(English only, this time!)
Nagasaki prefecture, even though not THE most popular tourist destination, is actually one of my most favorite prefectures in Japan (at least so far, – I haven’t been to all prefectures yet!). Here are the reasons, why I think you should come all the way down to Kyushu to explore this place:
I didn’t really expect that, when I visited Nagasaki prefecture for the first time, but the nature there is beautiful, and you can enjoy a little bit of everything: beaches, mountains, forests and waterfalls and, of course, onsen. If possible, rent a car and drive along the coastline and around the prefecture once.
2. Nagasaki’s war history
The atomic bombing on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945 that killed thousands of people and destroyed most of the city in an instant, should forever be remembered to remind us of the horrors of war and the importance of peace. In Nagasaki, you can visit the Peace Park that was built near the hypocenter of the explosion of the bomb, with its famous 10m – tall Peace Statue. It is next to the Atomic Bomb Museum and the Memorial Peace Hall, which are of course a must-see too.
3. The Nagasaki Lantern Festival
You won’t think so at first, but Nagasaki city is actually very multicultural, and it especially seems to be connected to China, due to a long history of trade. This means, there is not only a Chinatown to be found in the city, but every year in February (this year it was from February 19 to March 5), a huge lantern festival takes place. During that time, the city is decorated with as many as 15.000 lanterns that look beautiful at night. There are also a Chinese dragon dance, and other traditionally Chinese performances taking place during the festival.
4. Japanese-European History
Other than with China, Nagasaki also has a long history of trade with European countries. The Portuguese arrived there first in the 16th century, and in the 17th and 18th century, during the so-called sakoku – period at the time of the Tokugawa shogunate, Dejima, an artificial island in the bay of Nagasaki, was the only place in Japan, where foreign trade was allowed to a certain extent, but only for the Dutch. Further, although banned in the 17th century, Christianity spread widely in the area, and there can still be found many churches here. If you are interested in Japanese history, Nagasaki is the place for you!
5. Mt. Inasa
Last but not least, there is Mt. Inasa, a small mountain close to Nagasaki’s city center. From the top of the 333 meter high mountain, you can see one of Japan’s most beautiful night views (the other two being from Mt. Hakodate in Hokkaido and from Mt. Rokko in Kansai). The top can be easily reached by ropeway, bus or car, so be sure to prepare your camera for Nagasaki’s sparkling city lights!
Have you ever been to Nagasaki? What is your must-see prefecture in Japan?