Built on the shores of a natural bay, Nagasaki's rich history as a trading port is reflected in its local culture, cosmopolitan atmosphere, and the diversity of its architecture. This is a city that deserves to be renowned for a lot more than the atomic bomb.
“Dutch houses, Chinese street food and fifties-style trams - somehow Nagasaki combines a wealth of cultural influences into one fun, quirky whole!”
Katrina Cordery, Sales Team Leader and former resident of Nagasaki
Japan's first contact with the West took place in Nagasaki with the arrival of missionaries and traders from Portugal and the Netherlands. This was the only port into which foreign ships where permitted entry during the Tokugawa Shogunate, and this long history of international influence is reflected in Nagasaki's unusually diverse architecture - with Japanese shrines rubbing shoulders with Chinese temples and Western colonial-style houses.
When Dutch and Portuguese traders first began arriving in Nagasaki, they were confined to the small enclave of Dejima ("Exit Island"), a fan-shaped artificial island in the bay, connected to the mainland by a bridge. As their influence and trade grew, so did their concessions - and foreign influence gradually seeped into Nagasaki proper.
Since the end of Japanese isolationist policy (sakoku), Dejima Island has been expanded by reclaimed land and incorporated into Nagasaki so that its original ambit is difficult to make out. Nevertheless, certain historical buildings still remain, and work is underway to restore the site for posterity.
One of the most interesting parts of Nagasaki is Glover Garden, another remnant of Nagasaki's cosmopolitan past. Named after the influential Scottish entrepreneur Thomas Glover, the park contains various colonial-style mansions that were home to Western settlers in the second half of the 19th century, and is now open to the public as a fascinating open-air museum.
Somewhat later in Nagasaki's history, in 1945, an ill-fated break in the clouds led to the city becoming the target of an atomic bomb originally intended for Fukuoka. It was the second, and last, time in history that a city would be decimated by an atomic weapon. For those interested in this sombre aspect of Nagasaki's history, the Peace Museum and Peace Park in the north of the town gives an interesting and sobering insight into the background of the war and the aftermath of the attack.
With its easy-to-use tram system and attractive vintage streetcars, Nagasaki is a joy to explore. Blessed with a cosmopolitan and relaxed atmosphere, the city is remembered by many visitors as one of the most pleasant experiences in all Japan. To cap off your visit, we highly recommend an evening cable car trip to the top of Mount Inasa-yama for a spectacular night-time panorama over the city.
Recommended Accommodation in Nagasaki
The following are our favourites from among the western-style hotels and Japanese-style inns of Nagasaki.
Hotel Forza Nagasaki
Experiences in Nagasaki
Nagasaki offers a wealth of exciting experiences that will help you get beneath the surface of Japan's fascinating culture. See below for a few of our favourites
Weather in Nagasaki
The Climate Guide for Nagasaki, Japan is perfect for planning your holiday. Monthly weather averages give the best indication of what the weather is usually like for every month of the year including figures for temperature, rainfall and sunshine.
|Max Daytime Temperature (°C)||10||11||15||19||23||26||30||31||27||23||18||12|
|Min Night-time Temperature (°C)||2||3||6||10||14||19||23||23||20||14||9||3|
|Hours of Sunshine (Daily)||3||4||5||5||6||5||6||7||6||6||5||3|
|Hours of Daylight (Daily)||10||11||12||13||14||14||14||13||12||11||10||10|
|Heat and Humidity Discomfort||None||None||None||None||None||Low||High||High||Moderate||None||None||None|
|Days with some Rainfall||15||15||16||15||15||18||19||17||16||12||12||14|
|Monthly Rainfall (mm)||71||91||162||195||221||415||397||290||219||94||86||54|
|UV Index (Maximum)||3||5||7||9||10||10||11||11||9||6||4||3|
Featured trips including Nagasaki
Kyushu Adventure (Classic)
- Kirishima National Park
- Kurokawa Onsen
If you're an adventurous traveller who wants to discover a side of Japan rarely seen by outsiders, this itinerary could be the one for you.
13 nights: from US$3406 pp (twin share) Read more >
Kyushu Adventure (Superior)
- Kirishima National Park
- Kurokawa Onsen
Discover the impressive landscapes and vibrant cities of Kyushu on this journey from the forests of Yakushima to Kurokawa Onsen's hot springs
13 nights: from US$5252 pp (twin share) Read more >