Day 16.2: Nagasaki

Continues from Day 16.1: Nagasaki and Gunkanjima

After lunch our busy day continued as we walked the one kilometre distance down to the Dutch (Hollander) slope.

This slope is where western merchants, many from the Netherlands, initially settled after Nagasaki was opened to the world in the mid to late 1800's by Commodore Perry’s gunboats.

Although there were lots of signs, a few western style houses and a definite slope we actually had trouble finding anything interesting.

Apparently there were lots of shops handing out Castella cake, but all we could find were walls and closed buildings.

The street and surrounding buildings were certainly nice to look at least.

We also seemed to be the only ones walking around up here.

Eventually we managed to locate a little cafe that had a sign out the front saying that we free to have a look around inside the building, which was a big western style house.

We'd visited a similar area in Hakodate last year and were reminded of our time there looking around inside.

Come to think of it the outside was similar too, with western houses up the top of a hill from which we could get views over the ocean.

There were not many displays, signs or anything like that and the most memorable item was the toilet which had a felt seat.

How many decades centuries of poop and urine are contained in that cloth is a question best left.

Just left.

After that house of mild horrors we made our way back down the slope and around to the Kōshibyō Confucius Shrine.

This shrine is often over looked by tourists but it's actually quite significant as it is one of the only Confucius shrines remaining outside of China that was built by Chinese people.

In fact, even now the land upon which it rests is Chinese territory managed by the Chinese embassy in Tokyo.

It was first constructed in 1893 with the support of the Qing Dynasty and was built to be a place of learning and worship for the Chinese community in Nagasaki.

Unfortunately many of the structures were very badly damaged during the atomic bomb blast in 1945 and it took over twenty years for the shrine to be opened once again to the public.

Recently work has been undertaken to construct the Museum of Chinese History and Palace Museum which is located at the back of the temple and contains models of some early Chinese inventions as well as actual artefacts on loan from the similarly named museum in Beijing.

So we paid the ¥600 admission fee and entered...


I'm really not sure if this counts?

If so it's gotta be the cheapest way to visit china from Nagasaki!

At any rate we were glad we came as we found the temple to be brightly coloured and interesting to explore.

We'd seen so many Japanese temples over the years so it was nice to see examples of Chinese architecture today.

Some of the paint was a bit flaky and a few areas looked like they needed a bit of restoration, on the whole though the shrine was clean and very nicely presented.

Near the front there was a small pond and I had a lot of fun feeding the carp some pellets that were for sale. Things went much better than my failed attempted yesterday as the fish went absolutely nuts!

A feeding frenzy.

In the middle area we found seventy two statues that were created to represent the seventy two followers of K'ung Fu-tzu.

Right at the back of the shrine was the Historical Museum of China which had been newly built and was very well done.

We were not allowed to take pictures inside but I remember that there was an interesting wall outlining the entire history of China, lots of pots and archaeological items, and weird section on space.

The item I found the most interesting however was a model of an ancient Chinese seismograph.

The original device was built way back in 132 CE by Zhang Heng during the Han Dynasty and was able to not only detect earthquakes but the big bronze balls that dropped from a dragons mouth (into atoad) also served to indicate the direction of the tremor.
Replica in another museum - Wikipedia

Another major fantastic thing about this museum was that it was fully air-conditioned!

It was quite hot today!

Right at the end we came to a little souvenir shop, as is the custom.

After exiting the museum and shrine we then decided to make our way over to the Glover Garden!

The gardens were located right at the top of a small mountain big hill but thankfully we were able to ride up to the top on a cool inclined elevator thing.

It was a bit like a cable car, though I guess the only difference between cable cars and elevators is the angle.

It wasn't attended and didn't cost us anything. The elevator looked super handy for people living up on top of the hill who we could see with groceries.

From the top we were able to get a great view down over Nagasaki and it's apparently a spot well worth visiting at night- if you’re not already going to Mount Inasa.

The Glover Gardens are a preserved section of the former Foreign Settlement area of Nagasaki that was created when Japan was opened to foreign trade in the mid to late 1800's.

Thomas Blacke Glover was a Scotsman who, along with Fredreck Ringer and William Alt, built their homes at the top of the Minami-Yamate hill.

The Glover Garden has since been classified as an Important Cultural Asset and the houses and ground have been open to the public since 1970 when efforts were undertaken to relocate and preserve the historic homes.

A ticket (and pamphlet) cost us 600 yen after which we entered to find the big Mitsubishi No.2 Dock House, which was used for sailors to stay at while their ships were being repaired.

At the front of the house there was a large pond and the fish inside were going absolutely crazy over some food that they were being fed.

We had a quick look inside the dock house and then continued down into the gardens.

Apart from the houses already on the hill, most had been transported here for preservation in this open air museum. 

Inside each of the houses we found displays detailing the history of the building and those that lived there.

The most celebrated houses in the gardens are the Ringer, Glover and Alt residences which are all impressive buildings that have been designated as important cultural properties.

Just like what we had seen at Hakodate a lot of people were cosplaying in old fashioned western style clothes.
This is an old Takashima Style Cannon

There were a few "Oldest XXX in Japan" about the place including a fountain, an asphalt road, western style restaurant and tennis court.

Apart from the actual buildings there were also many gardens which were full of flowers and pretty to look at. There were some statues and a heart shaped pavement stone.

The Jiyu-Tei restaurant  was the first to serve western cuisine in all of Japan and the second floor is currently used as a coffee shop which we stopped at to sample the castella cake we'd been searching for.

Kate had wanted to try Dutch tea but upon finding out it was actually black coffee she passed and we instead just ordered one (expensive) slice of cake to share.

It was pretty old fashioned and fancy inside and the cake was nice and delicious!

On the bottom we discovered some big sugar granules.

From the tea house we had a look at the last of the buildings which included the extensive Glover residence.

A particularly proud gardener was out the front of this house encouraging everyone who passed to sniff his flowers.

We also found a room inside here (I think) that had replicas of various ships, including the HMS Endeavour, which was the ship used by Captain Cook to discover Australia.

Right at the end of the Glover Gardens we came to some kind of float museum. It was pretty well presented with a big video of the festival playing as well as a number of floats and big long dragons on display.

Beyond the museum we found a souvenir ship which had many castella cake themed goods. Kate payed some money to receive castella flavoured lollies, like lemon drops.

Castella pillow!
Outside this shop and down the road we found  all the other castella shops!

The Oura Catholic Church
There were many samples of on offer which tempted us to each buy some castella cake for later, one honey flavoured and the other some sort of expensive mixed up one with different flavour.

Amongst the shops we came to the Oura Catholic Church which was built in 1864 for Nagasaki's foreign merchant community and is the only western building that has been designated as a national treasure.

We had a look around and inside the church which was big and had a few displays.

From the church we continued down the street, were offered and tried some delicious pork on bread and then caught the tram down to Chinatown and Dejima.

Dejima is a former tiny manmade island which was used prior to the opening of Japan to contain foreign residences during Japan's two centuries of isolation.

I was really feeling pretty tired at this point though so we decided to skip having a look and instead had a very quick look through Chinatown where I bought some vegetable juice from a convenience store.

Down one street of Nagasaki's Chinatown

I just really felt like I needed vitamins for some reason.

Apparently it had juice from like 40 different vegetables which sounded good; I wasn't even aware there were that many.

Our final activity for the day was to be a trip up Mount Inasa to enjoy one of Japan's three best night views.

However, as it was still late afternoon (5pm), after Chinatown we went back to our hotel to rest and recover for a few hours.

I also took the opportunity to recharge my camera which had died after taking around 500 photos today. I had switched to my phone since then and as a point of interest around 800 photos were taken by the two of us today. That's up from the usual total of 100-300.

It was around 7:45pm when we headed back out and caught the tram to Takaramachi station and then walked the one kilometre distance across the river and up the hill to the lower Fuchijinja ropeway station.

The ropeway was pretty crowded though everyone was already in line for the gondola so we didn't have to wait to buy a ticket.

We didn't immediately join the gondola queue as no one else had arrived after us so instead of standing we went and sat down on some nearby seats.

Eventually though a pulse of people arrived, probably from a bus, so we went and joined line.

The gondola was darkened for our trip up which meant we were able to gaze out into the black at the dwindling glare of the station and the twinkling lights of Nagasaki as we rose.

Once at the top we walked along a blue lit path to the main observation area which was a large circular shaped building we could climb up on the roof of via the internal or external ramps.

It was a bit cold up there, but the view was absolutely fantastic!

As mentioned earlier, this location is rated as one of the three best night view in all of Japan and our visit here today means that we've now seen them all!

The other two are located at Kōbe and Hakodate and I can very easily rank Hakodate as the best, followed by this view at Nagasaki with Kōbe a distant third.

We spent some time appreciating the view and taking photos!

Upon close investigation we even managed to work out where our hotel way once we identified a nearby landmark in the form of the distinctive blue sign of the Toyoko-inn.

Before long it was time to head back as it was cold, getting late, and the ropeway was due to close soon.

Unfortunately we missed out on getting the very next gondola and had to wait at the head of the line for a little while. Happily the people right at the head of the queue had some seats they could use as consolation.

After we’d dragged ourselves the long distance back down from the lower ropeway station to the tramline we then also had to wait another interval for the next service.

Eventually we arrived back at our hotel and collapsed into bed.

Today's packed schedule meant that we'd cleared off everything we wanted to do in Nagasaki and were free to catch an early train down to the far southern end of Kyushu to enjoy a day exploring the city of Kagoshima.

Look forward to the next post!

If you enjoyed reading this post or found any of the information useful please consider leaving a comment. I really appreciate them and they give me encouragement to keep writing about the rest of our trip.

Or, are you considering visiting or have you recently travelled to Nagasaki?

If so, feel free to share your plans and experiences!

I'm also happy to answer any questions you may have!

Continue reading Day 17: Kagoshima


  1. I intend to arrange the Mt Inasa Ropeway but not during the night. I have to do it during the day since I have to return to Hakata for accommodation. Still worth including this Ropeway in my itinerary? Thank you.

    1. Hi!

      Thank you very much for leaving a comment!

      I still think it would be worth it having a look, even if you can't fit it in at night.

      I often like day views better than night ones as you can see things clearer- so yeah go and have a look :-)

      Thank you once again!

  2. Thanks, this post was really useful. I'm planning a trip for later this month. I'll probably do it in 2 days though..you must have been exhausted!

    1. Hi!

      Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a comment. I think two days would be wise- it was very hectic for us!

      I'm sure you'll have a great time :D

  3. Hi Eric, I was wondering which hotel did you stay in during your time in Nagasaki? Thank you!

    1. Hi Louise!

      We stayed at the Chisun Grand Nagasaki, though that was mainly because we had a voucher for a free night, you can read about it at the bottom of this page: http://microseism.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/day-15-takachiho.html