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.
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.
Mount Inasa-yama is easily the most famous "mountain" (actually only 333 meters tall) overlooking Nagasaki City. Indeed, the views from these heights are perhaps the most impressive—and there is certainly competition from the other ridges—and access is made easy by a number of rope-ways, bus tours and parking areas for cars. The gondola rides are quite lovely and romantic at night, and only cost a few hundred yen. A trip to Inasa-yama is considered a necessary part of every Nagasaki itinerary; once you go, it is easy to understand why.
The original Urakami Cathedral was built in 1914, but destroyed when the atomic bomb detonated over the district. What remained of the cathedral is now on display in the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. The blackened face on a statue of an angel looking skyward is particularly poignant. A replacement for the largest cathedral in Asia was built after the war, in 1959. In 1980, workers re-designed the building to resemble its original appearance.
There are a number of small bridges arching over the Nakajima River, all of which used to act as separate entrances to temples along the parallel Temple Row. This one is the only famous one to speak of. When the water is at the right height, the reflection of the double arches on the water gives the appearance of spectacles. The original bridge was built in 1634, but this one is a replica (and a good one at that). All the bridges on Nakajima River were destroyed in typhoon floods in 1982.
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.
While you should be able to get most of what you need from web cities, it might not hurt to get some additional resources about the city. These include maps, pamphlets and a plethora of brochures about almost anything. Nagasaki Tourist Information Center is located by the station, has all of this and more. Staff members are patient and helpful, if not a little busy, and will help you with your needs. Note that some information in Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese is also available.
This cemetery has actually been around since the middle of the 17th Century, when Japan was closed to the rest of the world, but it was designated as an international cemetery in 1905. Within the cemetery are the graves of prominent Nagasaki citizens of the past such as Thomas Glover and his wife. Most Japanese find cemeteries rather morbid and frightening, meaning that you will probably not find too many visitors if you come here. It seems that cemeteries in Japan are frequently considered beautiful by a majority of Westerners, and Sakamoto is considered beautiful by most who visit.
Most Japanese Shinto shrines are approached through torii, or large arches that act somewhat as gateways. Only half of this torii is present, as the other half was blown away by the atomic bomb blast. Interestingly, the half that is missing was the half that was facing the location of the blast, leading many to theorize that it protected the other side. The location is actually 900 meters from the hypocenter, making it possible for visitors to easily walk there from Hypocenter Park.