Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki

Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki are located on the grounds of Yamazato Elementary School and are possible for viewings but only on weekends and holidays as during the week regular school classes are held at this working Elementary School.

In early 1945 as the war effort reached a fever pitch, an air raid shelter was dug at the Yamazato Elementary School, located about 600 meters north of the hypocenter, in order to protect the lives of the pupils from anticipated air attacks.  After the atomic bombing, burned and injured children, teachers and neighborhood residents crowded into the shelter, where ultimately most of them died.  Although the Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki are now closed and chained off to the general public, their images still give you chill as you can nearly see and feel the fear and cries of desperation on the children as they struggle to find friends and loved ones and desperate just for one drop of water to quench their thirst.

The Yamazato Elementary School site also has a Children's Memorial which was erected in November 1949.  A small girl clad in traditional farm-style clothing kneels in prayer amid the flames ignited by the atomic bomb.  This memorial was erected upon the suggestion of Dr. Nagai and was paid for with funds donated by him and with royalties from the book "Living Under an Atomic Cloud", a collection of excerpts taken from the diaries of pupils who survived.  It is dedicated to the memory of the 1,300 pupils and teachers who died as well as their families.

This place and its remaining Memorials certainly is a sombre and sad place to visit.  It is very hard to try an imagine all the children, teachers and innocent people that were affected by the viciousness of war.  It is from these places that we can learn to forgive the wrongs of the past and build a better future for our children,one where war and terror can be eliminated from the horizon.

A must see but only on weekends!

Come and check out Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki on a map:

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

The Air Raid Shelters saved many lives

Restored to their previous state

They are long indeed

One of the tunnels

From the outside

Click on the video below to see more of the Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki:

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops

Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops that you see here in the photos below are part of the Nagasaki character and adds to her personality unlike any other attraction within the Nagasaki city limits.  Just another random if not crazy idea that some town official thought up but for whatever reason it has stuck and become a permanent and important fixture of the town's psyche.  In the sleepy town of Konagai, Nagasaki right on the boarder of Saga Prefecture there are some Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops that will stop you in your tracks and make you say to yourself, "Why haven't I ever seen this before?"

As you drive from one bus stop to the next, you will wonder what fruit or vegetable will come next.  In some ways, when you don't see your favorite one you wonder why it hasn't been included and of course when you have passed the last one and headed into the next prefecture you will also have a slight feeling of disappointment that you won't see another one again in Japan, period!

Some of the Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops have seen better days and they are in need of a touch up or repair or better still a repaint but just to see one up close to touch and feel and to sit inside as to re enact the feeling of waiting for a bus is exciting in itself.  Come and enjoy the Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops even if it's just for a fleeting moment!

Come and check out The Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

Mouth watering Watermelon

Juicy strawberry

Appealing Melon

Tasty Tomato

Delicious Orange

My favorite

Friday, March 30, 2018

Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine

Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine is the major Shrine of Nagasaki and home to the revered Nagasaki Kunchi Festival.  It is located in the northern part of the city on the slopes of Mount Tamazono and features a 277-step stone staircase leading up the mountain to the various buildings that comprise the shrine.

The official date of construction for Suwa Shrine is 1614, the same year as Tokugawa Ieyasu Edict against Christianity.  Although there was little more than a small structure to mark the position of the future shrine at this time, it has grown into the massive structure and many sub structures that we see today.

Suwa Shrine survived the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.  It is thought to have survived intact due to its strategic location in the central part of Mount Tamazono southern flank.  In the aftermath of the bomb local residents were quick to note that while the famous Urakami Cathedral and surrounding Catholic neighborhoods were obliterated, the Shinto Shrine still stood.  This was considered to be significant by the survivors of the bombing, showing the power of the native Japanese Gods as opposed to the imported Christian God.  In addition, priests from Suwa Shrine took an active role in the rebuilding of Nagasaki, including consecrating the land and purifying structures that still stood after the fact.

Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine is also the host to many annual festivals.  These festivals serve the joint purpose of honoring the Gods, provide a sense of community for shrine worshipers and providing exposure and income for the shrine itself.  Some of these festivals are typical to all major Shinto shrines in Japan, but some are unique to the Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine.

The most famous of Suwa Shrine's festivals is Kunchi.  This festival began along with the founding of the shrine as a way to both demonstrate its new importance in the community and as a way to hunt for Hidden Christians.   Kunchi is held from October 7th to 9th every year and is considered one of the major festivals in all of Japan.  It has been designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset.

As of yet i haven't had the privilege to attend the Kunchi Festival as tickets and locations are had to obtain because of the popularity but around the city there are many complimentary places whereby free viewing performances of various dances and exhibitions are available to the general public.  It is absolutely on my to do wish list and I will be making this one of my Must Do Nagasaki Experiences.

Check out Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

Lots of steps to climb, 277 to be exact

The main building

Lots of shrine gates

Japanese Flag

The view from the top!

Pray time

Lots of Statues

An interesting place indeed

Interesting and beautiful water feature

Check out the videos of Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine below:

Monday, February 12, 2018

Nagasaki Chinatown Lantern Festival

Nagasaki Chinatown Lantern Festival is not for the faint hearted!   If you are brave and not afraid of crowds and I do mean thousands of people crammed into a relatively small area like Chinatown in the middle of Downtown Nagasaki, then this is the place to be.  The Nagasaki Lantern Festival has something for everyone!!  At night is when the real Nagasaki Lantern Festival Chinatown comes alive.  Lanterns of every size and shape imaginable, colours that will mesmerize you and of course divine Chinese food with smells from out of this world.

Check out some of the photos below of the intense and amazing sights and scenes to be had at Nagasaki's biggest and best festival.

Click here to see Chinatown Nagasaki Lantern Festival on a map:

Click on the pics to enlarge!

Massive Lanterns

Interesting faces

One of my favorites

Click here to see more of Nagasaki Chinatown Lantern Festival on a video:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hasami Ceramic Park Nagasaki Museum

Hasami Ceramic Park Nagasaki Museum is a place that all Ceramic and Porcelain enthusiasts should visit whilst traveling and and around Nagasaki Prefecture.   Not only does it display Japanese and specifically Hasami Porcelain but it takes you on a historical tour of ceramics from around the globe and how these influences and techniques from abroad made it all the way to Japan and into the Hasami Ceramic community!

The Museum has been accumulating ceramics and porcelain from every corner of Kyushu with a focus on Hizen porcelain. On display in the museum are the period features and the history of Kyushu porcelain. The museum also showcases the art work of modern day artisans. The exhibition rooms are separated into five where visitors can acquire a deeper understanding of the character, art work and history of the ceramics of Kyushu

Hasami porcelain is characterized by its beauty of pure white porcelain and the delicately painted decoration glazed with a blue pigment. The grace of openwork in a wickerwork design and mesh design is unique to Hasami porcelain. Originally it was produced for common people, and has cultivated a long tradition of beauty.  Both the traditional skills to produce the porcelain and the craftworker’s motivation to hand down the tradition are surely found today. The manufacturers have improved and changed the shapes of Hasami porcelain so that they catered more to people’s needs at that time. It has been a very adaptable product.  Hasami porcelain has a history of 400 years, which also tells us a history of food culture in Japan.

I really enjoyed my self guided tour through the Hasami Ceramic Park Nagasaki Museum and wish to come back again, I am sure you will feel the same.

Click on the link to see Hasami Ceramic Park Nagasaki Museum on a map:

Please click on the pictures below to enlarge:

Ceramics from all over the world

Beautifully presented!

All different sizes and shapes

Great presentation techniques

This is the place to come

Please check out this video of the Hasami Ceramic Park Nagasaki Museum below: