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Few cities on Earth epitomize the agony and tragedy of war more than Nagasaki. But since it was destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945, this vibrant Japanese port city has re-emerged as a beacon of hope and a symbol of peace for the world. Located on Kyushu Island in the far southwest of Japan, Nagasaki has warm, sub-tropical climate that makes it pleasant to visit at any time of year. It is also one of the closest Japanese cities to the Asian mainland, which is reflected by its cosmopolitan vibe and international outlook. All guests in the city should take the time to visit the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and National Peace Memorial Hall, which are located close to "ground zero" and provide poignant reminders of the devastation caused by the bombing. Book now at The Hotel Nagasaki, BW Premier Collection, and explore everything this incredible city has to offer.
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Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum was originally developed in 1955, 10 years after the city was obliterated by the bomb. The current building however, opened in 1996 and now houses a vast array of important historical documents relating to the attack, including photographs and artifacts. One of the most important and symbolic exhibits is a clock which stopped at 11:02 - the exact time the bomb hit the city. The concept behind the museum is to show visitors how completely the city was devastated by the bomb, both in the short and longer terms, including the effects of radiation on the population. The impact can be harrowing, but it serves as an important reminder to future generations.
Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
The Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims is a commemorative monument to the estimated 70,000 people who died when the city was destroyed in 1945. Located at "ground zero", next to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, the Memorial Hall is a poignant reminder of the unthinkable tragedy that befell the city. Designed as a place to remember and pray for those killed, the hall features photos, memoirs and personal accounts. The 12 "pillars of light" are intended to symbolize hope for peace, and at night, 70,000 fiber optic lights are illuminated across the surface of a reflective pool, symbolizing the victims.
The Peace Park
Established in 1955, the Peace Park provides a space for both locals and visitors to come and reflect on the devastating attack suffered by Nagasaki in 1945. At the "hypocenter" of the atomic bomb’s catastrophic explosion sits the 10-meter-tall bronze Nagasaki Peace Statue, while nearby lies the dove-shaped Fountain of Peace and a sculpture garden, the Peace Symbol Zone, which has received contributions from artists around the world. Visitors can also see the remains of a wall of the original Urakami Cathedral, which was destroyed by the blast. Every year on August 9, a ceremony is held in the park.
Mount Inasa and Nagasaki Ropeway
Rising 333 meters, Mount Inasa provides a wonderful break from the heat and humidity of the city, and the perfect spot from which to enjoy panoramic views of Nagasaki, the port and surrounding hills. Located just west of the city center, Mount Inasa is easily accessible by car or bus. But the most satisfying way of reaching the peak is by cable car, with the Nagasaki Ropeway taking guests to the top in just five minutes. Gondolas leave every 15-20 minutes. The views from the observation deck are spectacular, especially at night, and there is also a restaurant at the summit.
Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium
Penguins are among the world's most charming and popular animals, and this attraction provides an exceptional opportunity to get up close to these charismatic creatures. The Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium features half of the world's different species of penguin (nine out of eighteen) with a total of 180 penguins living in the center. More than half of these were born at the aquarium, reflecting the success of its breeding program. It is also home to what is believed to be the oldest living penguin in the world. Visitors can enjoy seeing the penguins swimming in large, glass-walled tanks, and even interact with the animals at feeding times.
Glover Garden & Residence
Originally created for the British merchant Thomas Blake Glover, Nagasaki's Glover Garden is now a public park that features the Glover Residence, the oldest surviving Western-style house in Japan. Nestled on a hillside overlooking the harbor, the house was completed in 1863 and resembles the colonial houses built in other Asian treaty ports such as Shanghai and Hong Kong. It has been nicknamed "Madame Butterfly House" after the building in Puccini's famous opera, which was set in Nagasaki. Glover Garden & Residence is now a popular attraction for locals and visitors, and has been designated an Important Cultural Asset.
Nagasaki's Immaculate Conception Cathedral, also known as Urakami Cathedral, provides a deep insight into the international history of this port city. Portuguese explorers first brought Christianity to Nagasaki in the 1500s, and when a French priest arrived in the city in 1865 he was amazed to discover that almost all the locals in the Urakami area were Christian. Construction of Urakami Cathedral began in 1895 and was eventually completed in 1925, becoming the largest Christian structure in the Asia Pacific region. It lasted only 20 years before being destroyed by the atomic bomb of 1945, but a replacement was built in 1959 and remains a symbol of Nagasaki's enduring Christianity.
Things to do in Nagasaki