Nagasaki, Japan
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About Nagasaki, Japan

  • Population: approx 460,000
  • Distance from Tokyo: 600 miles
  • Distance from Osaka: 350 miles
Megane-Bashi Bridge

Megane-Bashi Bridge

Nagasaki is situated on the extreme western point of the four main islands of Japan, on the northwestern side of the island Kyushu. The city is built around a natural deep harbor and the rest of the city winds around—and up and down—the more than 100 mountains in the city limits. Nagasaki has a unique history. It was the first place in Japan to have contact with the West beginning in the late sixteenth century and then was Japan’s only port open to foreign trade for the 250 years of national seclusion during the Tokugawa era, until Japan re-opened in the mid-nineteenth century.

At roughly the same latitude as San Diego, California, and Charleston, South Carolina, Nagasaki enjoys a semitropical climate. Palm trees thrive and are part of the astounding beauty of the area, including numerous beaches and Unzen National Park with its geyser basins and hot springs resorts. It rarely snows or freezes during the mild winters, and few homes require central heating.

Statue of Prayer and Peace at the Nagasaki Peace Park (Heiwa Kōen)

Statue of Prayer and Peace at the Nagasaki Peace Park ...

Like Hiroshima, Nagasaki was devastated by the atomic bomb in 1945, but its present prosperity as a once again thriving port city is a testament to its citizens and their perseverance. As memorials, a one-legged torii gate and an arch near ground zero are about all that remain from the bombing, but the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, the Nagasaki International Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, and the Peace Park serve as further reminders to visitors of the price and value of peace.

As the setting for Puccini’s opera Madam Butterfly, Nagasaki boasts many cultural activities that include concerts and plays. Of the numerous festivals in the year, some of the largest are the Chinese Lantern Festival in February, the parade of commemorative floats for the Festival of the Dead on August 15, and the October traditional performances that make up the Kunchi Festival, one of the three most important festivals in Japan. Nagasaki’s climate is also very conducive to outdoor sporting activities, including hiking, surfing, wind surfing, and scuba diving.