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


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
Looks authentic
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:

Too big to describe!

Interesting contours

Massive trunk

Extra support needed now!

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, 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:

Good information in English too!

Impressive from all angles

Shot down by Angels from above

Powerful images

Interesting to say the least!


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