Located on the West of Kyushu island, Nagasaki is a magical land that stood up from the atomic bombing in Japan. The prefecture is well-known not only for its history but also for its beautiful scenery.
What to do in Nagasaki?
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Nagasaki Prefecture, take a look at this travel guide for ideas of what to see and do in Nagasaki.
Get on the Shinkansen to Nagasaki
Taking the Shinkansen should be on your travel list to Japan.
On your trip to Nagasaki, you can enjoy an efficient and speedy round trip train ride on the Shinkansen between Hakata station in Fukuoka and Nagasaki station with Nagasaki Shinkansen 1 day pass.
Alternatively, if you have Japan Rail Pass, you can also take a Shinkansen to Nagasaki.
Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in Japan, and it has many tasty dishes. I would recommend having lunch or dinner here.
What to eat in Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown?
A visit to Nagasaki city without trying Nagasaki Champon would be a huge miss!
Introduced from China in the 50s, Champon (ちゃんぽん, Chanpon) has become a famous Nagasaki specialty throughout Japan.
Nagasaki Champon is a cheap, nutritious meal with thick noodles and other ingredients such as seafood, meat, and vegetables. The broth is usually made from chicken or pork bones.
Besides Champon, having a quick bite of Kakuni-man is also a great choice!
Travel Back In Time To Dejima
Have you ever heard of Dejima – the only trading port between Japan and Europe?
Built in 1636, Dejima was a human-made island at the tip of the cape of Nagasaki.
Dejima had an exciting story because it was first made to house and separate the Portuguese and the Japanese, but then the Portuguese got expelled from Japan, and the Dutch moved in.
Dejima was the primary place for exchange between Japan and Holland for over 200 years from the 17th to the 19th century.
Although Dejima is no longer an island, you can still see some historical structures restored on this island, and it’s exciting to catch a glimpse of what life was like for the Dutch traders in Nagasaki.
Open hours: 8 am to 6 pm
Admission fee: Adult (510 Yen), Highschool student (200 Yen), Elementary and Junior High school student (100 Yen)
Wander around Nagasaki Dutch Slope
Another exciting place to visit in Nagasaki if you’re into the history between the Dutch and the Japanese is Nagasaki Dutch slope or known as Oranda-Zaka.
After the opening of the Nagasaki’s port to foreign trade in 1859, many foreigners, or individually – Dutch people, started to live here.
Nowadays, the Nagasaki Dutch slope is a beautiful place to understand the cultural differences between the old days and modern ones.
You can see old European-style houses while walking on a stone-paved street that leads to the hill.
These houses are well-reserved, and some are opened to the public, such as Higashi Yamate 13 Former Residence.
It’s worth wandering around and getting lost in this older part of the city.
For Higashi Yamate 13 Former Residence:
Open hours: 10 am to 5 pm
Admission fee: Free
Admire the view from the Glover Garden
If you’re around Nagasaki Dutch Slope, why not pay a visit to Glover Garden – an open-air museum located on the top of the hill.
You can spend a few hours walking around the lovely gardens, entering Western-style buildings, and taking a look inside those well-preserved rooms.
The Glover garden also offers a beautiful view of the port and the houses nearby, so having a coffee while admiring the view is also a great idea.
Open hours: 8 am to 6 pm (or until 9:30 pm in the summer and peak seasons)
Admission fee: 610 Yen
Oura Catholic Church
Would you like to visit the oldest church in Japan? Come to Oura Catholic Church!
Located close to Glover Garden, it’s very convenient to visit both places at the same stop.
The Oura Catholic church has a significant historical value thanks to its age and being the location for the discovery of the Hidden Christians.
Visiting Oura church, you will get a chance to see the interior design with the contemporary European architecture, and learn about the history of the site.
Open hours: 8 am to 6 pm
Admission fee: 1000 Yen
The steep admission fee includes entrance to a museum about the history of Christianity in Japan.
Take a look at Meganebashi Bridge
Meganebashi is a bridge over the Nakashima River in Nagasaki city.
Built in 1634, it is believed to be the oldest arched stone bridge in Japan and has been recognized as a valuable cultural property.
Meganebashi Bridge is also known as the Glass bridge thanks to the reflection of the bridge over the river. It looks like glasses if you look from a far distance.
Learn more about the history from Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
Nagasaki was one of two cities in Japan, along with Hiroshima, that suffered the atomic bomb disaster in World War II. Millions of Japanese people died and injured due to this disaster.
The destruction of the atomic bomb left was indelible, although peace and economic recession were restored.
Although I’ve learned about this disaster in History class, it was real and haunting to visit this museum and learn about the suffers from the atomic bomb. It was regrettable to see the damages caused by the Atomic bombing on people and construction.
Open hours: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm
Admission fee: Adult (200 Yen), Students (100 Yen)
Visit Nagasaki Peace Park
Along with the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Museum, Nagasaki Peace Park was built with the meaning of commemorating the victims of sacrifice in the war.
The park was built on a low hill in the north where was devastated by the atomic bomb.
Nagasaki Peace Park was constructed to pray for World peace and present the hope that the atomic bomb tragedy will never happen again with the statue symbolizing the desire for peace.
The park is divided into five areas, including Peace Memorial Hall, Nagasaki bell, Crane paper tower, and the monument that was built from donations from countries around the world.
Open hours: 8:30 am to 6:30 pm (or 5:30 pm from September to April)
Admission fee: 200 Yen
Enjoy a beautiful night view of Nagasaki
Considered as one of the three best city viewpoints of the world, the view from Mount Inasa will bring you a memorable experience on your trip to Nagasaki.
The night view from the observation tower at the top of Mt. Inasa looking across the river down to Nagasaki city is gorgeous, as you can see the light and the busy life of Nagasaki.
The best time to visit Mount Inasa is just before sunset, so you will get to see day and night view of the city.
Tips: The ropeway ride takes five minutes and costs 720 yen (one way) or 1230 yen (round trip)
Have a fun day at Huis Ten Bosch (ハウステンボス)
Have you ever thought of visiting Amsterdam in Japan?
If you love amusement park or looking for interesting things to do in Nagasaki, take a train to Huis Ten Bosch – a Dutch theme park in Sasebo Nagasaki.
If you’re a nature lover, why not take a journey to experience the Kujukushima islands when you are around Sasebo?
Kujukushima is translated as 99 islands, which are the charming scattered little islands in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture. Those islands are also seen on the opening credits of the famous Tom Cruise film “The Last Samurai.”
You can book the Kujukushima sightseeing cruise ticket and explore the beautiful natural wonders of the Kujukushima islands with a 50-minute ride on the Pearl Queen (a white, multi-deck ferry) or Pirate Boat Mirai (the first electric-powered eco-boat).
Although you won’t be able to get on the islands, you will get a really close look at them and admire the breathtaking scenery.