Monday, February 25, 2008


My time in Japan continued with a trip to Nagasaki which a lot of people say is similar to my home town (San Francisco). After spending some time in Nagasaki I can understand why people say that, it's a nice city with rolling hills overlooking a nice bay, it's like San Francisco on a smaller scale. My photos from Nagasaki can be found below, as always the full set can be found in Flickr here.

For a very long time Nagasaki was the only port in Japan open to outsiders and trade with the outside world so there is a lot of foreign influence, one of the things I hadn't expected to see was a large number of Catholic Churches, Catholicism came to Nagasaki with Dutch traders, one of the churches can be seen below:
There is a park above the church called Glover Garden where the houses of dutch traders from the 1800's have been preserved, I thought it was hilarious that in Japanese fashion the outdoor park is full of escalators:

Nagasaki bay has a lot of shipyards as can be seen below:

The view of the city and the bay from Glover Garden:

The bridge as seen from the Garden:

Like Hiroshima, Nagasaki still has it's old trams:

Due to my height, I am constantly running into funny situations in Japan that remind me that I am not the right size to fit in, as you can see in the photos below the hand holds on the tram are a bit low:

Nagasaki has a lot of Chinese influence, it's the closest part of Japan to China, you can actually take a ferry from Nagasaki to Shanghai. It's also been the only port of trade between Japan and China for long periods of history. At the time of my visit it was Chinese New Year so the city, and especially Chinatown, was fully decorated for the celebration:

Chinatown had an outdoor market for

There was a citywide "Lanternfest" as part of the Chinese New Years celebration, the whole city was covered in beautiful lanters:

One of the parks in the city was decorated with animals for the New Years Celebration, I thought this panda was funny I've never seen a panda with nasty fangs like that:

The park also had a temporary Shrine for the New Years celebration that had a huge number of pig's heads, the heads had the tail from the pig stuck into the head, I would love to know the significance of this, I'm at a loss to explain it:

Nagasaki like Hiroshima was the site of a nuclear bombing during world war II, the monument below stands at the site of the bomb blast:

The remnants of a Catholic cathedral destroyed in the bombing:

The peace cranes offered by Children as part of the memorial, like Hiroshima the memorials and museums are very sobering:

Nagasaki is at the far end of Japan, quite a ways from Tokyo. I had planned to take a Shinkansen (bullet train) back to Tokyo but discovered it would take 8-10 hours which would have then left me at Tokyo station 1-2 hours from my destination in Tokyo so I did some research and found a new Japanese low cost start up airline and flew back (not on the JAL plane shown below), it was a nice flight:

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