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Nagasaki

Nagasaki
Nagasaki Prefecture has been the nexus of Japan’s interchange with Europe for centuries, with one of the most unique culinary cultures in Japan as a result (not to mention the sun, sea, and islands).
Nagasaki Tourist Attractions
Featured Restaurants

Taki

Dinner: ¥10,000-14,999

Washoku Horita

Lunch: ¥1,000-1,999 - Dinner: ¥6,000-7,999

Agedashi Tempura Tenhiro

Dinner: ¥15,000-19,999

Itamaeryori Doyama

Dinner: ¥10,000-14,999

Once the only place where selected foreign traders were allowed to do business during Japan’s years of isolationism, this sunny outcrop on the west side of Kyushu was centuries ahead of the rest of Japan in terms of cultural interchange. It’s clear on the streets of Nagasaki City, where you’ll find Western-style architecture mixed in with local buildings, and more Japanese Christians than anywhere else.

This area was once the place to discover strange new technologies and goods brought by the Dutch and Chinese, and it has its very own cuisine as a result: Shippoku Ryori. This is a fusion of Japanese, Chinese, and European foods unlike anything found elsewhere.

The town of Sasebo — now home to a US military base — pays homage to the diverse past of the region with a theme park named Huis Ten Bosch. This quirky, family-friendly place recreates a vision of historic Holland, with canals, windmills, and the obligatory tulip fields.

However, this history also has some darker moments, most notoriously the devastating nuclear bombing of Nagasaki City at the end of World War II. This event is also memorialized through the Nagasaki Peace Park and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum — somewhat less famous than their counterparts in Hiroshima, but no less somber and reflective.

If you’ve had your fill of history and fine dining, then like the Dutch and Chinese traders who visited before you, why not take to the sea? Nagasaki enjoys some of the most crystalline blue seas in Japan, perfect for all kinds of water sports. Dotted around the waters you’ll also find some fascinating islands: from a historic hideaway which recently gained video game fame, to Gunkanjima from Skyfall (a James Bond movie).

Local Weather
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JUN-AUG
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SEP-NOW
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Frequently Asked Questions
What to eat in Nagasaki?
Where to start? It’s probably best to first get acquainted with the variety of Nagasaki Shippoku cuisine, through dishes like the Chinese-inspired Chanpon noodle soup. This cuisine served as a precursor to the Western-focused craze of yoshoku dining several centuries later. For an even more modern overseas influence, head to Sasebo to try their signature burger: a beef patty with bacon, tomato, lettuce, and fried egg (although every shop has their own twist).
What are the best things to do in Nagasaki?
Dive headfirst into history at Shimabara Castle, Huis Ten Bosch theme park, the atomic bomb memorials of Nagasaki. After that, try some island hopping; Tsushima is a historically fascinating place, and the abandoned industrial island of Hashima was the site of the villain’s lair in Skyfall.
How to visit the James Bond island in Nagasaki?
If you want to undercut Idris Elba and cast yourself as the next 007, head to Nagasaki Port. Here you’ll find tour companies who can take you to this eerie abandoned island of Hashima for just around 4,000 to 5,000 yen per person.
What is Nagasaki famous for?
It’s famed as the gateway to Japan, and also Japan’s gateway to the West. It was through these ports that the Japanese discovered everything from deep frying to glassmaking, and the Europeans discovered the joy of traditional Japanese art.
What to buy in Nagasaki?
Porcelain is a big deal in the second city of Sasebo, where the prized Mikawachi porcelain is made. You’ll need something to serve on your new porcelain, so consider grabbing some castella sponge cake from Nagasaki to take home — a dessert brought to Japan by Portuguese missionaries and adapted into dozens of local styles.
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