Get closer to Japan by realizing its root in simple explanation. Now, let's take a journey of Japanese culture!
Nagasaki Prefecture has the largest number of islands in Japan.
Many of these remote islands, including the Goto Islands, are drawing the attention of a growing number of tourists.Nagasaki is easily accessible by either the Kyushu Shinkansen (bullet train) or via Nagasaki Airport. Many islands also have airports.
Nagasaki has an approximate area of 4130㎢ and an estimated population of 1.33 million people.Overall, the area enjoys a warm climate due to the Tsushima current coming in from the southwest.The climate is pleasant and temperatures are rarely extreme.However, it is located close enough to the Asian continent to experience some winter days when the temperature drops below 0°C.It can snow but it rarely settles.
Let’s now take a closer look at Nagasaki’s islands! You may have heard of some of these islands before.Some islands that have been registered as World Heritage Sites have been generating considerable attention and are definitely worth checking out.
1/ Tsushima Island 2/ Iki Island
3/ Oshima Island 4/ Gunkanjima
5/ Ukujima Island 6/ Hisaka Island
7/ Fukue Island 8/ Kashiragashima
9/ Wakamatsu Island 10/ Matsushima Island
These ten are only a few of the many remote islands to be found in the area.Most famous are The Goto islands.The Goto Islands include Fukue Island (7), Kashiragashima (8) and Wakamatsu Island (9).In 2018, “Hidden Christian sites in Nagasaki and Amakusa region” was registered as a World Heritage Site and one of the locations included is Kashiragashima (8).
The rare Kashiragashima sandstone church is not to be missed!A lot of people have also heard of Iki Island (2) due to the popularity of Iki beef and Iki Shochu.After a movie was filmed on Gunkanjima (4), it has since become one of Nagasaki’s leading tourist spots.
Back on the Nagasaki mainland, there are plenty of other attractions to see!Check out this list of places that make for a fun visit for young and old alike.
1/ Huis Ten Bosch
2/ Mt. Inasa
3/ Oura Church
4/ Glover Garden
5/ Meganebashi (Spectacles Bridge)
6/ Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
7/ Mukyudo (Air raid shelter built by school children)
8/ Yumihari Park
9/ Nanatsugama Limestone Cave
10/ Shimabara Castle
Huis Ten Bosch must be the most famous place on the list.This theme park has fun attractions for families with kids, it has shops, plenty of hotels and even wedding locations.
Mt. Inasa and Yumihari Park are well-known for their amazing night views.It’s the perfect destination for an evening date with someone special.Since we are talking about Nagasaki, we can’t forget the Atomic bombing that happened on August 9th 1945.On our visit to Nagasaki, may we learn just how important it is that this tragic event never happens again.How about adding the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb museum to your itinerary?
The cherry blossom season in Nagasaki can be enjoyed from the middle of March until the beginning of April.If you are visiting in early spring, we definitely recommend you visit one or more of the many parks famous for its cherry blossoms.
1/ Mt. Gongen Observatory Park
2/ Saikaibashi Park
3/ Omura Park
4/ Oyama Park
5/ Tachibana Park
Mt. Gongen Observatory Park has around 70 cherry blossom trees.That’s not a lot, but there is a reason why it’s so famous.Here you can enjoy cherry blossoms against sweeping views of the ocean and remote islands.You will be enchanted by the view of pink blossoms against the blue of the sky and ocean.In Omura Park, you will enjoy seeing around 2,000 cherry trees burst into bloom.At night, the park is lit up, so how about a romantic evening stroll under the blossoms?If spring is the season for cherry blossoms, then autumn is the time to check out the colorful autumn foliage.Visitors to Nagasaki can also find plenty of spots to enjoy beautiful autumn colors.
1/ Jufuku-ji Temple
2/ Nita Pass
3/ Shushi Momiji Kaido (Maple Tree Road in Shushi)
4/ Misoji-en Park
5/ Kin No Icho (Kinno gingko tree)
Jufuku-ji temple is popular due to its stunning prospect that looks just like a painting!For a short time in autumn, a special event is held.Part of a tatami floor board is removed in the hall of the temple and replaced with an acrylic board. Now you will see stunning autumn colors from the garden reflected upside down!The garden alone is a perfect spot to enjoy autumn colors, but add to it this unusual mirror effect and it’s a place you absolutely must see! Maple leaves probably come to mind first when thinking of autumn foliage. However, “Kin No Icho”, a large gingko tree in the grounds of Choshoji temple, Tsushima city, Nagasaki is also a spectacular sight to behold. The giant 1,500 year old Kin-no-ichō, with its brilliant yellow leaves, is definitely worth seeing.After an active day visiting different scenic spots, nothing beats a soak in an onsen (hot spring).Nagasaki has plenty of onsen resorts!Treat yourself to a relaxing evening soaking in an onsen by booking a stay at one of these onsen resorts.
Here is our carefully selected list of some of the best onsen resorts in Nagasaki.
1/ Unzen Onsen
2/ Shimabara Onsen
3/ Obama Onsen
4/ Inasayama Onsen
5/ Hirado Onsen
Unzen Onsen is a hot spring resort often called Kyushu island’s Karuizawa (popular resort town in Kanto).In pre-war Japan, it had a history of being used by foreign guests as a summer resort.Unzen Onsen has many Ryokans (Japanese-style inns) and hotels for you to choose from.
While enjoying the local sights and dipping in the hot springs, let's also try out Nagasaki’s local cuisine!Champon noodles might be Nagasaki's most famous dish, but there are many other dishes you’ll want to try too.
1/ Igirisu (savory jelly)
2/ Goto Udon Jigoku Daki (The Goto islands udon hot pot from hell)
3/ Rokube (sweet potato noodles)
4/ Rakuyaki Eel
5/ Hand pulled soumen noodles of Shimabara
Did you notice that most of the dishes on the list are noodles?The Goto Islands are famous for their Goto Udon Jigoku Daki.Goto udon is cooked in a large pot of boiling water and eaten with agodashi (flying fish broth).According to one theory, the unusual name came from overhearing people eating this dish saying, “Shigoku oishii” (so tasty) and mistaking it for “Jigoku oishii” (hellishly tasty).Rokube (3) are noodles made from mixing sweet potato flour with grated yam.It has a simple and mild flavor from the old days.If you are not familiar with sweet potato noodles, definitely give them a try!
Now, let’s take a look at some of Nagasaki’s sweets.All of them would make great souvenirs.But, make sure you also enjoy these sweets as much as you can during your stay in Nagasaki!
2/ Loquat jelly
3/ Kankoro Mochi
What is a trip to Nagasaki without bringing back some Castella?It has to be the most famous souvenir from Nagasaki!A small town called Mogi in Nagasaki is well-known for its Biwa, or loquats.We recommend you give some of these sweets made from Biwa a try!Biwa jelly is only lightly sweetened so it keeps the original flavor of the loquat. It’s a sweet treat that both old and young will love!
With so much to see and do, it seems a shame to travel all the way to Nagasaki to stay only one night.If you have time to spare, enjoy a visit to one of the islands too.Add an onsen experience to your itinerary, enjoy the unique local cuisine and you will surely have a happy and satisfying time enjoying all that Nagasaki has to offer.
It is my opinion and summary. Please acknowledge that there are various opinions.