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November 12, 2016 | Nagasaki, Japan

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Confucian Shrine/ Historical Museum of China

This shrine is the only one of its kind to have been built by Chinese people outside of China. The Historical Museum of China is also located here and showcases many Chinese national cultural treasures.

Nagasaki Hypocenter Park

11:02 am, August 9th, 1945: an atomic bomb exploded 500 meters above Matsuyama in Nagasaki City. Huge numbers of people were killed immediately, while others died later from illness or injury - by the end of December, some 74,000 people had died while around 75,000 more suffered from various injuries. The area within a 2.5 kilometer radius of the hypocenter was utterly devastated, and the rest of the city was left in ruins. In 1968, a memorial monolith was built in the hypocenter park to mark the hypocenter of the atomic explosion. Beside the monolith, a part of the relics of the former Urakami Cathedral is preserved. A layer of the ground at that time is exhibited at the site, where visitors can see the remains of destroyed houses: roof tiles, bricks, ceramic and pieces of glass that boiled in the 3000℃ atomic heat. After the bombing, which destroyed all of the plantlife around the hypocenter, there was a rumor that no plants would grow there for the next 70 years. However, just one month after the atomic bombing, about 30 kinds of plants started to grow. Currently, this area is full of greenery which shows the power of revival. About 500 sakura cherry blossom trees grow in the hypocenter park. The park is a favorite spot among local people for viewing the cherry blossoms in spring time and as a green-filled oasis throughout the year. Take a stroll around the many sites: the Atomic Bomb Museum, the National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, the Peace Park, Urakami Cathedral with its atomic-bombed statue of the Virgin Mary, the Dr. Nagai Museum, the local elementary school which has its own peace museum, the one-legged torii gate, and Sanno Shrine with its atomic-bombed camphor tree, are all located within walking distance.

Urakami Cathedral

Urakami Cathedral, located 500 meters north of the hypocenter. It was once renowned for being the largest Roman Catholic church in the East but was completely demolished by the nuclear blast. Now you can see the headless statues of the saints, the bell tower that was blown off by the atomic bomb and a wooden figure of the Virgin Mary which miraculously survived the heat of the nuclear blast. More details: In 1895, with the assistance of Fr. Pierre Fraineau MEP, the Christian faithful began the construction of Urakami Cathedral on the land o the former village headman, the very place where the custom of trampling on a Christian image (e-bumi), had been enforced as a way to expose hidden Christians. In 1914, a ceremony was held to bless the church and dedicated it to the Virgin Mary. However, just 30 years later, on August 9th, 1945, the church was devastated by the atomic bomb. Nevertheless, on Christmas Eve that year, the survivors rang the church bell that they dug out of the ruins, and went on to rebuilt the church. The new reinforced concrete building was completed in 1959, and an outer layer of bricks was added in 1980. In 1962, meanwhile, the new Urakami church replaced Oura Catholic Church as the Cathedral of the Nagasaki Archdiocese. The following monuments can be seen today in the precincts: - The Atomic-Bombed Statue of Mary - The Fallen Bell Tower: The original church had twin bell towers. One was crushed by the atomic explosion, another was blown about 25 meters away by the blast. It is preserved as National Important Asset at the original site. - Headless Statues of Saints: Stone statues that were exposed to the atomic bombing. - The Monument of Faith: Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Urakami Yonban Kuzure (the fourth collapse of the Christian community of Urakami resulting from the government's drastic policy of oppression and expulsion.)

Glover Garden

This garden has been designated as an Important Cultural Asset. Here you can visit the beautiful traditional homes built for British merchants, including the oldest wooden Western-style home in Japan, built by the Scottish merchant Thomas Glover, who exerted a strong influence on the industrialization of Japan. The garden is lush with flowers, and has a stunning view of Nagasaki Port. The Christmas illuminations in winter time are also worth to visit.

Hashima - Gunkanjima, Battle Ship Island

Hashima is also known by its nickname “Gunkanjima” (Battleship Island) due to its unique silhouette. This island has been added to the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its historical value based on its industrial heritage in 2015, as a component of "Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining (Japan)." It has also been getting world-wide attention as it was the model for the “Dead City” in the James Bond movie “Skyfall” (2013). "Attack on Titan" (2015) also filmed on this island. Gunkanjima flourished as a coal mining community since 1890. In 1974 when the coal mine closed, the island became completely deserted. Today, boat tours are offered to visit Hashima.

Temple Street (Tera-machi) and Kofuku-ji Temple

Many old temples are found on Tera-machi-dori, Nagasaki’s famous temple street. Kofuku-ji was built in 1620, and is the oldest Chinese O-baku Zen temple in Japan. Visitors can enjoy Japanese green tea with Japanese sweets in the picturesque grounds of this Temple. There was the Japan’s first restaurant that offered the Western style cuisine as well.

Nakamachi Church

Dedicated to the 16 Martyrs of Nagasaki, this church is located close to JR Nagasaki Station, and the 26 Martyrs site on Nishizaki Hill.   The first Nakamachi Church was built in 1896 using funds donated by an anonymous French person, to commemorate the 330th anniversary of the deaths of the 26 Martyrs and as dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary.    The church was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945, but was rebuilt by parishioners in 1951.   In 1988, a monuments to the16 Martyrs was constructed in a garden at this church. Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila attended the unveiling ceremony for the monument, in recognition of Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint.   In 2015, the little Japanese garden and the monuments to the 16 saints were refurbished to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the “Discovery of the Christians”.

Endo Shusaku Literature Museum

The museum, with its beautiful stained glass windows, exhibits valuable materials commemorating Endo’s Christianity-related literary achievements, as well as his personality and career. The attached café, ‘Enchanté’, serves local food including Fr. De Rotz noodles.

Karematsu Shrine

Karematsu Shrine is dedicated to Jiwan, Bastian’s religious leader. He passed away from hunger and cold while hiding in a valley and observing religious practices. The local people buried him and worshipped his tomb as a sacred place. Each November they hold the Karematsu Shrine Festival, when ecumenical prayer services are held as well as a mass conducted by a Catholic priest. This is one of only three shrines in Japan dedicated to holy figures associated with Christianity.

Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium

Nagasaki's penguin aquarium is always a popular attraction, with many types of penguinsVisitors to the aquarium are invited to enjoy seeing the penguins swimming in enormous, glass-walled habitats. At intervals throughout the day, visitors are also allowed to interact with the penguins and feed them. The aquarium is also home to the oldest living penguin in the world.

Nagasaki Sub-tropical Botanical Garden

The subtropical gardens features 45,000 different plants from 1,200 different species, creating a lush, jungle atmosphere.The Botanical gardens are also home to amazing view of Tachibana bay. The gardens cascade down a slope, overlooking the bay. On a good day, the view, combined with your surroundings is simply breathtaking

Memorial to the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan

This is the site of the martyrdom of the 26 Catholics who were executed here on February 5th, 1597, under the orders of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This was the first place in Japan where people were executed for Christianity by order of a national leader. The 26 believers including Spaniards, Italians and Japanese were arrested in places as far away as Kyoto, forced to walk all the way to Nagasaki and crucified at Nishizaka Hill. Nagasaki was chosen as the place for execution to set an example, since it was a city with many churches and Christians, and where ships from Portugal often docked.The event is referred to as the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan.The martyrs were later beatified in 1627, and canonized by the Pope in 1862.

Oura Cathedral

Oura Cathedral is the oldest wooden church of gothic architecture existing in Japan. It was built in 1864 by a French missionary, and was thus known by the people of Nagasaki at the time as the “French Temple”. This church was dedicated to the 26 martyrs who had been killed at Nishizaka Hill, and bronze statues in Oura Cathedral and at Nishizaka were built to face each other. This church has been designated as a national treasure. One important story of this church is the “Discovery of the Flock”. In March 1865, hidden Christians from Urakami came to the cathedral and told the priest, Father Petitjean, that they were of the same faith as he was. When the Pope at the time heard the story of the Christian faith that had survived many years of harsh persecution, he was greatly moved and declared it to be the “Miracle in the East”. Pope John Paul II visited this site in 1981. This church was replaced with Urakami Cathderal as the Cathedral of the Nagasaki Archdiocese.

Megane Spectacles Bridge

Megane Spectacles BridgeThe Nakashima River runs through a series of picturesque 17th-century stone bridges. Best-known is the double-arched Megane-bashi, or Spectacles Bridge, so called because the reflection of the arches in the water looks like a pair of eyeglasses. It was originally built in 1634, and was Japan’s oldest stone bridge. Unfortunately it was washed away by floodwaters in the 1982 disaster which killed 299 people, but was later restored using the recovered stones.Try spotting a heart-shaped stone near to the bridge and make a wish for eternal love.

Nagasaki Port and Nagasaki Seaside Park/ Nagasaki Mizubenomori

Take a breather at Nagasaki Seaside Park, located in between Matsugae International Terminal, where the international cruise ships call, and the Dejima Wharf restaurant area. This is a peaceful place where you can enjoy the fresh sea breeze and fine canals. Located conveniently close to the downtown area, locals love to come here for walking, running, dog-walking, picnics, yoga and flying Nagasaki’s unique kites. When the international cruise ships cast off for their next destination, locals line up at this park after work to wave off the ship and say “see you again in Nagasaki” to their overseas guests.