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Top 10 Things To Do In Nagasaki

By Chloe Pickett
02 November 2020
Top 10 Things To Do In Nagasaki

Nagasaki is known to many for being one of the two Japanese cities that were bombed during the Second World War, today many of the main attractions in the city are linked to this difficult period in the history of the country. The first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and the second on Nagasaki. Like Hiroshima, you can visit museums and monuments that tell the story of the survivors and those who lost their lives here. Apart from the historic relics of Nagasaki, you can also take in other sites that throwback to the period when there was a strong Dutch presence in the city. The food of Nagasaki is also a major highlight as this vibrant city offers some best street food and local delicacies in Japan. 


Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/froderik/7067464915/in/photostream/

Nagasaki is of course known as being one of the places in Japan where an atomic bomb was dropped and one of the main monuments to this is the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum which will take you through this dark time in the city’s history. Here you will find photos and items from the period such as clothes, furniture, and other artifacts that were found after the bomb, and you can also see galleries of stories that were compiled from survivors.

Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum

Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum

Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nagasaki_Prefectural_Art_Museum_2017-10-05_(38302378281).jpg

If you want to check out the art scene in Nagasaki then you need to head to Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum which looks out over the harbor. Here you will find a range of static exhibitions which show you some artwork from the region as well as some rotating galleries which also display pieces from all over the world. There is also a roof garden here which you can visit to take in the gorgeous views all over the city.

Shinchi Chinatown

Shinchi Chinatown

Shinchi Chinatown has the claim to fame of being the oldest Chinatown in all of Japan and dates from the 15th century when Chinese sailors would have settled in the area. Chinese traders also joined them and this then became known as the place to come for Chinese food and products, and this still exists to this day. If you want to see a different side of Nagasaki then this is a great spot to visit and you can also get some delicious street food here.

Mount Inasa

Mount Inasa

If you want to get out of the city then you can head for Mount Inasa which is the best place to come for sweeping views over Nagasaki. You can even come here at night if you want to check out what is known in the area as the ’10 Million Dollar View’ and this is said to be one of the best nighttime viewing spots in Japan. You can take a ropeway to the top of the mountain or you can walk up if you are feeling energetic.

Glover Garden

Glover Garden

Glover Garden is the name for a series of homes in Nagasaki which would have been used by European diplomats and other foreign workers in the days of old. They would have been used in the 19th century, and this is a great place to visit to see how people would have lived in the time after the Meiji Restoration. From the homes, you can also walk down to the adjacent Nagasaki Harbor which offers you wonderful vistas across the water.

Koshibyo Confucius Shrine

Koshibyo Confucius Shrine

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Koshibyo Confucius Shrine is known for being the only Confucian shrine of its kind to be built outside of mainland China and dates from 1893. The shrine is also part of a wider museum which will fill you in on all the history of the Chinese community in Nagasaki. If you are interested in this period in the history of the city, then make sure you plan a visit here to see a different side of this part of Japan.

Nagasaki Peace Memorial Hall

Nagasaki Peace Memorial Hall

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The Nagasaki Peace Memorial Hall is located next to the Atomic Bomb Museum and made up of a memorial that was painted in 2003 by Japanese artist Kuryu Akira. The memorial hall has a number of inscriptions of the names of the victims of the bomb which are etched into the wall and you will also find a large water basin here. Other spots to look out for include a large hall with 12 glass pillars which are filled with books that are inscribed with the names of all those who lost their lives as a result of the deadly bomb.

Suwa-jinja

Suwa-jinja

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Suwa-jinja is the name of a shrine that was built in 1862 and now stands on a gorgeous hill overlooking Nagasaki. To get to the shrine you need to walk along a series of staircases but it is more than worth it for the views over the city. The shrine is known for its ornate sculptures of animals such as guard dogs known as komainu and water sprites called kappa komainu. One of the quirkiest sculptures on show is the gankake komainu which is another dog statue which would have been used as a place to pray by sex workers in Nagasaki who would hope that storms would hit the city and prevent sailors from leaving.

Peace Park

Peace Park

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The Peace Park in Nagasaki is dedicated to the 40,000 people who were killed when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city and is the spot where the bomb originally fell. Now you will find the Peace Museum and memorial hall here and walking around the park offers you a moving way of learning some of the history of this time in the history of Japan. The park is also one of the most serene spots in the city so try to go in the afternoon when the light is at its best and you can take in all the dignity and beauty of this wartime memorial.

Hashima Island

Hashima Island

Hashima Island or Gunkanjima is also known as ‘Battleship Island’ and, as the name suggests, this is an island that has not been completely abandoned. No one had lived here since the 1970s and you can take a ferry over to the island to see the ghostly relics of the former town that would have stood here. This used to be a mining community made up of mainly Korean workers who sadly lost their lives here and you can sign up for a walking tour of Gunkanjima which will fill you in on all the sad history of this part of Nagasaki.