In September 2017, after our successful trip to Huis ten Bosch in Sasebo, we headed out to Nagasaki. When I was a kid, we were hammered with the WWII stories at school. And of course, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had their own chapter in the history books. When I was thinking of Nagasaki, I couldn’t stop imagining how the city would look after the bombing. Was it still safe? Is it still flourishing? Basically, I had no idea what to expect. This trip set my image of Nagasaki straight.
(Wait, your title says part 2? Did I miss part 1? Yes, you did :p. I wrote a blog for APU, but it was too long for their webpage. Therefore they cut my road trip story in half. In the APU’s half, I wrote about my experiences of my trip to Huis ten Bosch in Sasebo. I recommend you read that one first 😀 MY MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE IN JAPAN.)
The next morning we left Sasebo, and we went to Nagasaki. Sasebo to Nagasaki is only an hour’s drive. Nagasaki is a big city with quite some history. Our objective for our trip to Nagasaki was to learn more about the horrible history of the Second World War. We went to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. We all, most likely, were taught about the atrocities that Nagasaki had suffered. However, I was still shocked to read all about the bombing and the visual representations of the event. We had spent about two hours in the museum as there was much to read about. I recommend you to go to this museum as this is a significant page of mankind’s history. Just in front of the museum, you will find Ground Zero (epicenter). The experience of standing there was quite unforgettable.
(There was a smudge on my GoPro, I had no idea until I checked my pictures on my laptop. My apologies)
I remember standing at the epicenter and thought of all the people that lost their lives in a time when mankind was at its worst. The feeling that went through me was surreal. I couldn’t imagine it as it is unfathomable. Destruction at such a scale wiped an entire city, and I was standing there where it all happened 72 years ago.
After we visited the museum, it was time to cheer up. I felt quite down, as the pictures at the museum and standing at Ground Zero really had an impact on me. One of my wishes was to visit Dejima. In the Edo era, only two countries were allowed to trade with the Japanese, namely, China and the Netherlands. The Dutch were only allowed to do business in one location, which was Dejima. It was a great experience to walk through the quarters.
Dejima is a small area with cabin-like houses, and the area is quite tiny, located at the sea lake. Dejima had been turned into a museum. You could read about all the Dutch people who traveled to Japan and the goods they had brought from Indonesia and Europe in these houses. Japan and the Netherlands have been doing trade with each other for over 400 years. You could feel the pride in Dejima, or maybe it was just me feeling proud of my country. Most likely, the latter :p.
Coincidentally, there was a festival in Nagasaki. We were unaware that this festival was held at that time. It is called the Kunchi festival. As we were walking through the city center, Japanese men were carrying a ship with the Portuguese flag, and they would run about through the streets passing the shops whilst chanting. I believe they were bringing blessings to the shop owners. Around the city center, there were many stands with lots of food and snacks. The Matsuri (festival) was ten times bigger than the one we had in Beppu. The stands were along the dock by the sea. It was a fantastic sight. We just had finished Dejima, and we decided to go for lunch, and we just walked into a big event without knowing.
There was lots of music. The streets were crowded with people. The Japanese were wearing their traditional clothes (yukatas and kimonos). The weather was great, and lots of food and drinks. We were delighted to experience such a great event!
Later that evening, we roamed around the city, and in the end, we went on top of Mt. Inasa by ropeway. Here we had a Nagasaki night view. The entire city was emitting light, and it was very bright. It was a great way to end our Nagasaki trip. If you are ever in Kyushu, please go to Nagasaki. You will not regret it.
EDIT 24 July 2019: A friend of mine with whom I went on this trip reminded me of another thing we had stumbled upon. When we came down the mountain after our evening city view, we just walked randomly towards an area, and we saw a huge cruise ship.
The ship was massive, and we were in awe, so we had to see it up close. When we arrived at the cruise ship, we came across two sailormen who were members of that cruise ship. They came from Italy, and we had a nice talk about their occupation and Japan. They were wondering where they could eat good Japanese food. We advised them to walk into a random alley or perhaps try to get “lost” in the streets. There are food stores in the weirdest places, but everything is safe, and the food too. After having a friendly chat with the sailormen, we headed back to our guesthouse in Sasebo.
My friends and I remember the most is the vibe the streets had in Nagasaki, especially at night. It was very friendly and cheerful. People had a great time, and the streets were full of people. Nagasaki is a safe city, and do not worry about any radiation issues. Nagasaki is a beautiful city, and I would love to visit it more often.
I hope you enjoyed reading both my blogs about my trip to Sasebo and Nagasaki. Japan is a beautiful country, the people are very kind, and there is much to discover. My intention with these two blogs was to bring Japan closer to you and convey a message on how remarkable it is to travel through Japan. My next blog will be about my trip through Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo. The coming blog will be more about tips and tricks, budget, etc. I received lots of questions on what to expect when traveling through Japan, and I will dedicate this blog to that.
As always, thank you for reading!