Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nagasaki Peace Park Main Statue

The Nagasaki Peace Park Main Statue is usually only viewed from one angle, that being from a straight on view but i decided to take another approach and see it was a different viewpoint.  A quick little walk around the back of the statues really does offer a completely opposite visual reference.

Of course the normal view of the Nagasaki Peace Park main statue is a powerful one, undeniably a moving experience and packed with sorrow but at the same time hope for the future.  The reverse side however holds all the above but also in addition there is a feeling of doubt that mankind and humanity can actually learn from its mistakes and not go down that narrow windy path of devastation that the nuclear arms race has headed in the past and still does to some degree in this age of the 21st century.

I am not sure if these feelings creeped up on my from my subconscious or whether it was because of the positioning of the sun and the dark images that resulted in my feelings of doom and gloom but it is something that we all should and need to feel once in a while to face reality to keep everything at face value and in check.

A special and important place for everyone to visit in their lifetime.

Please click on this link to see Nagasaki Peace Park Main Statues on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:



Amazing silhouette

Imposing figure

The sun was at a perfect angle

Another angle

Message















Click on the video link below to see more of Nagasaki Peace Park Main Statue:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Unzen Spa House Nagasaki

Unzen Spa House Nagasaki is located high up in the hot spring mountainous areas of Unzen, is a great place for taking a hot spring to take away all the weariness but one of the more interesting places is the Vidro Museum which is located on the 2nd floor of the building.

For a measly price of 700 yen ($6 US) you can enjoy all types of glassware from all around the world.. The Unzen Spa House has an extensive display of Japanese Edo (16th and 17th century) Era Nagasaki glass and Bohemian glassware from Italy, France and other European countries.

On this day, I was lucky to be the only customer in the building so basically i had the whole place to myself. This allowed me to take my time and to stroll around the various exhibits at my leisure and therefore i was able to really inspect a lot of the different glass wares in full detail. I must admit i hadn`t expected the amount of variety that was on offer and of course the buildings lighting was absolutely amazing as it showed each piece at its most beautiful. For any museum lover or someone who enjoys the beauty of art the Unzen Spa House Nagasaki is a place to visit even if only for an hour.

Click on this link to see Unzen Spa House Nagasaki on a map:

Please check out the pictures below, click to enlarge:


Impressive table settings
Ceramics of all styles
Beautiful table settings
Ceiling motifs
Beautifully presented
Many types of glasswares
One of the center pieces

Ceramics were great too!





Please click on the videos below to see Unzen Spa House Nagasaki and its amazing Vidro Museum:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

One Piece Cruise Nagasaki

The One Piece Cruise in Nagasaki is located at Huis Ten Bosch the replica village of a real Dutch counterpart. This amusement park/ attraction/ botanical masterpiece/ cultural center has tens if not hundreds of different activities for adults and children alike. It is the One Piece Ship that is one of the most popular attractions for the kids.

For those not in the loop, One Piece is the latest and biggest animation to come out of Japan since Pokemon. It has fans all over the world and on a recent trip to Norway and Finland I came to realize just how big the One Piece characters really are as just about every child i spoke to from the ages of 6 to 16, knew all the characters by name and really into the whole One Piece concept.

My children aren`t any different! Every time i have the chance to go to Huis Ten Bosch they ask me if they can go on the One Piece Cruise around the Harbor. On the last trip they wanted to ride the ship so desperately they had no problems forking over 500 yen of their own hard earned precious money and so 20 minutes enjoyed all the sights on the ship and around the Harbor. Money well spent in my book as the wife and I enjoyed a nice coffee at a nearby restaurant whilst the kids sailed away on a ride into the imagination.

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

The One Piece Boat
My kids love One Piece
The view from the dock
Add caption
Up close

























Click on the link below to see the One Piece Cruise Nagasaki on a map:



Click on the video below to see the One Piece Cruise Nagasaki in full swing:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Kumamoto Ferry to Shimabara Port Nagasaki

Check out the videos below of the Kumamoto Ferry travelling across the Ariake Sea to the Shimabara Port, Nagasaki:



Travelling onward to or from Nagasaki is an amazing way for you to extend your travels in Japan and to see more of Kyushu which without a doubt offers more interesting places and experiences than other parts of Japan. The problem here is that Nagasaki is located in the north west of Kyushu and sometimes there is a lot of backtracking in your travels which results in wasted time and of course wasted money on routes that you don`t need to take.

Recently, I received a request from a group that wanted to travel from Nagasaki City to Shimabara City on the Shimabara Peninsular where they would catch a ferry and cross the Ariake Sea in order to spend sometime in Kumamoto which absolutely is an amazing place to travel to and experience the unique sights, locations and speciality foods of the area.  Not only was the group able to see Nagasaki City in their own time and under their own steam but were treated to a full day tour of the Shimabara Peninsular and then dropped off at the Shimabara Port where ferry tickets and bus transfers to downtown Kumamoto City were bought, giving them extra time and options to see all the wonderful places that this city has to offer.

I was extremely impressed by the groups attitude and attention to detail. They told me exactly what they wanted to do, where they wanted to go and in what time frame. It is this kind of research that i am sure provided a magical and unforgettable tour of Nagasaki and other areas of Kyushu.  Nagasaki to Kumamoto travel by ferry is a great opportunity to have your cake and eat it too concept as it gives both the traveler precious time and value for money options.

Without a doubt, i would fully recommend this course of travel and of course this travel in reverse would work as well!  I thank the members of this tour for providing me the information and idea to use this concept of Tour Nagasaki in the future. If you have any questions about traveling onward to or from Nagasaki please feel free to contact me.



Heading to the Ferry

Shimabara Port



Waving Goodbye



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kannon no Taki Nagasaki

Kannon no Taki Nagasaki is one of those places that you come around once in a lifetime and realize that you can visit a thousand places that are on the tourist trail but nothing compares to a place like this off the beaten path, that only the locals know about and then again maybe they don`t!!

I have heard from many sources that Kannon no Taki Nagasaki is a place that even Nagasaki residents haven`t heard about and located well up the mountainous areas between Nagasaki and Isahaya City it is an amazing place to witness Buddhist artifacts and of course Japanese wilderness and nature, especially after heavy rains.

So, here I was at the end of September with a free day at my disposal, with 3 to 4 days of perpetual rain passed due to the typhoon bombarding the Nagasaki Coast and a eagerness to get out of the house and explore some areas of Nagasaki not yet accomplished.  Low and behold Kannon no Taki Nagasaki came to me and off I was in a flash to get my nature and Buddhist symbolic fix.

Not really knowing what to expect except for the fact that there would be a huge waterfall as a result of all the rain my expectations were`t that big and anything would be better than nothing mentality was my state of mind at the time.  But as the pictures show there was more than enough good stuff at Kannon no Taki Nagasaki to keep me occupied for at least an hour or so.  Lots of paths, statues, symbolic symbols, worships of nature and of course a massive waterfall flowing like it would never stop no matter how long the drought was.

I was thrilled with my decision to come here on the perfect occasion as indicated by the smile on my face all day that day.  I would love to come back in 2 or 3 months, around the end of November to view all the maple trees in their full bloom of autumn as i am sure this would add to the mystic of the area and put Kannon no Taki Nagasaki  in another level beyond anything i have seen before.

Please check out Kannon no Taki Nagasaki here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

Stairs to where?

Connecting nature

Flowing to the max

Water goddess

Symbolic connection

The protectors of the area

Good looking guys

Natures paradise

Simply stunning

Lots of statues and monuments to observe

Everything you could ask for!



Click on the link below to see videos of Kannon no Taki Nagasaki at its best:


Friday, September 12, 2014

Isahaya Bay Dike Road Nagasaki

Isahaya Bay Dike Road Nagasaki is one of those projects that creates a divide between the interested parties, tears up the local community and the outlying areas of concern as well as creating a lose/lose situation whereby everyone involved feels like they have been wronged by the forces against them.  It is this sort of project, a white elephant so to speak that pins friend against friend, allocated money to those that dare not speak up and most of all ruins and completely destroys a pristine environment and habitat that has been lost to big business and Japan INC.

The Ariake Sea which flows into the Isahaya Bay is a large shallow sea bay with many estuaries and the largest area of intertidal mudflats in Japan. The mudflats extend in fingers for up to 7 km out from the estuaries of the many rivers entering the bay. The total area of mudflats continues to decrease as more and more land is retained within concrete banks and reclaimed for agriculture.  The average depth of water in the bay is 20m (maximum of 130m), and the maximum tidal variation is 5-7 m.  Isahaya Bay, one of those four major mudflat areas, has now been dried up since the official shutdown of 7-km-long Sea Wall on the 14th April 1997.  The Sea wall cut off the water of Isahaya Inner Bay from the Ariake Sea. Isahaya Bay deserves the status of a wetland of international importance however the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries claims that the project is inevitable for flood control and more agricultural lands.

Although many of Japan's wetlands have disappeared as a result of rapid development in the recent past, the country still possesses a wide diversity of wetland ecosystems of considerable importance for wildlife including a number of threatened species. Many protected areas have been established, and considerable efforts are being made by the conservation bodies to prevent further wetland loss. However, the pressure on wetlands remains severe, particularly from canalization of river channels and conversion of coastal marshes and mudflats to agricultural land and industrial development.

Although is some regard this project has saved lives and created a new road that has reduced traffic congestion in the area, the project itself cannot be justified as a result of the damaged caused and the ongoing internal struggles of the community as a whole to rectify the conflict and solve the issue of remuneration and compensation to those groups that have been affected over the 30 year project life.

An issue that isn`t going away and probably won`t for many years to come.

Please check out the Isahaya Bay Dike Road Nagasaki here on a map:

Click the photos below to enlarge:

Birds eye view

Nice signpostings

Great views to be had


6.5km long and straight


Quite a view








Lots to see


Spectacular light




Take a look and feel of the Isahaya Bay Dike Road Nagasaki from a birds eye view on the video below:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Battleship Island Nagasaki

Battleship Island Nagasaki has been on my radar now for  just over a year ever since i did a boat tour around the island about the sometime last year.  It was a real joy to see the structures from a distance but it made me more and more determined to get up close and personal and to touch the terra firma with my own 2 hands.  In order to get to Battleship Island Nagasaki which is officially known as Hashima Island you have to join a Japanese tour group with departures from various port terminals located downtown in Nagasaki.  The tour is quite reasonably priced at around 3800 yen or $35 US as its for about 3 hours and includes a nice boat tour around the magnificent Nagasaki Harbor and of course the chance to get onto Hashima Island and walk around and explore the area.

As with any type of area that the structures are unstable and could collapse at anytime, huge areas of land are now roped off as they are deemed to dangerous and a safety risk to the general public.  However with my camera and eagle eye i was able to see so many interesting areas that showed the true beauty of the area albeit worn and crumbling as a result of the buildings years and years of neglect and taking the brunt of the storms and typhoon that frequent the area on a regular basis.  It is this combination of strong winds, huge waves, build up of salt water rusting and lack of maintenance that has caused Battleship Island Nagasaki to look the way it does today.

The Japanese narration of the tour was quite informative and well documented but in truth words are not needed to explain and portray the way thousands of people lived on the island in its hey day.  I was able to summons all my imaginative powers to step back in time and truly believe that i was back in a thriving community on an island miles away from the nearest mainland.  It was a incredible experience, one that you will have too!

Absolutely a wonderful tour that i will recommend to anyone.

Please check out Battleship Island Nagasaki here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:



This is where the swimming pool was!

Lots of areas are off limits now!

How much longer will be buildings stand?

Very popular tourist destination

Years of decline are showing

Not much left standing

Completely in ruins now



Here is a video of Battleship Island Nagasaki that i am sure you will enjoy:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nagasaki Giant Cedar Tree

Nagasaki Giant Cedar Tree located in the remote area of Isahaya countryside is not such a well known attraction of the locals.  In fact if I asked 100 people in and around the area if they know where the largest Cedar Tree is in Nagasaki Prefecture I am absolutely sure they will have no idea that there is in fact a massive Cedar Tree here and if there was, where the exact location would be?

A small but interesting drive from the main road is the Nagasaki Giant Cedar Tree.  At first from a distance it doesn`t look anything impressive but gradually little by little as you inch closer and closer to the target the realm of the Cedar Trees real size becomes more evident.  The branches and limbs are just enormous and the trunk of the tree is bigger than can ever be expected!

The tree is so large that steel braces have had to be installed around the tree in order to create stability and reinforce strength where it is needed most.  The massive pillar needs all the power it can get to support the incredible weight that is above it in the form of branches and leaves.  I had a great walk around the area, looked at the tree from every angle and i can tell you that each and every location was impressive and reinforced just how big and massive Nagasaki`s Giant Cedar Tree really is.

I know the photos below don`t actually do the location justice but you can see that the area is pleasant to walk around and enjoy all things nature.

Click here to see Nagasaki Giant Cedar Tree on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:



A pleasure to watch!

Interesting contours

Extra support needed now!

Massive trunk

Too big to describe!



Here is a video of the Nagasaki Giant Cedar Tree:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Nagasaki City Harbor Sunsets

The Nagasaki Harbor has to be one of the best Harbor views in the world except Sydney harbor of course but i could be biased because that is my hometown and favorite place in the world.  However in all seriousness the harbor, its views and of course the sunset all create a magical viewing environment that can be enjoyed by all from a plethora of places in and around Nagasaki City.

Pictures always can be more descriptive than words so i will let you see what i am talking about.

Click on the link to see Nagasaki City Harbor Sunsets on a map:

Please click on the pictures to enlarge:


Spectacular at sunset time

Boats aplenty at dusk

No words to describe the true beauty

Mitsubishi Docklands a glow in the background

Superb from all angles

Absolutely amazing

Magic every sunset

Just Incredible, right!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

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:



This is the place to come

Ceramics from all over the world

Lots to see and do here

All different sizes and shapes

Lots of ideas

Great presentation techniques

Beautifully presented!

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




Thursday, May 29, 2014

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:



Monday, May 12, 2014

Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki

Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki is an amazing place that details and presents the life of a man who dedicated himself to science and in a matter of fact humanity.   In June 1945 ( approx 2 months before the atomic explosion) Dr Nagai was diagnosed to be suffering from Leukemia as a result of being exposed to radiation through his research and only given a short time to live.

Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki, in spite of having been exposed to the bomb continued working to help other bomb survivors until his death at the age of 43.  After the bombing of Nagasaki (which destroyed his house killing his wife inside) friends built a tiny 1 room shack for him and he lived in this tiny house with his two children.  Dr. Nagai was a devoted Catholic and he named the house "Nyokodo" (literally, Love others as you love yourself) in honor of the teaching of Christ.  Even as he lay in his sickbed in the house, he wrote a number of inspiring works such as "The Bells of Nagasaki" and "Leaving These Children Behind".

In the hope that some light might be shed on the shattered lives of children in the wake of the bombing, Dr. Nagai built a small reading room.  This was expanded into the Nagai Library after his death, and was later renamed the Takashi Nagai Memorial Museum to commemorate his unbreakable spirit and his inspiring achievements.  On display are some of Dr. Nagai's possessions, drawings, writings, related photographs and his personal story of his life and ultimately his death in 1951, some 6 years after his diagnosis when in fact he only had months to live shows his remarkable struggle to continue his ground breaking research, build up his literally achievements, spread the word of God and most of all care for his children who had already lost their Mother in the atomic explosion.

Apart from the Nagasaki Peace Park, this is the only other place where I have been reduced to tears of sorrow.  The life of Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki must be celebrated and rejoiced as it is a story of love and compassion for ones fellow man.   The Museum is a real tear jerker but well worth it as it makes you realize what is really important in life.

Click here to see Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki on a map:

Click on the pictures below to enlarge:



Dr Nagai's Nyokodo still receives lots and lots of visitors today

The basic 1 room house of Dr Nagai

Dr Nagai's tiny house he decided to live in after the bomb

A heartbreaking human story

Dr Nagai searching his house for remains after the Atomic explosion

Dr Nagai was an amazing Human Being


Click here to see more of Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki on a video:


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tatsuishi Seashore Geopark Nagasaki

Tatsuishi Seashore Geopark Nagasaki on the Shimabara Peninsular was a volcanic island in a shallow sea.  The shallow sea was covered with sand and mud near the present Tatsuishi coast.  The stratum from that period is called the Kuchinotsu formation and the uneven surface is known as a surface of uncomformity.

The activity of the Unzen volcano began near Obama on the western part of present Shimabara Peninsula.  The first eruption was so intense that the whole magma degassed and the explosions sent volcanic material to the Tatsuishi Seashore Geopark Nagasaki.  The volcanic activity continued but Obama was a considerable distance so not so much volcanic material reached the Tatsuishi Seashore.  As the mountain grew, the stratum then eroded in the Tatsuishi coast and another ‘surface of uncomformity’ on top of the first one began.  Then a part of the Unzen volcano which continued to grow reached the Tatsuishi coast and again can be seen in the stratum.  It was about 700 000 years ago that the stratum was initially completed.  It was 500,000 years ago that the Unzen volcano started activity. Then, about 300 000 years ago the stratum of the Unzen volcano which built up reached the Tatsuishi shore again.  The beginnings of the Unzen volcano from over 400 000 years ago is recorded on the stratum as well.

All this information doesn't mean much to you and me but to a geologist it is like 1's and 2's, basic data that shows the way the Earth was formed all those years ago and the best thing is that it is really accessible, just metres off the main highway, available 365 days a year and free for anyone who would like to take a look.  So, even if you are not a great geological fan but would like to see nature in its purest form then this is the place for you.

Please check out Tatsuishi Seashore Geopark Nagasaki here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:



Here is to another million years

Geology Heaven

Nice place to step back in time

That's a lot of time and years

Lots of layers

Where it all began for the Shimabara Peninsular


Please click on the videos below to see the Tatsuishi Seashore Geopark Nagasaki in more detail:



Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hokobaru Martyrdom Site Nagasaki


Hokobaru Martyrdom Site Nagasaki is an interesting place to visit in Omura City, Nagasaki.  You will be able to step back in time and learn and understand more about the Christian History of the area and some of the surreal and horrible acts that were committed at the time in order to protect and preserve Japanese Nationalistic ideals of the time.  After Christianity was banned in 1587, it seemed that the Christian religion had vanished forever within the realm of Nagasaki and Japan in general.  However, many Christians continued to practice in secret and are referred as the Hidden Christians.

When the Tokugawa Shogunate took control in 1614 and then closed Japan’s borders to the outside world in 1633, they started a hunt to eliminate all practicing Christians in order to restore only Japanese traditions through the implementation of rebuilding Shrines and Temples and force feeding the public to revert back to the original Buddhist and Shinto Religions.

In 1657, known as the Kori Kuzure (Collapse of Kori) the government found and arrested 603 Christians hiding in the area known as Kori Village within the Omura domain.  Out of this large number, 197 people were either found innocent or imprisoned.  The other 406 people were executed.  Due to the number of executions, 275 people were sent to other areas to meet their fate, such as Shimabara, Nagasaki and Saga.  At Hokobaru Martyrdom Site Nagasaki, 131 of those captured were beheaded.

The landmark that stands today at the Hokobaru Martyrdom Site Nagasaki is a sign of respect and a tribute to all those that lost their life during this troubled period in Japan.  The Japanese Christian community within Nagasaki and Japan have done a marvellous job to keep their history alive and to continue to tell the story of what happened all those many years ago for future generations.

Well worth a visit.

Please check out the Hokobaru Martyrdom Site Nagasaki here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:



Impressive from all angles

Shot down by Angels from above

Good information in English too!

Powerful images




Click on the video below to see the Hokobaru Martyrdom Site Nagasaki:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Awashima Shrine Nagasaki

Awashima Shrine Nagasaki is probably one of the most interesting and unique Shrines that you will ever come upon in Nagasaki let alone all of Japan.  Many women visit this shrine to make prayers related to female matters such as childbirth and fertility as it is believed to have special powers an a lucky charm to those who want children or those that are having problems getting pregnant.

Awashima Shrine Nagasaki was built in 1812 so in a sense compared to other Shrines in Nagasaki it is a rather young and hasn't got a long and rich history but it is what the Shrine stands for and that people believe in its powers which makes it such a popular and well visited place.  The Shrine has a series of small torii's which are the gate entrances to the shrines.  Most shrine gate entrances are measured in metres and I mean 5 to 10 meters in height, however the Awashima Shrines Nagasaki Torii's are measured in centimeters and not meters.

If one passes through these gate entrances it is said that it will assure a smooth and safe delivery for mother and child once she becomes pregnant and will allow women who are having problem to become pregnant in the future as well if all 3 gate entrances can be passed through.

The smallest torii is only 27 centimeters high but I can tell you that it looks so much smaller than this.  In fact, I could hardly get my head through the gate entrance let along my large frame and shoulders as well as other parts of my body.  Whilst I was there i didn't actually see anyone pass through these torii's but I have been told by many people that it is possible and done on a regular basis.  Now that is something that I need to see for myself in order to believe something that i honestly think is impossible!

Please check out Awashima Shrine Nagasaki on a map:

Please click on the pics below to enlarge:



The average western woman has no chance to pass through!

The Shrine believes passing through the Torii's will promote fertility

The 3 Torii's are actually different sizes

It has some of the smallest Torii's you will ever see!

Looks like a rather usual shrine but it has an edge over the others!


Please check out the Awashima Shrine Nagasaki in the video below:



Saturday, March 1, 2014

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:



Interesting and beautiful water feature

Plenty of room to roam about and take in the sights

All the stairs lead to another exciting location worth exploring

The view from the top!

A great place for a stroll even with your dog

The main building

Lots of steps to climb, 277 to be exact



Check out the videos of Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine below:



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Giant Tree Street Nagasaki

Giant Tree Street Nagasaki is one of those places where you know that the street planners and government officials have made the correct decision and allowed nature and development to work in conjunction with each other, create cohesion and the right balance between the continual struggle of how to keep nature and expansion in check and to retain the regions natural beauty!

To drive up and down the street is to step back in time and feel the real connection with nature.  At first, the feeling that this is impossible creates a wave of anxiety as the gap between the tree located in the middle of the road and the guard rail looks way too narrow to fit a large sized car through let alone a small car or a couple of motorcycles.  But slowly by slowly, ones confidence and ability to navigate the twist and turn road up and up to the top of the Giant Tree Street Nagasaki turns a slow and careful drive into a fun and joyful experience that you would like to do again and again!

Giant Tree Street Nagasaki is without doubt one of the best drives in Nagasaki and I will look forward to driving this street again in Spring and Autumn when the tree colours and foliage are at their best.  Comes well recommended and an absolute delight for all nature lovers.

Please check out Giant Tree Street Nagasaki here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:



Not much room through here!

Nature wins out over destruction

Easy for the smaller cars!

A very busy section of road












Here is a video of the Giant Tree Street Nagasaki for your viewing enjoyment:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nagasaki Strawberry Picking

Nagasaki Strawberry Picking  is one of the best family activities that you could ever want to do.  It works on so many levels.  Firstly, wives just love Strawberries!  I don't care if it is ice cream, cake, shortcake, cheesecake, parfait, sundae or dipping in whipped cream, let alone with champagne or straight up just as it is, the ladies like Strawberries, period!

Then you have the kids, running around trying to find the perfect one and when they find it they talk about the strawberry as if its their long lost cousin and presto it is gone down to their stomachs within seconds and guess what miraculously they find another strawberry 2 seconds later that was better than the last and the process repeats itself over and over again.

The great thing about Nagasaki is that these Strawberry picking places and their massive greenhouses are everywhere so in reality you don't have to travel very far to find them.  The one we went to was the unlimited picking and eating variety and it was reasonably prices at 1500 yen (approx $15 US) and 800 yen (approx $8 US) for the kids.  The Strawberry picking season is generally between February and April as this is when the fruit is at its optimum sweetness and juiciness.

As for me, I hit the road running, came out of the blocks fast as a cheetah but alas we all have our limitations and mine is apparently unlimited strawberry eating.  By my estimation I hit the wall at 60 and couldn't force another strawberry down.  Maybe you will have better luck than me when you try your hand?

Click on the link to see Nagasaki Strawberry Picking on a map:

Click on the photos below to enlarge:


Now that`s a strawberry


Looking for the good ones


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The face of someone who has eaten too many strawberries!


The wife and kids didn't hold back!

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Last one!

My take home pack


These aren't ready for eating yet!


Please check out Nagasaki Strawberry Picking on the videos below: