsating from my heart beat – the hot sand is supposed to be great for improving blood circulation. The hot sand bath only lasts for about 10 minutes because it’s so warm and they don’t want you to overheat, but the experience was superb nonetheless. Both Tim and I were about to fall asleep while we were tucked into the sand beds. The view of the water and the mountains in the skyline was also great! After we got out we went into our respective gender-divided bathhouses where I leisurely swam in the hot spa and relaxed in the 83 degree celcius sauna. We both came out of the resort feeling ridiculously chill and refreshed. I could get used to this lifestyle.

Before: Stoked for our hot sand bath!!


After: So happy and warm while buried!!


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