Monday, September 10, 2018

Shimabara Carp Street Nagasaki

Shimabara Carp Street Nagasaki is a direct result of there being fresh springs all over the city and unlimited fresh water supply available at all times.   Many of the springs are the result of a series of eruptions from Mount Fugen, most notably the largest eruption in 1792 which dramatically changed the landscape and flow of these fresh water springs.   Today, approximately 1,500 carp swim in the beautiful and well laid out natural spring channels which add elegance and mystic to the city.



Colourful Carp

Crystal Clear Springwater

Swimming Carp


One of the channels




Carp under the glass floor
Great place to take photos

Great to see the carp swimming freely.
The first time I walked the streets of Shimabara, I nearly fell into one of the canals.  Mostly out of surprise and shock of accidentally finding such a amazing place.  The carp looked so fresh and the water is so clear that one just feels like jumping in and swimming with the fish, although this is more of a fantasy rather than a reality.

Today the carp streams are kept for sightseeing and aesthetic reasons as well as the fact that they look so cool!  However in the past and particularly during times of war and famine they were kept as an alternative food source.  Although it can be said that Carp are not a particularly good eating fish, I guess when one is hungry one should not be too picky about their food source.  Luckily for the carp, nowadays the channels are used only for sightseeing and asthetic purposes, so the fish should grow up big and strong and hopefully colorful to satisfy the hoards of tourists that come to see them.

Check out the Shimabara Carp Street Nagasaki on a map!


Here is a video of the Shimabara Carp Street Nagasaki for your pursual:

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Nagasaki Peace Park Statues

Of course when one thinks about the Nagasaki Peace Park Statues, the main one that comes to mind is the sculpture by Seibo Kitamura of the human being with one hand pointing to the sky whilst sitting cross legged and eyes closed shut.  Nagasaki Peace Park is synonymous with this awe inspiring statue.

Indeed this is a powerful and internationally known symbol associated with the Nagasaki Atomic Explosion but one of my favourite things to do is to walk peacefully through the Peace Park and look at the tens of sculptors and statues that have been donated by Organizations and Countries from around the world as a symbol of hope and peace for the future.

They are all special in their own way and of course one's imagination and feelings of sorrow come through with each viewing yet at the same time they give hope for the future.  In this way they cause the statues to come alive and speak to us in a private way because everyone needs hope and want to leave the earth in a better way for the future generations.

If you ever have a chance to visit Nagasaki for yourself I implore you to do the same and come to the Nagasaki Peace Park Statues.  It will be a surreal if not highly moving experience and one that you will never forget, especially the viewing of the Mother and Child Statue which really hits you at your core of compassion and empathy.  It is this symbol of sorry and regret that must be remembered so that the weak and innocent are protected no matter what and in all situations of conflict around the world.

Come and check out the Nagasaki Peace Park Statues on a map:

Click on the pictures below to enlarge:



Strength in Numbers

Whisked away by angels

A popular but haunting photo

Mother and child

Water is a big part of the exhibition

The date and time of that horrific day








Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Maria Statue Nagasaki

The Maria Statue Nagasaki is located in Kaminoshima right on the waters edge and facing the open seas.  Perched atop a hill at the entrance to Nagasaki Port the statue was  constructed in 1897 and its main purpose was to welcome foreign ships to what was once a predominately a Christian town.

This had a double edged purpose so as to make the foreign guests feel comfortable in doing business in an area of Japan that was rife with Christians as apposed to other areas of Japan where Christianity was the exception and not the rule.  It is for this reason that Nagasaki became one of the 4 major trading ports throughout Japan and thrived as a friendly and approachable place to outside guests to visit and feel like that a connection even if it was just a spiritual one.

Below the Kaminoshima Church stands the statue of Our Lady on the Cape aka the Maria Statue Nagasaki.  The area and the colour of the waters were beautiful on this  day and the statue with its perfectly white outline perfectly contracted to the brilliant blue seas.  I was in awe of the location, the striking beauty of the statue and the general feeling of well being and peacefulness that was provide to me on this amazing day.

I would thoroughly recommend this area to anyone who would like to learn more about the Christian History of Japan and in particular Nagasaki.  Even if the weather is not as good as one this day of my visit I am sure you won't be disappointed!

Please check out the Maria Statue Nagasaki on a map:


Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

From afar

Close up

In all her glory

Offerings to Maria



An inspiration to all!

Powerful image from all angles





Saturday, June 30, 2018

Nagasaki Hidden Christians UNESCO World Heritage Site

It had been a long time coming with multiple attempts, revisions, changes and amendments but finally Japan has succeeded in gaining UNESCO World Heritage Status for its sites linked to the persecution of Christians in Japan in the 16th to the 19th Century.  It was such a major endeavor with years of hard work, sweat and tears that many interested parties held ceremonies and group celebrations all over Nagasaki and its outlying islands.

In fact the Foreign Minister of Japan had the following to say:
  1. Today on June 30th 2018 at the 42nd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee a decision was made to inscribe on the World Heritage List “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region”, which Japan had nominated as a candidate for the list
  2. “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region” bears precious evidence of the history of the people and their communities who secretly transmitted their faith in Christianity during the time of prohibition spanning more than two centuries in Japan. I heartily welcome the inscription of this property which tells a very unique history in the world. At the same time, I hope that the inscription this time will attract wider attention from people around the world on this valuable property built by the Hidden Christians in Japan who secretly continued their faith during the ban on Christianity.
Here is the list of the 12 sites that gained entry into the UNESCO World Heritage Site:





































There are quite a few websites that have documented many of these sites that has be accepted and in many instances rejected or omitted from the UNESCO World Heritage listing.

These sites are one of the best in my opinion:

http://oratio.jp/en

http://kirishitan.jp/en

In fact I have been to some of the sites and here are some of my reports from the above locations.  You can check them out below:


Oura Catholic Church-  To view please click on the link here:

Hara Castle-  To view please click on the link here:


The dream has become reality

Over the coming weeks and months I will attempt to blog and update my website on these Hidden Christian sites ( known in Japanese as Kakure Kirishitan) in order to provide as much information as I possibly can.

I am sure the amount of visitors and interested parties will continue to flourish and bring this important fact about Japanese Christian History into the World`s Public forums and discussions as well as many Christian Pilgrimage`s to the region.




Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tachibana Shrine Chijiwa Nagasaki

Tachibana Shrine Chijiwa Nagasaki is dedicated to army lieutenant colonel Shuta Tachibana who became famous in the Russo-Japanese War which occurred during the beginning on the 20th century. Tachibana Shrine is a noted place for the viewing of cherry tree blossoms and many people come and visit this exquisite flower viewing  place in spring.

For New Year, the world's biggest New Year's pine and bamboo decorations more than 11m in height are installed at the entrance to a shrine.  They have caught the attention of many followers including the Guinness Book of Records who have noted the fact!

The Shrine and the surrounding Park area are just beautiful, esthetically pleasing and at many times of the year (cherry blossoms in spring and maple leaves in autumn) are picture perfect.

Whenever I have visitors from overseas and from other places in Japan, Tachibana Shrine is always on the top of my list of preferred tourist destinations for our private tours.  On this day, nearing the middle of summer, the birds were chirping, the cicada's making a roaring noise, the sun was shining intensely but I was in my element.  A picture perfect day and and some amazing photos and video to show for it.  Definitely worth and look and tour of the area.

Check out Tachibana Shrine Chijiwa Nagasaki on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:



Group blessing

Shinto Praying Style

Peaceful location

Sunset perfection


The entrance

3 lovely ladies posing

Water purifying


3 2 1 Bow


















Please check out the Tachibana Shrine in Chijiwa, Nagasaki on this video:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

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 1300 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 as on weekdays regular school classes take place!

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:



Sunday, April 8, 2018

Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops

Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops that you see here in the photos below are part of the Nagasaki character and adds to her personality unlike any other attraction within the Nagasaki city limits.  I nearly always include this site on my Private Nagasaki Tours because everyone comes away with a pic and a smile on their face.

I think the unique bus stops are just another random if not crazy idea that some town official thought up but for whatever reason it has stuck and become a permanent and important fixture of the town's psyche.  In the sleepy town of Konagai, Nagasaki right on the boarder of Saga Prefecture there are some Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops that will stop you in your tracks and make you say to yourself, "Why haven't I ever seen this before?"

As you drive from one bus stop to the next, you will wonder what fruit or vegetable will come next. In some ways, when you don't see your favorite one you wonder why it hasn't been included and of course when you have passed the last one and headed into the next prefecture you will also have a slight feeling of disappointment that you won't see another one again in Japan, period!

Some of the Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops have seen better days and they are in need of a touch up or repair or better still a repaint but just to see one up close to touch and feel and to sit inside as to re enact the feeling of waiting for a bus is exciting in itself.  Come and enjoy the Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops even if it's just for a fleeting moment!

Come and check out The Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:


Mouth watering Watermelon


Juicy strawberry


Appealing Melon



Tasty Tomato

Delicious Orange

My favorite