I arrived in Nagasaki yesterday, located on the far west coast of Japan’s southernmost main island. Like Hiroshima, Nagasaki is known worldwide for being the only other city also destroyed by an atomic bomb. Nagasaki has also rebuilt itself, and chose to reconstruct many of the old districts it was famous for, including the Dutch trading port of Dejima, which for 200 years from the 1600s to 1800s, was the only entryway into Japan for all other countries as decreed by the shogunate at the time (the military ruling class).
So, I spent some time walking through Dejima, peeking in at the reconstructed Dutch houses and wandering through the streets. It was interesting to see the influences the Western world on the Japanese society back then, from gunpowder and cannons to Christianity and medical sciences.
Nagasaki is perhaps more famous sightseeing-wise for its bay area and surrounding mountains. The combination of Nagasaki city with mountains behind it and the sea in front, peppered with small islands, is a sight to see any time of the day. Even so, the night view from Mount Inasa, a 333 meter tall mountain overlooking the inlet, is said to be worth $10 million, and is designated as one of the world’s three best night cityscapes, along with Hong Kong and Monaco.
So, naturally, I went up the mountain (well, sort of. There’s a convenient ropeway) twice, both last night and today around sunset. Let’s just say the view did not disappoint. I’m almost running out of adjectives to describe the scenery I have experienced in Japan, but if I were to put one down for the view of Nagasaki at night, it would be this: sublime. It’s not that Nagasaki has skyscrapers and neon glares as glamorous as New York or Tokyo (it has many, many fewer, in fact). It’s the almost perfect balance between city life, shipyards, mountain valleys, suspension bridges, and of course the vast oceanand its many islands.
Have a look yourself:
Fun fact: the temperature at the top of Mount Inasa is decidedly colder than Nagasaki below. I had prepared for this when I went yesterday, but apparently not enough because after standing outside at the top for an hour and a half, I was almost an icicle. It was fun though seeing other people arrive at the top in shorts or skirts and instantly realize the mistake they made.
I would put the views of Nagasaki from Mount Inasa among the best experiences I’ve had so far in Japan. Purely from a visual standpoint, it really is fascinating. Even if I was freezing (sort of).
Anyway, I have one more day in Nagasaki tomorrow before I head off for the eastern part of the island.