Kyūshū is the most south of all five Japanese islands and offers a huge variety of cultural and historical treasures. Even though Fukuoka is the biggest city of Kyūshū, there is way more to explore on the Japanese south coast. Let’s take a look at the city that was Japan’s most important trading post and harbor for centuries, Nagasaki (長崎).
Nagasaki is the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture. It became a centre of Portuguese and Dutch influence in the 16th through 19th centuries, and the Churches of Nagasaki, which were founded by the large percentage of Christian population, have been proposed for inscription on the UNESCO world heritage list. Part of Nagasaki was home to a major Japanese Navy base, its name means “long cape”.
Consensus among historians was that once Nagasaki was Japan’s only window on the world during its time as a closed country in the Tokugawa era. However, nowadays it is generally accepted that this was not the case, since Japan interacted and traded with Korea and Russia through Satsuma Tsushima and Matsumae respectively.
The city is surrounded by the cities of Isahaya, Sakai and Nagayo. Nagasaki lies at the head of a long bay which forms the best natural harbor on the island of Kyūshū. The main commercial and residential area of the city lies on a small plain near the end of the bay. Two rivers divided by a mountain spur form the two main valleys in which the city lies. The heavily built-up area of the city is confined by the terrain to less than 10 square kilometer.
Nagasaki is an interesting city with a long history, including the nuclear bombing in world war 2 that is reminded of by numerous statues and museums. If you decide to make a trip to the city, you should go while the lantern festival takes place! The Nagasaki Lantern Festival, celebrating the Chinese new year, is celebrated from February 18 to March 4.