About 2 hours away from Fukuoka is another famous tourist destination. Nagasaki was very famous as a port city in the past, but most people would recognize the name as that second city after Hiroshima to be destroyed by an atomic bomb during the 2nd World War.
My family and I took the Express Train from Hakata Station in Fukuoka straight to Nagasaki Station. Had a free day so instead of just shopping we spontaneously decided to check this place out.
Best decision ever.
If you take a bus to Nagasaki from the Hakata Bus Terminal in Fukuoka, it will take you around 2 and half hours. Great alternative if you’re a bus person.
Near the Nagasaki station. Purdy clouds.
L from Death Note (lol)
Took a bus to go nearer the Atomic Bomb Museum.
Passed by a building with tokusatsu sentai mascot Daiwaman X by the window.
My family and I had lunch at some revolving sushi restaurant near the museum.
And every single plate looked like this. How are the Japanese able to maintain their weight when all the food available in the country is so good?
The Peace Memorial Park outside the museum. After the bridge is a giant space where the hypocenter monument lies.
Folding a thousand cranes can grant you a wish, according to Japanese legend. These cranes donated by the locals expressed their desire for peace after the tragedy that happened to them.
By the entrance of the Atomic Bomb Museum.
Going to save everyone from very graphic war photographs, but in a nutshell, most of the contents of the museum were remnants that were saved after the atomic bomb hit Nagasaki, as well as detailed timelines of World War II so people can understand the events that led to this very specific and traumatic moment in history.
And here I started tearing up. One part of the museum presented different accounts of atomic bomb survivors.
At this stage I was bawling. Not only did civilians suffer from losing their family members, but they were also exposed to the “atomic bomb disease” caused by heat rays and radiation.
“The Boy Standing by the Crematory in Nagasaki” by Joe O’Donnell. Very “Grave of the Fireflies”, don’t you think?
One of the most tragic, most heartbreaking war photographs I have ever seen in my entire life. The story behind it is so powerful and moving as well.
The photographer was interviewed by a certain Seiko Ueda – “I came in from Sasebo to Nagasaki and looked around from a hill. Men walking with white masks caught my attention. The men were working besides a big hole of about 60cm deep. They were putting the corpses piled up on a wagon into the hole with burning lime . Then I saw a boy of around ten years old walking toward them. He had his little brother baby strapped on his back. In those days, it was quite common in Japan to see young boys carrying their little brother or sister on their back while playing in the field. But this boy wasn’t here to play. He had a very important duty to come to this crematory. You could see it on his face. And he was barefoot. The boy came to the edge of the crematory. His face was stiff and his eyes were bracing for an ordeal. The baby on his back looked deep asleep and the head was bent backward. The boy stood there for five or ten minutes. Then the men with the white masks came towards him and started to untie the straps. At this moment, I realized that this baby brother he was carrying was dead. The men gently held the baby’s arms and legs and slowly put him into the hole where the hot stones are laid. I could hear the steaming sound of the baby’s flesh burning. Then a gleaming red flare danced up in the air. The bright red color like the sunset was reflecting on the yet tender boy’s cheek as he stood there straight and still. That moment, I realized that the boy was biting his lip and it was bleeding. He was biting hard as he gazed his little brother in flames. When the flames had calmed down, the boy turned on his heels and left the place silently.”
Left the museum with bloodshot eyes, but our tour guide Hiro-san managed to sum it all up in a good way. She mentioned that this museum wasn’t made to make the Japanese purely appear as victims of the World War since they admit that they also had their own share of violence back then. It was made so that everyone can learn from this traumatic experience, having just been reminded of that time when human beings actually resorted to these very grave measures.
A monument of Sadako, of “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” fame.
Not Sadako of Ringu fame.
Walked past the bridge from the museum to get to…
…the monument that marks the hypocenter of the atomic bomb.
They were able to estimate its exact location because all the trees around this point were still standing, which could only happen since the initial impact of the bomb was vertical.
A piece of rock that was exposed to atomic bomb radiation, preserved behind a protective container.
Suddenly, a photograph of my brothers to lighten this entry up! No more depressing stuff after this, I promise!
A few blocks from the museum is this very large space they call the Nagasaki Peace Park.
Lots of installations and monuments to help promote world peace were donated by artists from all over the world and were displayed here.
And I finally got to take a picture of the canned coffee I mentioned in one of my older Fukuoka posts. My brothers always had to get their daily caffeine fix, but it would never be satisfied by any other kind of coffee except for this one.
While we were in Japan, at least.
Random view of the pathway to Oura Catholic Church.
And of course we had to try some meat buns while we were there.
Bumped into this cat while walking and…
…soon after realized that it just might be the artist of these portraits (lol)
What would a manga writer think about this situation?
Oura Catholic Church is Japan’s oldest standing church, and is the only Western building to be designated as a national treasure. Can’t believe this has been preserved since 1863.
Nagasaki has a very large population of Catholics, which only explains the very famous line “Hiroshima in anger, Nagasaki in prayer.”
Behind the Oura Catholic Church is Glover Garden, an exhibit of mansions of Nagasaki’s former Western residents. Failed to take pictures of the actual recreated houses for some reason I can’t remember! To compensate, I shall just post a cute picture of some koi fish fighting for food.
From the houses you can enjoy a nice view of the port city of Nagasaki.
Our tour guide Hiro-san showing us a photo of one of Japan’s most loved heroes, Ryoma Sakamoto. Prior to this introduction, I already had an idea who he was… thanks to JIN, that genius Japanese drama about a doctor time traveling to the past and saving people with brain surgery even if it wasn’t even invented yet. He traveled to Ryoma Sakamoto’s time!
He continues to be a very relevant figure in Nagasaki, as he established the Kameyama Shachu in this place. The Kameyama Shachu or the Kaientai is only Japan’s first trading company!
Ryoma Sakamoto also had a secret meeting place inside one of Glover’s houses. I saw it. I just failed to take a proper picture of it (again).
Used my ninja photography skills once more because the branches were framing this girl perfectly and I just had to take a picture.
Found out she was trying to take a picture of the sunset so I took a picture of it too.
What better way to end the tour than to see cherry blossoms! They’re not supposed to bloom until spring but our tour guide says that the tree must’ve gotten confused with the very erratic weather conditions they’ve been having.
2 years ago, I missed the cherry blossoms in Tokyo by a few weeks! /cry
Took the bus back to somewhere nearer the Nagasaki Station since it was getting late. Snapped a photo of this couple that we saw earlier at Glover Garden. They were also so excited about the cherry blossoms so I guess it really is very rare to see them bloom in winter.
After dinner, we walked around this place called S TOBI. It was already rather late in the evening and the stores were closing but our tour guide made it a point to drop by a certain dessert store to get a slice of cake for her daughter. Too bad I can’t remember the name of the store but they supposedly have the most glorious treats!
Perfect hair and perfect coats! Managed to do zero shopping in Nagasaki but it was all good because I can be such a geek sometimes! This place has such a rich history that no amount of shopping can ever compare to the things I was able to see here.
Long, educational day at Nagasaki ended as soon as we boarded the train back to Hakata Station in Fukuoka. Spent the first hour in the train sleeping, and the next hour just fooling around with my brothers Juju and Calel. Managed to re-enact parts of Inception while pretending to sleep/dream. Aptly called the whole thing Trainception afterwards.
Psyched to go to Hiroshima some time in the future. Heard the place is just as wonderful! I hope more people can go visit Japan this year. Why this place is my favorite cannot be fully explained by these pictures or words. I can only try.