Nagasaki, Japan

I had a Sunday to myself on this trip to Japan, and I'd long wanted to get to either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  JAL has good deals on flights for foreigners if you book them from home before you arrive in Japan, so I was able to get a round-trip flight for around $200.  The schedule was better to go to Nagasaki so here I am!

Research had shown that on arriving at Nagasaki airport in Omura, you should get a ¥800 ticket from the booth outside the bus area for the 1 hour ride into town.  My time was short but the bus driver was helpful and made it easy for me to get my ticket.  For future reference, here's what it looks like.

The bus was uncrowded and went by the airport and I got to see how mountainous the land is on Kyushu.

Nagasaki was a fishing village before the Portuguese founded the trade port in 1543.  Here you can see the approach end of the general aviation runway 36.

The ride into the city took us past a lot of nice towns where people were busy this December morning.

Arriving at the main bus station, after it made several stops in the city, I went to the tourism desk nearby and bought a ¥500 day pass on the tram, which goes mostly north and south, which is where I wanted to go.  The #1 and #3 take you to the most usual sites of interest, run about every 10 minutes, and are clearly labeled.

They're pretty old-school but run fine.

The tram does make you feel welcomed!

My first stop was to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, north of the bus station.  So onto the tram I went.  It's a bit of an uphill walk from Hamaguchi-machi, the nearest tram stop but it's easy to find.

The main entrance, down underground.

The exhibit was very well done and educational, with a lot of artifacts from the bombing.

This is a piece of a famous wall which had the image of a clothesline burned into it at the instant of the bombing.

This was an interesting video presentation of the bombing.

The exhibit seemed pretty fair, but didn't always directly address the issues.

Since the bombing, Nagasaki has become the center of an anti-nuclear peace movement, and the museum is very much aimed at remembering those who died and were never found, at telling about the horrors of a nuclear bombing, and working toward a nuclear-free world.

After a few hours at the museum (and a decent lunch) it was off to Ground Zero, the hypocenter- the spot directly underneath where the bomb exploded.

Nearby is the Nagasaki Peace Park, commemorating the bombing.  There's a wall from a cathedral that was devastated nearby.

After all that I took the tram south to the Ouratenshudo-shita stop to visit the oldest church in Japan, Oura Catholic Church, which was built in 1864 after Japan started permitting westerners to come in.  It's the only western building on Japan's list of national treasures.

This ship is north of Oura, at Dejima Wharf.  I didn't find out what it was but it looked pretty neat.

In summary, it was very moving to go to the Peace museum and see everything related to the bombing.  Nagasaki is a nice city, easy to navigate and pleasant to visit.  Recommended.