Sunday, December 1, 2013

Unzen Nagasaki Christian Memorial

The Unzen Nagasaki Christian Memorial is a very special place indeed.  It is hard to believe that such a special, unique and picturesque place was actually a murdering ground for the prosecution and killing of Christians all those years ago in feudal Japan.

During the depression of Jigoku (1627-1632) many Christians were killed.  Though it is impossible now to indicate the exact place in which many Christians suffered martyrdom, two monumental stones were placed in the Jigoku (Hell Ponds) to honor the martyrs.  One is called "Seika Moyu no Hi," (monument of sacred flame) which was built in 1939.  The Japanese poem written by Chosuke Ikuta is inscribed and reads "Your exalted spirits and sacred red blood have never faded away and are still vividly seen through the red mountain covered by azalea flowers."

The other monument is of the Christian Cross and was raised by Archbishop of Nagasaki in 1961.  On the surface of its setting stone, 6 martyrs' names are inscribed to keep the plight of these people many years ago alive and in the memory of all Christians of today and yesteryear.  It is a place that one can lost in the magnificent scenery not to mention the history of the area and at the same time you can learn about the Christians of Japan and the persecution that they had to endure in order to follow their faith.

Check out the Unzen Nagasaki Christian Memorial on a map:

Please click on the pictures below to enlarge:

Unzen Nagasaki Christian Memorial The names and dates of the Christians who were boiled to death

Unzen Nagasaki Christian Memorial This is where it all happened!

Unzen Nagasaki Christian Memorial The memorial stands to remember the Christians of the time

Unzen Nagasaki Christian Memorial Many Nagasaki Christian were martyred here!

Please check out the video of the Unzen Nagasaki Christian Memorial here:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki

Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki is one of those places that is a page out of yesteryear.   The people, the buildings and the community spirit are all from a bygone era where society was nicer to each other, people lived and acted by another ethos of friendship and support of their fellow man and the community worked together to get things done and create opportunity for all.

I was pleasantly surprised to walk around Hamanokawa town to see the extremely old Japanese houses and i felt the atmosphere of a place that still today in the 21st century follow so many rules and life experiences of a culture and spirit of centuries before.  The Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki is divided into 4  distinct areas and the system has been in place for 100's of years since feudal times and still holds fast today.

The 1st water chamber is used for the washing of fish and all types of foods such as vegetables and fruits.   The 2nd chamber is specifically for the rinsing of plates whilst the 3rd chamber is used for the washing of plates.  Finally the 4th chamber of water is only used for the washing of clothes.

When I arrived a little old lady was just finishing washing her clothes in the 4th chamber, I wanted to take a photo but she whisked away in a blur.  I really want to see these ancient systems in use by the local community, so I will return again someday and try and capture the process in full operation.

Please check out Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki on a map:

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki The oldest part of town in Shimabara

Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki The rules of how the system works

Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki The whole community uses the water for a variety of reasons

Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki Need to say thanks for the abundance of clean fresh water

Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki Shared by all the local community

Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki Well sign posted

Here is a video of the Hamanokawa Spring Shimabara Nagasaki, please take a look:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nagasaki Bio Park

Nagasaki Bio Park is an amazing place to visit as it really has something for everyone to enjoy.  You can watch from afar and enjoy the amazing facets of nature, whether they be various types of flora or fauna, both the big and small varieties.

It took me 5 years to get here to the Nagasaki Bio Park and the question i asked myself immediately was, why?  I know its location is a little out of the way (approx. a 1 hour drive from Nagasaki City) but the attractions and its value for money as well as being an amazing place to wander around and get up close and personal with the animals especially for the little ones is an amazing and necessary requirement to get people to come back again and again.

I decided to visit the Nagasaki Bio Park on a cool but windy autumn afternoon, the weather couldn't have been more pleasant and the atmosphere and mood of the animals and surrounding environment was better than first expected.  The kids got right into it from the beginning and were running from location to location trying to take in and process the information faster than their little brains could take, while the parents happily strolled behind content in their decision to come to this little slice of nature in Nagasaki.

For less than 5000 yen for 2 adults and 2 children, it make a full day let alone a half day visit a true value for money experience.  I am sure it will be less than 5 years for a repeat visit to take place.  Highly Recommend coming to the Nagasaki Bio Park!!

Check out the Nagasaki Bio Park on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge.

Nagasaki Bio Park Lots of hungry raccoons

Nagasaki Bio Park Checking out the Lesser Panda

Nagasaki Bio Park An interesting aquarium too!

Nagasaki Bio Park Very cute little Pineapples in the dome

Nagasaki Bio Park Orchids anyone?

Nagasaki Bio Park Lots of tropical flowers

Here is a video of the children having some interactive feeding time with the animals at the Nagasaki Bio Park:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hasami Ceramics Park Nagasaki

Hasami Ceramics Park Nagasaki is a great location to start your day and pursue all things ceramic and porcelain.  Hasami is a town with a population of 15 000 citizens and is surrounded by mountains and rolling hills of greenery.   Although it is very popular with the tourists it has still been able to maintain its rich history and strike a balance between traditional life and achieving a certain amount of modernism.

Hasami town has kept its tradition of producing daily-use ceramics for over four hundred years.  To date, Hasami ceramics have 13% of the domestic market share in ceramics for everyday use in Japan.  The Ceramics Park, which was coordinated by the legendary ceramic designer Masahiro Mori is definitely one of the highlights of the entire region.  The park is extremely well laid out, has an easy walking course and allows for many amazing photos.

I was able to gain a lot of knowledge during my visit to the Hasami Ceramics Park not because of any signs posted in English but because everything is well organized and simple to process the information.  I never knew that there so many types of kilns that existed and for one it was a great lesson in the history of pottery making in Japan and all over the world.

Anyone interested in pottery will absolutely enjoy the Hasami Ceramics Park, lots of history and information to be obtained.

Please check out Hasami Ceramics Park Nagasaki on a map:

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

Hasami Ceramics Park Nagasaki Lots of kilns to see and touch

Hasami Ceramics Park Nagasaki The bottle kilns are impressive

Hasami Ceramics Park Nagasaki A cut away version of the kilns

Hasami Ceramics Park Nagasaki Lots to see and do

Hasami Ceramics Park Nagasaki Even the retaining wall is full of ceramics

Hasami Ceramics Park Nagasaki The name says it all!

Check out the videos below of Hasami Ceramic Park Nagasaki:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fugen Mountain Nagasaki

Fugen Mountain Nagasaki is situated right in the middle of the Shimabara Peninsular and as a result it literally has 360 degrees uninterrupted spectacular views.  The wonderful thing about this is that as i drive from location to location around the peninsular I am able to get a different view and a different angle of the Volcano.  Each respective area has amazing and shows many unique characteristics of the Mountain that just can't be replicated.  This can easily been seen from the photos supplied, each photo has been taken from another location and this in turn changes the nature and intrinsic details of Mount Fugen Nagasaki.

Click to see Fugen Mountain Nagasaki on a map:

Check out the photos below to investigate and please click to enlarge:

Forever dangerous! Forever dangerous!

Peaceful for now! Peaceful for now!

The top of the mountain The top of the mountain

Friday, September 27, 2013

Nagasaki Kaminoshima Church

Nagasaki Kaminoshima Church is located on a hill at the entrance of the Nagasaki Port.  It is a church that was constructed in 1897 to welcome foreign ships to what was once a Christian town back in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Originally made out of wood and then finished in its final state of brick in 1897 it stands today as a beacon to all who pass into the mighty harbor of Nagasaki.  Seen from miles away as a result of its pure white facade contrasting against the brilliant cobalt blue of the magnificent water color within the Nagasaki Harbor, one cannot help to stare endlessly at the magnificent and striking details of this amazing building.

Located not too far away from the city centre but within a quiet and tucked away community, Nagasaki Kaminoshima Church has quite a strong and loyal following by its patrons.  I was able to view and explore the area in complete openness and freedom and I was able to take in a lot of  detail of the building and the outlying areas and was left with a strong and powerful feeling of the pride and passion put into up keeping the Church and its surrounds by those who are in charge of maintaining the Churches spectacular beauty.

I implore you to come and check out the area for yourself if you have an interest in Christianity, amazing scenic views and any type of spectacular architectural structures .

Please check Nagasaki Kaminoshima Church on a map:

Click on the pictures below to enlarge:

Kaminoshima Church

Good Morning Insciption

Such a beautifully presented place

Perched on a ledge for all to see

Overlooking the Harbor

The Entrance

Perched over the Church

Close up

The inside matches the outside, spotless!

Reaching to the sky

What an amazing view

Important inscriptions

Please check out the videos below of Kaminoshima Church Nagasaki:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Nagasaki Port Terminal

Nagasaki Port Terminal is not too far from the the city center and  is very centrally located close to many of the main attractions that Nagasaki has to offer.  It is literally across the street from Glover Gardens and really offers the best of both worlds by allowing people who want to visit the city's popular attractions the ability to do so within a sport period of time.

The Nagasaki Port Terminal was completed in March 2010 and offers a clean, beautifully and efficient disembarking process that will allow customers to get out of the building and into the real Nagasaki to see . It's landscaping includes green spaces with lawns and various trees on the rooftop of the terminal building.  Inside the terminal there is a post office where you can exchange money, mail postcards, and purchase stamps.

Nagasaki is an attractive city set on a plain between the active harbor and a backdrop of mountains.  Nagasaki  has developed attractive park promenades which are perfect for a quiet stroll and an escape from the urban hustle and bustle.  There are few modern harbors with such an impressive approach as the one Nagasaki offers.  This fjord-like channel is the view that has greeted thousands of visitors each year but it is when the Cruise ships are docked that really makes Nagasaki come alive.  The view of the cruise ships in port are impressive and such a dominating landmark on the cities skyline that it always makes the locals take a double take.  I am a local now and it makes me look more than twice I am sure you will do the same!!

Check out the Nagasaki Port Terminal on a map

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

A beautiful port to visit

Dominating the view

Modern and new facilities

One of the big ones to visit

Check out the video below of a Cruise Ship coming into the Port:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nagasaki Battleship Island

Nagasaki Battleship Island officially known as Hashima and it operated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mine.  Mitsubishi bought the island in 1890 and began extracting coal from undersea mines.  At it's peak in 1959, the 6.3-hectare island's population reached 5,259 inhabitants with a population density of 83,500 people per km2 for the whole island.

As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down and  the Nagasaki Battleship Island mines were no exception.  Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1974 and today it is empty and bare which is why it is sometimes called Ghost Island.

With no industry to support it, the island was quickly abandoned and has remained that way ever since. The eerie atmosphere and well-preserved concrete structures continue to spark the imagination of photographers and filmmakers alike, most recently serving as the inspiration for the villain Silva’s island lair in the 2012 James Bond film SKYFALL.

It was a real ambition of mine to get a closeup of this magnificent structure even though it is crumbling and falling apart as we speak.  To see an island that literally falling into the sea and slowly but surely disappearing from view was an amazing experience that everyone should have the opportunity to do whilst they can still can or better still whilst the island is still there. You had better hurry up while is still exists, barely though!

Please check out Nagasaki Battleship Island on a map:

Please click on the pictures below to enlarge:

Getting closer

close up

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Looks like a Battleship

Popular with tourists

Please click on the video below to view Nagasaki Battleship Island:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tachibana Bay Sunsets Nagasaki

Truly Indescribable Truly Indescribable

Tachibana Bay Sunsets Nagasaki are absolutely spectacular and without a doubt summertime provides the best chance to see one that will knock your socks off!  I was driving home one late evening and I just had to pull over and take a snap of this incredible sight.  Words really don't provide justice to the photo so I won't even try and explain, just let you take it all in enjoy for yourself.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium

The Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium is a place that I have always wanted to visit but for some reason that I am unable to explain it never really came up on my itinerary.  That was until my kids (I have 2) kept pestering me to go until I couldn't take their constant pleading anymore and we jumped into the car and sped to the entrance.

Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium's main feature is its penguins of course . The aquarium keeps eight species of penguins, including lovable Little Penguins but its highlight being the King Penguin, which can grow to nearly 1 metre in height.   It's pretty funny to see one's youngest stand beside one of these King Penguins and to be challenged by its height and weight I am presume as well!

Another highlight of the Aquarium is to see the penguins in their natural setting swimming freely in Tachibana Bay whereby an area has been isolated by using nets and the penguins are released into this part of the ocean to be observed by visitors. You can watch them behave naturally swimming in the water at high speed to catch feed thrown by the staff, which is a scene rarely observed elsewhere in the Aquarium world.  The cute little guys will come right up to you, waddle past and even take food from your hand.  The is about as close as I have ever come to a real Penguin so yes it was an experience to remember and cherish with my children.

I will be back I am sure!

Check out the Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium on a map!

Please click on the pictures below to enlarge.

Even my kids wants to be Aquarium keepers now

Real King Penguins

In their natural environment

Lots to see and do

Cute lil fella

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Lots of space right on the sea

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