Top 5 Spots in Nagasaki to Experience Culture and History

Nagasaki, which is a popular sightseeing spot in Kyushu, has many places where one can experience unique culture and history. This article introduces 5 of the most popular spots in recent years.


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1. Kujukushima Islands and Kuroshima Island Catholic Church (Sasebo City)

Kujukushima Islands are a group of small islands located at the northwestern part of Nagasaki Prefecture. This group of islands is known as one of the scenic spots of Sasebo, which you can visit via pleasure cruiser. Among these islands, it is worth visiting Kuroshima Island, which was once home to an oppressed group of early Christians in Japan. It is also worth visiting the Kuroshima Island Catholic Church, which is a beautiful church built in a Romanesque style and is designated as one of Japan’s Important Cultural Properties. Look out for the designs on the ceiling, which have been created in a "Rib Vault" style. Prior reservation is necessary to enter.

Kuroshima Catholic Church

2. Hashima Island (Nagasaki City)

This island is nestled at the western offshore of Nagasaki City. Its official name is "Hashima Island", but it is nicknamed "Gunkanjima" because of its similarity to a warship. It once prospered as a digging site for coal and became number one in the world for its population density, but workers eventually abandoned the island in 1974. As soon as the island became empty, only buildings with rotten concrete remained. The remains provide a nostalgic view of when the island had dwellers. Furthermore, the land is registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site that contributed to the modernization of Japan as a colliery. It is necessary to join the "Gunkanjima Disembarkation Tour", which is operated by a shipping company, to reach the island. Please be aware that this may not be possible depending on the weather condition.

3. Shimabara Castle (Shimabara City)

Shimabara Castle was constructed in 1620 and has about 200,000 to 300,000 visitors yearly. The most popular spot would be the castle\'s symbol, which is the castle tower. The current castle was reconstructed in 1964, and has a height of 35m with 5 layers. The inside serves as a data library that introduces visitors to the history of Shimabara. You may also disguise yourself as a ninja or a samurai for free and take commemorative photos!

Entrance fee (Castle Tower, Restoration Memorial House, Seibo Memorial House): 540 JPY/adults, 270 JPY/elementary, middle, and high school students

4. Dejima (Nagasaki City)

Dejima is an artificial island that served as a window for trade with the West during the Edo period (1603 – 1867). The island was reclaimed upon the end of the seclusion policy and therefore lost the image it had during its time as a port of trade, but some buildings have been restored so that visitors may view the streets as they once were.
The biggest building would be the "Capitan Room", which served as the office and residence of the Netherland’s trading house, and sports an interior finishing that uses a blend of Japanese and Western styles. You may also find an exhibition that showcases the history and lifestyle of the people on the island.

Entrance fee: 510 JPY

Capitan Room

5. Ohashi Kannon Temple (Sasebo City)

Last, but not the least, would be the Ohashi Kannon Temple in the eastern part of Sasebo City. It was founded over 1,200 years ago as a sacred place for folk religion. The area measures 30m in length, with a popular natural stone bridge that has a breadth of 4m. It has a mysterious shape to it that makes it look like it is floating in heaven.
The temple is also famous as a spot to view cherry blossoms and autumn leaves, as well as a place to take walks while viewing the beautiful scenery. The place is designated as a Natural Monument of Japan thanks to the diversity of the ferns growing in the area.

You may find other sightseeing spots while in Nagasaki. Please get to know the culture and history of Nagasaki before you visit!

Kyushu Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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