Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Legged Torii Nagasaki

One Legged Torii Nagasaki (gate entrance of a Shrine) is well known as one of the unanticipated consequences of the atomic bomb blast on August 9, 1945.  The epicenter of the bomb's destructive force was located approximately 800 meters from the Shrine and as a result, one support column was knocked down but the other somehow remained standing, even though it was rotated about 30 degrees on its pedestal base, and facing another direction than its original position.

Just to stand here now and see the remnants of the bomb and its effects on Nagasaki makes one realized how significant life really is. "The One-Legged Torii Nagasaki bears the scars of traumas past and still stands with determination" is a famous quote I once heard that really resonates with me and provides me inspiration whenever I am going through a tough time and need to re-evaluate what is really important in life.

The One Legged Torii Nagasaki a real find and a place that pictures just don't do justice.  A little word of warning though, the actual location is situated above the road level and quite an amount of stair climbing is involved in getting to the place in point.  Pictures can be taken from below and will give you a sense of the power of the atomic explosion all those years ago but of course to get up close and personal and to touch the monument will give you so much more of a connection.  You will just have to conserve the amount of stairs you climb during the day and save them all up for the last and biggest climb of them all, you won't be disappointed!  Our Private Nagasaki and Shimabara Tours nearly always visits this site at the end of the day before returning to the Nagasaki Port which is only 10 minutes away.

Check out the One Legged Torii Nagasaki on a map!

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Lots of stairs

Great story

In all its glory

Still standing

Destroyed column

English info

Please check out the One Legged Torii in the videos below:

26 Martyrdom Site Nagasaki

26 Martyrdom Site Nagasaki was built on Nishizaka Hill on June 1962 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the canonization of the Christians executed on the site on February 5th 1597.

26 people had been arrested in Kyoto and Osaka on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (the national ruler) for preaching Christianity which had been outlawed at the time . They were imprisoned, then later marched approx 800kms through the snow to Nagasaki, so that their execution might serve as a deterrent to Nagasaki's large Christian population. Hung up (crucified) on 26 crosses with chains and ropes, the Christians were martyred in front of a large crowd.

Today, the site is a revered as a holy site for pilgrims from within Japan and abroad!  In today's society it is hard to believe that something like this even took place but one has to remember the fight, battles and wars between countries and people to protect their independence and to fight against injustices brought upon them by the rulers and Governments of the time.  Considering all this one can realize that events like this did occur and should be remembered through Monuments and ceremonies highlighting their struggles and ultimately their lives.

Seeing the busts of the 2 boys within the 26 Martyrdom Site Nagasaki was especially difficult to fathom but I guess in order to really make the strongest point possible to the citizens of Japan and especially Nagasaki the powers to be at the time decided to make an example of the youth which would have been extremely difficult for the believers and those at a crossroads in their religious developments.

Well worth a visit and a stroll down memory lane although i must warn you the site can pull at your heart strings.

Check out the 26 Martydrom Site Nagasaki on a map:

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Popular Location

Main Landmark

Strong message

Here is a video showing the 26 Martyrdom Site Nagasaki:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nagasaki Bomb Epicenter

The Nagasaki Bomb Epicenter is a stark reminder of what happened all those years ago where in an instant mankind unleashed its fury on civilization for generations to deal with the repercussions in the future.  It is for this reason that we need to remember and to discuss the shortcomings of mankind to make sure this sort of action is not repeated in the future for our generation and the many that are to follow in our footsteps.

The bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki was a plutonium bomb, which is said to have been about three times more powerful than the uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima.  The bomb was 3.2 meters in length, 1.5 meters in diameter, and 4.5 tons in weight.  It exploded about 500 meters above Matsuyama Machi at 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945 on that frightful day nearly over 70 years ago now.

This statue shown below in the picture is the exact location of where the bomb would have landed had it detonated upon impact with the ground.  It is a surreal feeling to try and contemplate the enormity of the situation but I guess it is necessary to remember in order to not make the same mistakes in the future and to learn from the past.

A must visit location when in Nagasaki as the Nagasaki Bomb Epicenter sits in a lovely park adjacent to the main Peace Park and only a short distance to the Nagasaki Peace Park Museum, so one can basically 3 kill birds with 1 stone and see all the major attractions in the area in a short period of time, thus maximizing satisfaction.

Check out the Nagasaki Bomb Epicenter on a map!

Epicenter Monolith

The statue indicating the exact location of the bomb

Such a lonely figure

The destruction

Click on the video link below to see the Nagasaki Bomb Epicenter

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nagasaki Spectacles Bridge

The Nagasaki Spectacles Bridge is one of the main attractions in the center of the city.  Located just a stones throw away from Chinatown it isn't unreasonable to visit both locations within a short period of time especially for those visitors that don't have a extended period of time in the city.

The bridge was built in 1634 during the period of National isolation and was constructed by a 2nd generation Chinese Monk from the Kofukuji Temple in Nagasaki which is the oldest Chinese Temple in all of Japan.

The Spectacle Bridge is so aptly named because it resembles a pair of glasses when the evening shadows are reflected on the surface of the river below.  The Bridge is regarded as one of the three most important bridges and construction engineering feats of its time.

The area now is a major attraction in Nagasaki City.  Retains a lot of its history and has many cafes and restaurants nearby.  Well worth a stroll and also a photo or 2 along the way.

Please check out Nagasaki Spectacle Bridge here on a map:

Click to enlarge the photos below:

One of the minor bridges

The shadows

Multiple Bridges in the Area

One of the main bridges

Check out the video below of the Nagasaki Spectacle Bridge:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nagasaki Rose Festival

The Nagasaki Rose Festival is on once a year from the beginning of June for approx 2 weeks at Nagasaki's one and only truly international event.  The amazing Huis Ten Bosch comes alive with Roses aplenty to satisfy everyone, green thumbs especially!   But even if you are no gardener you can still come and enjoy, ponder and express your thoughts at this. all things Roses orientated event.

The Nagasaki Rose Festival attracts visitors from all over the world who are attracted by more than 1 million roses and there are around 1000 different varieties which are spread out all over the town in a splendid and tasteful presentation.  The night time light up was as spectacular as anything I have seen recently, the direct light on the roses really showed their natural hues to perfection.

For me, who isn't a true gardener of sorts, just to stroll around and check out all the different colors and species of Roses was a real eye opener.  In some ways i thought i should try and be more active in the garden and will endeavour to do so in the future.  As for the real enthusiasts, I marvelled at the amount of people who came, the amount of photographs they took and their passion for all things flowers.  Truly an inspirational experience!!

A must for any garden and especially flower lover.

Check out the Nagasaki Rose Festival at Huis Ten Bosch on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

Love the red Roses

Amazing colours

Smell the freshness

Beautiful smells

1000 different varieties

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tomigawa Ravine Nagasaki

Tomigawa Ravine Nagasaki is a small but gorgeous ravine is in a quiet forested area about 8 km off the main road that bisects Isahaya and Omura Cities in Nagasaki Prefecture.   Small waterfalls cascade into pools inhabited by frogs and fish and it is quite a delight to see nature they way that it was intended to be seen, that is largely untouched by over development and too many tourists.  On the day i visited there wasn't too much activity as the annual rainy season that begins in June ( lasts for approx 5 weeks) hadn't commenced yet, thus there wasn't a lot of water in the area.

The park area extends above the ravine where you can cross on a rope bridge and the lookout is just divine from the top . There are picnic shelters and restrooms as well as a A-frame bungalows with cooking facilities, toilets, bedding can be rented and you can also camp here.  Well worth a look especially after the rainy season where the water is gushing down rather than trickling and the waterfall area will be quite deep for at least a nice cool swim in the pools or at the best a couple of jumps from the rocks above.

I will absolutely be returning to Tomigawa Ravine Nagasaki again in October/ November to see the Autumn foliage in full bloom.  The amount of Maple trees in the area are beyond normal and I am sure that the leaf changing colours will be intense as well as impressive to the eye.

One word of caution though, mosquito's can be harsh and appropriate clothing is necessary especially in June and July when the rainy season is at its peak.

Come and check out Tomigawa Ravine Nagasaki on a map:

The lookout
Beautiful Maple Leaves
Top of the ravine