This was one of the stops during our honeymoon and Japan surprised us for many reasons, but above all, because of how different they are from the rest of their Asian neighbours.
The tour that was available on the cruise didn’t convince us, so we decided to organise our own route and visit everything we wanted to see freely.
The places we wanted to visit were based on several reasons, but one attraction that we weren’t keen on visiting was the Atomic Bomb Museum.
Sonia wasn’t convinced on visiting this location, because we kept hearing that it is almost impossible to walk out of the museum without crying, and we didn’t want a feeling of sadness to cloud any moment of this incredible holiday.
Day 1 in Nagasaki – Japan
When you get off the cruise of your own accord, you are assigned a number, and as soon as it’s called on the PA system, it’s your turn to disembark. We had number 38, and, of course, they give priority to passengers who have booked the excursions offered by the same cruise company. However, with just a few hours to spend in Nagasaki, we couldn’t afford to leave the ship at noon, so, as soon as we were ready, we headed to the corresponding deck, and exited with other passengers on shore excursions.
Inside the cruise terminal, we bought a 1-day travel card which granted us unlimited use of the famous Nagasaki tram and bus services. This costs about 1,000 JPY per person (8.5€ or so).
From the start, we realised that today would be completely different, in every aspect, to what we’d experienced in the rest of Asia, and a few of the things that caught our attention was the cleanliness of the cruise terminal, the people, streets and even the behaviour of the Japanese locals.
At the cruise terminal’s entrance, we decided to find our bearings and try to remember everything we had prepared for the day, and while we looked down at our map, a Japanese woman approached us and asked if we needed help with anything.
OMG! We didn’t realise until now how much we missed that kind of behaviour and social interaction with people you don’t know. This woman helped us immensely and even took us to the exact location we were looking for because she said that it was on her way, and all this, in perfect English.
So, we started our tour of Nagasaki and in a few hours, this is what we did:
The first stop was Glover Garden which we reached after about a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal. The admission cost us 1200 JPY each (approximately 10€).
This was the house of the gentleman who encouraged and promoted the modernization of Japan. It featured a beautiful garden with a pond full of giant Koi Carp. It’s impossible to appreciate the sheer size of the fish from the pictures above, but we can assure you, they were huge!
Nagasaki Koshibyo Confucius Shrine and Historical Museum of China
Another short 10-minute walk through some very beautiful and quaint streets, we arrived at our next stop: The Nagasaki Koshibyo Confucius Shrine and Historical Museum of China. Both buildings are linked and are included in the same admission of 1200 JPY (approximately 10€) for you to visit both.
Inasa-yama – Mount Inasa
We jumped on the tram and headed to Inasayama, which is Japanese for Mount Inasa.
Public transport will take you to the foot of the mountain and then, a cable car will take you to very the top where the views are breathtaking.
The price of the cable car is 2460 JPY, around 21€.
Nagasaki Peace Memorial Statue & Atomic Bomb Museum
We were making the most of the day, and it was suddenly time for lunch. However, since we still had several attractions that we wanted to visit, we decided to eat a sandwich that we’d picked up from the cruise and continued on our journey towards Peace Memorial Statue.
This monument is found in a beautiful park full of fountains.
In that same park, we saw an elderly Japanese lady selling homemade ice cream, so we bought some for about 150 JPY – 1.3€. She handed it to us in a cone, and the ice cream shaped like a beautiful rose.
In front of the park, we also found the Atomic Bomb Museum and decided to continue with the established plan and gave it a miss. The devastated faces of the tourists leaving the museum reinforced our decision.
After enjoying a tasty ice cream, sitting in the park listening to the sound of the water, we decided to continue our tour and headed towards Suwa Temple.
This temple was quite far away, but while organising the tour, we read that it was one of those places that you shouldn’t miss and we now understand why!
When we arrived, all we could see was a long staircase with what looked like hundreds of steps. We must have climbed up more than 200 steps, and when you’re at a point where you can’t go any further, at the brink of giving up, you get a glimpse of the temple and its arches. Almost immediately, you know that you have left the bustle of the city and have dropped into a parallel universe full of tranquillity, free of tourists and noise. All that’s there is just an older man sweeping the leaves of an already sparklingly clean floor.
Access to this temple was free of charge and during our visit, it was all to our selves, so we enjoyed a pleasant walk and took hundreds of photos of the typical orange Japanese arches that guided the way.
We are not sure how, but all of a sudden, we stumbled upon a small petting zoo, located inside the temple grounds. Here, we found chickens, peacocks, rabbits, monkeys, raccoons and a goat, and next to the entrance there were a couple of machines where you could buy food and feed the animals.
It was the ideal place to spend our last few Japanese Yen, feeding these animals and enjoying their company before heading back to the cruise and continuing our honeymoon.
- Nagasaki is a pleasant, safe and friendly city to walk around, which is why we feel it a very suitable city to visit on your own.
- The Suwa Temple is about 45 minutes away on public transport from Mount Inasa, but it was well worth the trip because we loved it.
- The locals are very open, friendly and willing to help you, which very useful if you visit without a booked tour.
- We visited and enjoyed the city of Nagasaki in about 7 hours.
|Currency: Japanese Yen||Type of Tourism: City||Safe to Drink Tap Water: Yes|
|Weather: 17ºC in March||Average Cost: 4/5||Driving Side: Left Hand Side|
|Time Zone: UTC/GMT +9||Socket Type: Type A||Best Form of Transport: Public|
|Population: +-430.000||VISA Required: No||Safety: 4/5|
|Languages: Japanese||Veggie Friendly: 3/5||Children Friendly: Yes|