Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ariake Sea Nagasaki

The Ariake Sea is a body of salt water surrounded by Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki and Kumamoto Prefectures.  It is the largest bay in Kyushu.  Its deepest point is only about 50 m deep but extreme tides exceed 4 m.  It is used for aquaculture with seaweed being a major product.

Various species of fauna including mud skippers, shellfish and crab live in the Ariake Sea.  The views from Mount Unzen are spectacular with Kumamoto and the nearby Mount Aso area visible on a clear day.

Check out the Ariake Sea on a map!

Amazing view of the Ariake Sea

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nagasaki Old Chinese Settlement

Nagasaki Old Chinese Settlement was home for many Chinese sailors and traders who traded goods with the Japanese from the 15th to 19th centuries.  The Chinese Traders came to Nagasaki because it was the only "open port" to visit Japan at this time.  The Government at the time  only allowed Nagasaki to stay open throughout all of Japan and closed off Japan to the rest of world from western foreign powers in order to prevent the spread of Christianity.

Strict rules were placed on these Chinese to never be outside their settlement at night and they were not allowed to live outside of the gates that kept them virtual prisoners inside the gates.  However at least the Chinese Settlement was on the mainland within Nagasaki City.  The Dutch, who were the only other traders allowed to enter Japan at that time because their Religious beliefs were not as severe as others such as the Portuguese, had to live on an artificial island just off the mainland and weren't even allowed to step on the mainland itself, business had to be conducted on the island called Dejima.

Today a  great walking course around the old areas of Nagasaki city exists and it is possible to step back in time and see how the Chinese lived in a limited way all those years ago.  Well worth a stroll around the oldest area of the city and to look at the buildings erected centuries ago.  If the old walls of the Old Chinese Settlement could talk you would be able to play a game of Chinese Whispers, the only question would be in whether you would understand the Chinese vocab in these ancient times?

See the Nagasaki Old Chinese settlement on a map!

Click on the pictures below to enlarge:

Nagasaki Old Chinese settlement Chinese temple

Nagasaki Old Chinese settlement
Old Chinese building



Nagasaki Old Chinese Settlement
The way it was!

Check out the Nagasaki Old Chinese Settlement in the video below:

https://youtu.be/KKmLyadqcu4

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Omura Bay Coast Nagasaki

Omura Bay is located in the central part of Nagasaki Prefecture. The nearby Nagasaki Airport stretches out towards the sea and is the gate to Nagasaki. The bay and its coasts present a beautiful contrast between the intricate inlets and green-covered islands and the deep blue sea.  The whole bay area is designated as Omura Park, a prefectural nature park.

Many small town are communities are dotted along the entire coast of the Omura Bay.  The local train meanders up and down the coast and if you are patient you will be able to see it in all its glory.  A gorgeous body of water with exceptional views from all angles!

Check out Omura Bay on a map!

Train line along the Omura Bay Coast

Check out the video below of the Omura Bay Coast Nagasaki:

https://youtu.be/yQk8W1e7nps

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown

Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown is located in the centre of Nagasaki City and is also known as Shinchi.  There you will find four gates facing in four different directions.  These gates are called the Seiryu-mon,  Byakko-mon,  Suzaku-mon and Genbu-mon, with the suffix mon meaning gate in English.  Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown is a major draw card for tourists who seem to flock here in major numbers so you have to be careful to avoid the constant rush of people and the non stop clicks of cameras going off left, right and center!

There are many Chinese restaurants and stores selling Chinese goods throughout the area, allowing you to enjoy a bit of Chinese flavor in Nagasaki.  During the Chinese New Year this place serves as the center of the Nagasaki Lantern Festival, which is the feature winter event in Nagasaki. The whole area is decorated with many Chinese lanterns, drawing crowds of people from all around Japan and the world.

It's a great place to take a walk, lose yourself in a different part of Japan and soak in the rich history of the area.  The Chinese were major traders in the area for centuries and their presence can still be felt today reaching out to the masses.  The food here is very authentic as I am sure the traditional Chinese recipes have been passed down from generation to generation to carry on the traditions and make sure their culture remains strong and intact.  So, if you want some Chinese food that is as good as what it is in Shanghai then Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown is the place to come and experience its amazing flavors and smells.

Click here to see Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown The gate entrance to Chinatown

Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown
One of the four gates



Have a look and feel Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown on the video below:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dejima Island Nagasaki

Dejima Island Nagasaki was the sole trading spot with foreign countries from the 17th to the 19th centuries.  It is a island with a 400-year history of Dutch trade.

Dejima was an artificial island built in the shape of a fan with an area of about 13,000 square meters. It was built south of the current city center during the Edo Period in order to accommodate Portuguese Christian missionaries and prevent the propagation of their religion. It also used to be the residential quarters of the Dutch, the only foreigners allowed to trade in Japan during the Sakoku (Isolation) Period and a Dutch Trading House operated on the island. For 200 years, until Japan reopened the country in the 19th century, Dejima was its only window to the world compared to the rest of Japan that lived in complete isolation from all things foreign.

Today, Dejima Island Nagasaki has been preserved and is an excellent example of what life was like in Japan and particularly Nagasaki 300 years ago.  The buildings have been painstakingly reformed to their original condition and the gardens are well looked after.  Someone could spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours just strolling around and being transported back to past.  Inside Dejima Island Nagasaki there is a model replica of the entire island that has been made in order to show exactly what the island looks like in tiny detail with retaining wall and moat to boot.   This replica by itself took up about 20 minutes of my time as I studied and screened everything.  Absolutely amazing!!

Click on the link to see Dejima Island Nagasaki on a map!

Here are some pictures of what Dejima Island Nagasaki looks like today:
Click to enlarge:

Dejima Island Nagasaki Replica of Dejima Island from the 1700's
Dejima Island Nagasaki
The dress at the time!


Check out Dejima Island Nagasaki on a video below: