HOME 20 Best Things to Do in Nagasaki - Places to Go, Local Food & Sightseeing Tips
20 Best Things to Do in Nagasaki - Places to Go, Local Food & Sightseeing Tips

20 Best Things to Do in Nagasaki - Places to Go, Local Food & Sightseeing Tips

Date published: 30 June 2021

Long serving as Japan's sole international trading port and gateway to the West, Nagasaki is an eclectic city with an important history. This self-proclaimed "City of Peace" also attracts visitors wishing to pray for peace and learn about the horrors of the atomic bomb.

1. Nagasaki Kunchi Festival (October 7-9)

1. Nagasaki Kunchi Festival (October 7-9)

Nagasaki Kunchi is a vibrant, energetic festival, celebrating the local deity worshipped at Suwa Shrine, with a history stretching back some 370 years.

The performances at this event, which have been designated as Important Intangible Folk Cultural Properties of Japan, include not only Japanese folk dances but also vivid evidence of the longstanding intercultural exchange that Nagasaki is famous for, in the form of Chinese-influenced dragon dances, Western elements like the Dutch Ship and the Dutch Comedies, and many more. This Nagasaki festival is truly unique!

  • Suwa Shrine
    鎮西大社 諏訪神社
    • Address 18-15 Kaminishiyamamachi, Nagasaki, 850-0006

2. Hashima (Gunkanjima, Battleship Island)

2. Hashima (Gunkanjima, Battleship Island)

Hashima is also known by its nickname “Gunkanjima” (Battleship Island) due to its unique silhouette.

Hashima flourished as a coal mining community starting in 1890. In 1974, when the coal mine closed, the island was completely deserted.

Now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical value, Hashima began receiving greater attention worldwide after serving as the model for the “Dead City” in the James Bond movie Skyfall (2013). Attack on Titan (2015) was also filmed on this island. Today, boat tours are offered to Hashima.

  • Hashima Island
    端島
    • Address Takashimamachi, Nagasaki, 851-1315

3. The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

3. The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum covers the history of this event in the accessible form of a story.

It begins with the disastrous scene of the attack. It includes the events leading up to the dropping of the atomic bomb, the reconstruction of Nagasaki up to the present day, the history of nuclear weapons development, and the hope for a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.

  • Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
    長崎原爆資料館
    • Address 7-8 Hiranomachi, Nagasaki, 852-8117

4. Nagasaki Peace Park

4. Nagasaki Peace Park

After the atomic bombing of the city, it was said that grass and trees would not grow on this spot for 75 years.

The Peace Statue was created by sculptor Seibo Kitamura, a Nagasaki native. The raised right hand pointing to the sky depicts the threat of the atomic bomb. The left hand stretching horizontally symbolizes eternal world peace, while the slightly closed eyes express a prayer asking that the victims' souls may find rest.

In addition, a poem is carved into a memorial plate in front of the park’s fountain, written by a child who suffered from thirst in the immediate aftermath of the bombing. The fountain, brimming with water, is an offering to all those who lost their strength before they could drink a single drop. Every year, a Peace Memorial Ceremony is conducted in front of this statue.

  • Peace Park
    平和公園
    • Address 9 Matsuyamamachi, Nagasaki, 852-8118

5. Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims

5. Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims

This memorial hall was established for the victims of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, including those who perished afterward from resulting injury or illness.

It serves as a prayer hall for world peace. Visitors are encouraged to leave messages of peace, which are carefully maintained by the hall and can be viewed by others.

  • Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
    国立長崎原爆死没者追悼平和祈念館
    • Address 7-8 Hiranomachi, Nagasaki, 852-8117

6. Sanno Shrine (One-Legged Torii Arch & Camphor Trees)

6. Sanno Shrine (One-Legged Torii Arch & Camphor Trees)

During the atomic bombing of Nagasaki City, one of the torii gates of Sanno Shrine was cut in half by the blast.

What remains of the gate continues to stand even today on a single column, a symbol of the resilience of Nagasaki City and its people, even in the face of adversity.

The shrine’s camphor trees were also significantly damaged in the explosion, but with time they began to grow again and are still growing today. Small pieces of broken glass and debris from the atomic blast can still be seen inside the hollow of one of the trees!

  • Sanno Shrine
    山王神社
    • Address 2 Chome-6-56 Sakamoto, Nagasaki, 852-8102

7. Tatsunoshima Island

7. Tatsunoshima Island

Tatsunoshima Island seems to float upon the vivid blue ocean. View the uniquely eroded stacks, caves, and arches, as well as “Snake Valley,” named for the narrow gorge that snakes between 50-meter cliffs.

Thrill-seekers can walk along the top of the cliff. With its fine white sand and calm crystal-clear waters, the island's beach is the perfect place to relax.

  • Tatsunoshima Island
    辰ノ島
    • Address Katsumotocho Higashifure, Iki, Nagasaki 811-5512

8. Huis Ten Bosch

8. Huis Ten Bosch

Huis Ten Bosch is one of Japan's foremost theme parks, recreating the atmosphere of a European town and dazzling visitors with gorgeous light displays and beautiful arrays of thousands of colorful flowers that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Located on the edge of scenic Omura Bay, the expansive grounds of Huis Ten Bosch feature stately brick buildings and canals that flow throughout the resort, as well as restaurants, shops, and even hotels and museums.

  • Huis Ten Bosch
    ハウステンボス
    • Address 1-1 Huis Ten Bosch Machi, Sasebo, Nagasaki 859-3292

9. Nagasaki Lantern Festival (Mid-Late February)

9. Nagasaki Lantern Festival (Mid-Late February)

Begun as a celebration of the Chinese New Year primarily by the Chinese merchants resident in Nagasaki, the Nagasaki Lantern Festival has become a staple winter event in the city, and the largest of its kind in all of Japan.

Over 15,000 colorful lanterns and large art objects adorn the entire city, from Chinatown and Minato Park to Chuo Park, Meganebashi, Kanko-dori Arcade in Hamanomachi, and many other locations throughout the city. Chinese circus performances and dragon dancing add to the excitement.

10. Nagasaki Night View on Mt. Inasa

10. Nagasaki Night View on Mt. Inasa

The view of Nagasaki at night should not be missed. With Nagasaki Port at the center, mountains loom on three sides.

Homes and city lights populate the slopes, their lights mingling with the twinkling stars in the sky. Nagasaki’s splendid night view can be enjoyed from many parts of the city, but the best way to enjoy the view is to take the glass-paneled gondola ropeway up to Mt. Inasa.

At the World Night View Summit in 2012, Nagasaki was recognized as one of the 3 cities with the most spectacular night views in the world.

  • Inasa-yama Park
    稲佐山公園
    • Address Fuchimachi, Nagasaki, 852-8012

11. Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium

11. Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium

Home to about 180 penguins of nine different species, the Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium is the place to go for nature lovers wishing to get up close to these popular birds.

Visitors can watch the penguins swimming in enormous, glass-walled habitats and can even interact with the penguins and feed them. The aquarium is also home to the oldest penguin living in captivity in the world, a king penguin named Gin-Kichi.

  • Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium
    長崎ペンギン水族館
    • Address 3-16 Shukumachi, Nagasaki, 851-0121

12. Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture

12. Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture

The Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture is one of Japan’s leading museums covering the story of international exchange.

It has many exhibitions of precious historical materials from Nagasaki’s modern history, works of art, and ancient writings. It also shows a part of the restored Tateyama branch of the Edo-period Nagasaki magistrate’s office, where visitors can enjoy a short drama performance. In addition, the craft center offers hands-on classes of Nagasaki’s traditional crafts.

  • Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture
    長崎歴史文化博物館
    • Address 1 Chome-1-1 Tateyama, Nagasaki, 850-0007

13. 26 Martyrs Museum

13. 26 Martyrs Museum

On February 5, 1597, twenty-six Catholics were executed here under the orders of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, marking the beginning of a two-century-long period of harsh Christian persecution in Japan.

Today, this spot on Nishizaka Hill has been designated a Japanese National Sanctuary. Pope St. John Paul II visited this site on February 26, 1981, as a pilgrim for the martyrs.

  • 26 Martyrs Museum
    日本二十六人記念館
    • Address 7-8 Nishizakamachi, Nagasaki, 850-0051

14. Suwa Shrine

14. Suwa Shrine

The origins of Nagasaki’s Suwa Shrine can be traced back to the 1500s.

Originally located at present-day Teramachi Dori (temple street), this shrine, together with other Buddhist and Shinto relics, was destroyed by the Christians. To revive the Shinto faith, Suwa Shrine was rebuilt in 1625 and relocated to its present location in 1648. The Nagasaki Kunchi Festival, with over 380 years of history, takes place here October 7–9 annually and is one of the largest festivals in Japan.

  • Suwa Shrine
    鎮西大社 諏訪神社
    • Address 18-15 Kaminishiyamamachi, Nagasaki, 850-0006

15. Unzen Nita Pass

15. Unzen Nita Pass

These mountains are famous for their azaleas in the spring, green colors in the summer, autumn leaves in the fall, and frosty fog in the winter.

Enjoy the cable-car ride up to the top for breathtaking views. A trekking path allows hikers to enjoy the mountain flowers and wild birds, as well as stunning close-up views of Heisei Shinzan, the peak newly formed by the 1990s Fugendake eruption.

  • Unzen Nita Pass
    雲仙仁田峠
    • Address Obamacho Unzen, Unzen, Nagasaki 854-0621

16. Glover Garden

16. Glover Garden

At Glover Garden, you can visit beautiful traditional homes built for British merchants, including the oldest wooden Western-style residence in Japan, a home built by the Scottish merchant Thomas Glover, who greatly influenced the industrialization of Japan.

The Former Glover Residence was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 2015 under "Sites of Japan's Meiji Restoration: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining."

The garden is decorated with flowers and has a stunning view of Nagasaki Port. The night-time light displays and seasonal 3D projection mapping also attract many visitors.

  • Glover Garden
    グラバー園
    • Address 8-1 Minamiyamatemachi, Nagasaki, 850-0931

17. Champon and Sara Udon

17. Champon and Sara Udon

At the mention of Nagasaki, many people immediately think of champon, a dish loved by both tourists and locals.

It's said that during the Meiji period, a local Chinese restaurant invented the dish to provide students from China with a filling and nutritious meal. Toaku, an ingredient unique to Nagasaki, is used in the noodles to give them a springy texture.

This delicious dish also includes fried vegetables and seafood, brought together with the noodles in a rich soup. Sara udon is another famous dish representative of Nagasaki; one can choose crispy, thin noodles or thick champon noodles.

18. Castella

18. Castella

Castella is a sweet, moist sponge cake. Based on a recipe originally introduced by Portuguese missionaries in the mid-16th century and then developed by the people of Nagasaki, it is now a popular item.

Momo Castella, a peach-shaped version of Castella, is another popular Nagasaki cake. It reflects the Chinese belief that peaches bring good luck. It is just one of a range of delicious Nagasaki sweets that combine the best of Japan, the West, and China.

19. Dejima

19. Dejima

During Japan's long period of national seclusion (1641-1859), Dejima was the only door open to Europe and gave Nagasaki the status of Japan’s sole international trading port.

Dejima played an important role in the development of culture, industry, and science in Japan by serving as a gateway to the West.

As part of the ongoing process to restore Dejima to its 19th-century state, foundation stones, stone walls, and many other remains were excavated, and some are exhibited inside the carefully reconstructed buildings.

Other exhibitions, including the history of Dejima and Western learning, provide visitors with a sense of everyday life on Dejima.

  • Dejima
    出島
    • Address 6-1 Dejimamachi, Nagasaki, 850-0862

20. Ōura Church / Oura Cathedral

20. Ōura Church / 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 executed on Nishizaka Hill; the bronze statues in Oura Cathedral and on Nishizaka were built to face each other.

  • Ōura Church
    大浦天主堂
    • Address 5-3 Minamiyamatemachi, Nagasaki, 850-0931

Our 5 Best Recommended Hotels in Nagasaki

  • The Hotel Nagasaki BW Premier Collection
    ザ・ホテル長崎BWプレミアコレクション
    • Address 2-26 Takaramachi, Nagasaki, 850-0045
    • Phone Number 095-821-1111

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

  • ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Nagasaki Gloverhill, an IHG Hotel
    ANAクラウンプラザホテル長崎グラバーヒル
    • Address 1-18, Minamiyamatemachi, Nagasaki, 850-0931
    • Phone Number 095-818-6601

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    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

  • Garden Terrace Nagasaki Hotel & Resort
    ガーデンテラス長崎ホテル&リゾート
    • Address 2-3 Akizukimachi, Nagasaki, 850-0064
    • Phone Number 095-864-7777

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  • APA Hotel Nagasaki Ekimae
    アパホテル 長崎駅前
    • Address 2-1 Daikokumachi, Nagasaki, 850-0057
    • Phone Number 095-820-1111

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  • Victoria Inn Nagasaki
    ビクトリア・イン長崎
    • Address 6-24 Dozamachi, Nagasaki, 850-0841
    • Phone Number 095-828-1234
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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