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A Day Trip in Nagasaki

Photo: Mirai Takahashi on Flickr

A Day Trip in Nagasaki

Jihad Mahmoud

Kyushu Island, Japan’s third largest island which is located at most southeast, with seven prefectures on the main island in addition to Okinawa, has always been on the travel destinations’ list of many travelers; locals and foreigners.

One of the most loved cities and top recommended place to visit, Nagasaki was placed as a first option for being truly Japan’s most international city, distinguished with unique history and perfect for a one-day trip.

So, if you are already in Nagasaki or planning to visit it and you have only one day, what can you do?

With so many attractions, I manage to fit all these activities on my first trip to Nagasaki:

Gunkanjima (also known as Hashima Island)


Hashima Island

Hashima Island

Being recommended by many friends, I started my day with a guided boat trip to this famous battleship island, which appeared in “James Bond 007: Skyfall” and “Attack on Titans” movies. This island used to be home for approximately 5000 coal mine workers for 84 years before Mitsubishi decided to shut it down in 1974. And since then, this once highly dense inhabited island turned into a ghost off-limit island till 2009 when it was reopened for tourists’ visits.

For a price of 3900¥ and 3 hours round trip, it is a must-do experience!

Address: 8-1 Minamiyamatemachi, Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture 850-0931, Japan

Tram one-day pass

Nagasaki is conveniently covered with four tram lines, providing an easy and cheap access to most of city’s main attractions. Using a 500¥ one-day pass you can enjoy unlimited rides on these beautiful streetcars from 6:00 am till 11:00 pm.

Where to buy: Receptionist at Nagasaki Monterey hotel, 1-22 Oura-machi, Nagasaki, Nagasaki, 850-0918, Japan

Oura Catholic Church


Oura Church

Oura Church

Built in 1864, Oura Church is said to be the oldest standing Christian church in Japan, built originally to honor the 26 Martyrs of Japan, whom were crucified in 1597.

To the left of the entrance, you can walk in a small garden and see statue of John Paul II marking his visit in 1981. It is worth mentioning that this church was the first Western-style building to be designated as a national treasure in 1933 and again in 1953.

Address: 5-3 Minami-yamate-machi, Nagasaki, 850-0931

Glover Garden


Glover Garden

Glover Garden

Next to the Oura church, and built on the top of Minamiyamate hill is the Glover Garden; in which stands the oldest Western-style surviving house of Thomas Glover, a Scottish merchant who contributed to the modernization of Japan in coal mining and shipbuilding. He was also a founding member of a company that later became Kirin Beer company.

Besides the Glover residence, they are number of well-preserved western houses which were owned by wealthy merchants, like Alt house and Ranger house.

To get a better feeling of this area’s era, you can rent a traditional dress and enjoy walking around. Don’t forget to take in the spectacular view of Nagasaki harbor.

Address: 8-1 Minamiyamatemachi, Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture 850-0931, Japan

Castella Cake

By the time I exited the Glover Garden and walked down the shopping slope, I felt hungry and what is better than a piece of Castella! This popular Japanese sponge cake, also now a specialty of Nagasaki, was originally brought to Japan in the 16th century by Portuguese merchants.

Castella Cakes

Castella Cakes

Photo: fui :-) on Flickr

There are now varieties of Castella cake made of different ingredients such as honey and powdered green tea. So you can enjoy the great flavor and bring small boxes back as souvenirs.

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Photo: mamichan on Flickr

Hypocenter of Atomic Bombing Park


At 11:02 am, on August 9th 1945, the second atomic bomb was dropped down at Nagasaki killing 70,000 people and destroying one third of the city. Reading about such historical tragedy is heart-breaking, but being at the ground zero monument of Nagasaki atomic bomb is indescribable.

Hypocenter of Atomic Bomb Park

Hypocenter of Atomic Bomb Park

Every corner of this park reminds you of the unforgettable tragedy. From the memorial statue of women carrying a dead baby, with the date of the bombing engraved at its base. To the small museum below the garden displaying the remnants of the blast, and the chains of origami crane birds hanging high indicating the transformation of Nagasaki into a symbol of peace.

Address: A short walk from Hamaguchimachi tram stop on line 5.

This was my first visit to Nagasaki, and definitely won’t be my last as it is now my top favourite city in Japan!