Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Unzen Spa House: Nagasaki Prefecture

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 apperance. For any glass 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.

I can see myself bringing some Private Tour groups here in the future.

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: Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki Prefecture

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 (US$4) of their own hard earned precious money and so for 20 minutes they 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: Kumamoto and Nagasaki Prefectures

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

Traveling 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 isa 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 not to mention fabulous scenery across the Ariake Sea.

Without a doubt, I would fully recommend this course of travel and 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 on Tour Nagasaki in the future. If you have any questions about traveling onward to or from Nagasaki please feel free to contact me.

This is the type of travel that lends itself to Private Tours from Kumamoto to Nagasaki or vice versa.

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

Entry/ exit with ease!

Heading to the Ferry

Shimabara Port

Waving Goodbye

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kannon Waterfall: Nagasaki Prefecture

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 this 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 the Kannon Waterfall in 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 the Kannon Waterfall 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 iIam sure this would add to the mystic of the area and puts it in another level beyond anything i have seen before.

Please check out the Kannon Waterfall here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

The protectors of the area

Natures paradise

Lots of statues and monuments to observe

Connecting nature

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 Prefecture

The Isahaya Bay Dike Road in 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 in 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.

I nearly always drive across the Isahaya Bay Dike Road on my Private Nagasaki Tours as its a beautiful straight road, has amazing scenery and gives everyone a chance to stretch their legs and have the all important bathroom break.

Please check out the Isahaya Bay Dike Road Nagasaki here on a map    Click the photos below to enlarge:

Birds eye view
Nice signposting

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 videos below:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Battleship Island: Nagasaki City

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

Giant Cedar Tree: Nagasaki Prefecture

The Giant Cedar Tree located in a remote area of the 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 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 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 Harbor Sunsets: Nagasaki City

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:

Mitsubishi Docklands a glow in the background

Spectacular at sunset time

Boats aplenty at dusk

No words to describe the true beauty


Magic every sunset

Superb from all angles