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July 30, 2016 - Nagasaki City - Northern City Attractions
For my second day in Nagasaki, I visited quite a few temples along with a few of the main sites found in the northern section of the city. Most of the sites can be easily walked to apart from the Atomic Bomb Museum, where you can take a tram for 120 yen.
For today, I visited the following locations in order:
(1) Sofukuji Temple
(2) Kofukuji Temple
(3) Megane Bridge
(4) Nagasaki History Museum
(5) Shofukuji Temple
(6) Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
(7) Mt Inasa Ropeway
Located a 3 or 4 minute walk from a tram stop is the Chinese inspired Sofukuji Temple which costs 300 yen to enter. Even though it's not the largest temple, it was quite pretty along with being atmospheric.
The temple itself was built in 1629 and it's believed to have been inspired by the Chinese community living in Nagasaki for trade at the time. It should also be noted that there are often Japanese and English explanations of main temples by the Nagasaki city council which gives basic information.
It should be noted that there are quite a few temples in the general area between Sofukuji Temple and Kofukuji Temple. However - these temples are not too impressive and can be missed if you are short on time. As mentioned above, each temple has an english explanation at the front of each temple.
As it was around lunch - I decided to get the Tempura lunch set for 1,400 yen. I thought was was reasonably cheap - and I can confirm as the quality of the sashimi was reasonably average.
The next major temple I visited was Kofukuji Temple, which was built in 1620 and costs 300 yen to enter. This temple was of a reasonable quality and there is a small Zen garden up the back. It's also interesting to see that they have a sign saying there is a gate in a certain location to stop wild pigs getting into the garden.
My next stop was the pretty Megane bridge which has carp swimming up the river along with one stone in the shape of a heart. Due to this - this place gets some tourists but it was reasonably quiet when I visited.
A further 5 minute walk from the Megane bridge is the Nagasaki History and Culture Museum. At present, it costs 600 yen to enter the permanent exhibition or 1000 yen to enter the temporary exhibition showing "Evangelion". Alternatively - it's 1200 yen for a combo ticket.
For me, the clear highlight of the museum was the temporary exhibition showing Evangelion - an anime which is rather famous and quite important. The exhibition shows many drawings (and I mean many) showing how the characters were going to be drawn even to how the story would unfold. For a layman such as myself, it was extremely interesting even though I could not understand the Japanese writing. For people who like anime and art in general, this will be an important exhibition. For others - you might just see it as some pictures on a wall. Note there is almost no english signage in this exhibition.
The second part of the museum was the disappointing permanent exhibition which does have good english explanations. It's an odd thing to say - but it seems as though mostly non-Japanese tourists were found in the permanent exhibition and only Japanese in the temporary exhibition. The temporary exhibition was the more busy of the two - but allowed no photography while the permanent exhibition does.
At present, the permanent exhibition has recreated a government office which is meant to be a highlight of their museum. I've seen much different things in China such as the following:
My next stop which was a 5 minute walk from the museum was the quiet but pretty Shofukuji Temple. This temple is free to enter and has some english signage provided by the Nagasaki government which is reasonably helpful.
My second last location visited was the Nagasaki Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Museum. It should be noted that the peace park is currently being repaired so does not look it's best - along with both being opposite sides of a street.
On the other side of the street is the Epicentre with the museum being up a 3-4 minute uphill walk. As you can see - there are lots of paper cranes here. Even I remember making these to present here when some of my teachers were going to Hiroshima or Nagasaki when I was in high school
The museum costs 200 yen to enter and it's definitely worth it. There is a lot of english and Japanese explanations which really helps understand what it was like at the time and the cause of the explosion itself. Of the 240,000 people that lived in Nagasaki at the time, 70,000 died instantly and the same died as a cause of the radiation. If it was not for the hilly terrain of Nagasaki - it could have been much worse.
My last stop in Nagasaki was the Mt Inasa ropeway which was 1230 yen to get up and down. As it was a Saturday night in late July - there was a large firework display in the city which means it was much busier than usual
To get to the ropeway - catch the tram to Takaramachi and then follow the signs for around 15 minutes. It's a bit over 1km to the base of the cable car which also has a shrine at the base.
Nagasaki's night view is known as being in the top three in the world, with the others being in Monaco and Hong Kong. The clouds are the remnants of the fireworks from earlier in the evening.
As you can see - Nagasaki is a really pretty city. For tomorrow - I will be going to Unzen Onsen which is meant to have really acidic water along with a hell valley.
Nagasaki History Museum: http://www.nmhc.jp/global/english_leaf.pdf (English)
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum: http://atomicbombmuseum.org/ (English)
Nagasaki Ropeway: http://nagasaki-ropeway.jp/pdf/English.pdf (English)