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A Day in Nagasaki

von: Cityseeker
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26 Martyrs Memorial

This monument, located within a few minutes of Nagasaki station, is dedicated to 26 Christians who were executed in 1597. The monument is a long wall with the sculpted figures of the martyrs (including children) mounted on it. The lights at night give it an eerie effect, but even without that, there is something a little unsettling about it until you realize what it is. Do not let the positioning of their feet escape your notice. Note that there is also a memorial museum whose admission is JPY250. You can access the monument, however, at all hours.

Nagasaki, Japan
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Fukusai-ji

Originally constructed in the 1600s, Fukusai-ji has braved the march of time. The current reincarnation of the temple dates back to 1976, built not long after the destruction of the older Fukusai-ji by the atomic bomb that leveled much of Nagasaki in 1945. The striking facade is reminiscent of a giant turtle atop which a towering statue of Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, stands. The turtle's head protrudes out over the entrance of the temple while Kannon watches over the scene with a benevolent gaze. Both the turtle head and Kannon's 18.3-meter-tall (60-foot-tall) likeness are fashioned from aluminum, skillfully blending elements of ancient mythology, Buddhist tradition and contemporary style into one neat package. Inside, a Focualt's Pendulum drops down from the very top of the statue's interior and is one of the largest of its kind. Steeped in the traditions of Zen Buddhism, the temple also acts as a memorial and burial ground for some 16,000 souls who perished through the course of World War II. A moving memorial with a distinctive facade, Fukusai-ji is an embodiment of the city's unwavering spirit even in the face of peril.

Nagasaki, Japan
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Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

This museum is a certain destination for those visiting Nagasaki for the first time. It almost seems inconceivable that someone could have been to Nagasaki and not have visited this historic, educational and ultimately heart-breaking place. It is obviously devoted to Nagasaki's atomic holocaust, but there are displays on modern nuclear technology and concerns as well. Seeing the 900 or so artifacts will require some time, and you may certainly want to spend some considerable extra minutes in the video room or at the other video displays. Check out the website for hours of operation.

Nagasaki, Japan
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Suwa Shrine

You only reach this shrine after climbing up 200 stone steps; so bring some walking shoes. The patron god of the shrine is protectorate of Nagasaki Prefecture and its seas. Thousands of area residents visit it every year to pray for good luck and to seek blessings for marriage. Within the shrine are numerous statuettes of "guard" dogs, which are particularly rare. Another rarity of this shrine is that its mikuji (fortunes) have been written in English since 1914, due to the city's international composition. Beginning every October 7th, there is a three-day festival held at this shrine called Nagasaki Kunchi.

Nagasaki, Japan
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Peace Park

Visitors to Nagasaki almost have a moral obligation to visit this famous and sacred park. With 35,000 square meters, it is fairly large, but more importantly, it is dedicated to world peace. The park's main attraction is its collection of statues and sculptures donated by countries and groups all over the world. The main statue of the park, The Peace Memorial Statue, was constructed by Nagasaki City, and is of a man, with his right arm pointing to the sky to indicate the continued threat of nuclear destruction. The left arm is extended toward the horizon for world peace. The eyelids are closed to remember those who perished in the atomic holocaust.

Nagasaki, Japan
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Dejima Museum

Dejima was an artificial island built in 1636 in Nagasaki Bay for foreign traders, as foreigners were barred from the country. It actually housed also Portuguese and Chinese traders and was a vital porthole through which culture, money, goods, and ideas flowed in and out of Japan. This museum has several interesting exhibits. One is an outdoor, miniature replica of the original town. There is also the Dejima Theater with a collection of images and artifacts associated with Dejima history; another building which houses artifacts; and the main plaza, where a Dutch flag flies.

Nagasaki-shi, Japan
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Hypocentre Park

On August 9, 1945, at 11:02am, the second atomic bomb fell toward Japan and exploded 500 meters over this site. What stands here now is a single, black, stone column. Around the base, you can expect to see flowers, and around the perimeter, colorful origami in the shape of folded paper cranes. Although the monument to the epicenter is located within the Peace Park grounds, many people consider it separate and may refer to it as the "Hypocenter Park."

Nagasaki-shi, Japan
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