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Nagasaki Prefecture

For over 200 years, Nagasaki’s Dejima Wharf was the one place in Japan where foreigners were allowed to step foot. Even long before the period of isolation, Nagasaki served as the main port connecting Japan to the rest of the world. This role left a legacy of international exchange and cultural blending that is still visible today.

The highlight of a trip to the prefecture is a visit to its capital, Nagasaki City.

Nagasaki City Highlights:

  • Nagasaki Peace Park: Built in commemoration of the American atomic bombing of Nagasaki, this park houses numerous memorials, famous statues, and the excellent Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.
  • Dejima Wharf: For centuries, the only Western foreigners allowed in Japan were housed on this small, man-made island. The 17th and 18th century warehouses and homes that housed the Dutch workers and diplomats have been carefully restored. Admission is 500 yen.
  • Sofukuji Temple: A classic and rare example of Chinese architecture in Japan, this temple was built in 1629 and is well-worth a visit. 300 yen entrance fee.
  • Glover Garden: This garden was once actually an entire neighborhood of mansions and private gardens built by Westerners after the Meiji Restoration. The beautiful Western-Japanese hybrid architecture and flowering gardens serve as an open-air museum, and culminate in a lovely view of the harbor at the top of the walking trail. 600 yen entrance fee.
  • Chinese New Year Festival: Held in conjunction with the Chinese New Year (dates change every year; usually in February), this huge celebration is a must-see. Thousands of lanterns of all sizes are set up around the city and lit up at night. Parades, music and dance performances are held in Chinatown all day.

Other highlights:

  • Huis Ten Bosch: This strange resort park is a complete reproduction of a Dutch village, with buildings and plants shipped from Holland. In addition to strolling the streets, you can come for its seasonal celebrations. The theme park has yearly tulip and rose festivals and numerous flower gardens, but its most famous attraction is its Christmas illuminations, where the entire park is covered in over 10,000 lights. To get there, take the JR Huis Ten Bosch train, which takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Hakata.