3 Days

Nagasaki – Between Ruins and Traditions

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There are many things to see in Nagasaki, and you don’t really need a car to truly enjoy it, but if you rent one, you can easily spend 3 to a week to explore the prefecture. I will propose you a short 3 days trips, going through all the most amazing spots and a bit of offbeat.

Day 1

This morning, we will not use the car much: we will take the boat instead! Park your car a few meters after Gunkanjima Concierge, there is a small parking which has free spaces early in the morning. You will need to book the tour for Gunkanjima a few days to a few weeks in advance. Gunkanjima is an island that is abandoned since 1974, but it used to host more than 5,000 inhabitants. They were mainly the family of the workers of the coal mine located kilometers below the sea.

The tour will take you around and on this island, but the most important is to really enjoy the sight when you are boating around it. You will not be able to access inside the buildings or walk next to them.

I love the second photo above because it shows the only captain that is allowed to get close to Gunkanjima and let a few fishermen on its walls for fishing purposes. The seafood from there is, well… famous for being fish next to the abandoned island! 😉

After lunch, let’s enjoy the rest of the day in the city and its ancient areas. First, let’s park in the area of the Glover Garden. It’s an open-air museum with many beautiful mansions owned by wealthy western merchants.

Drive to Michitsuka of Misaki Road (みさき道の道塚). This area is full of tiny stairs going up residential area. It you look hard enough, you will also discover some old kind of cable car that goes up and down stairs, made for the elderlies.

Not too far, a last famous attraction here is waiting for you: the Meganebashi, also known as the Spectacles Bridge. It was build in 1634 by a Chinese monk. Once there, look for the heart shaped stones, they are twenty of them.

Day 2

I will now take you to one of my favorite places in Nagasaki Prefecture. This is Ikeshima Island! There are two choices for you: either you book a tour for Ikeshima, and you will leave from the center of Nagasaki City. My recommendation is to go to Kamiura (神浦港), which has a pier where you will be able to get a ferry. You can choose to go with your car, which might be fun, or without it. Going around the island by foot is totally fine, it takes around two hours. With a car, you might be able to skip the area next to the island pier, which is not as interesting.

Ikeshima is almost totally abandoned, but there are still inhabitants living on it. You can also book a little tour to visit a part of the coal mine.

On the way back to Nagasaki, stop by the Atomic Bomb Museum and the Atomic Bomb Hypercenter. Yes, it’s quite a gloomy day,

I don’t know what you did for your first night in Nagasaki, but for your second one I would recommend you to go to its Chinatown.

Day 3

For our third day in Nagasaki, we will drive a bit more. But before the sun rises too much, let’s enjoy the first morning sun rays at the Sofukuji Temple. This was also (and obviously) built by a Chinese monk, in 1629. The bell inside the temple is also from that time!

Now, let’s get ready for 80km of driving! That should take you slightly more than one hour and you will arrive at Arita.

We are in reality now in the Saga Prefecture. Narita is the pottery capital of the area.

artisans of various disciplines, and merchant houses lined the banks of the Imari River which runs through the town center. A handful of these merchant houses were preserved or restored and are open to visitors today

Okawachiyama Village. first place in Japan to produce porcelain

built the village well defended and isolated in order to keep the technology secret

celadon-coloured lake”.
Changing their colours in accordance with the four seasons

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