Mount Inasayama

KYUSHU Nagasaki Japan's gateway to the West

Ancient cultural roots and a history of international trade are backdropped by rolling hills and forested islands

Nagasaki was Japan's early gateway to trade with the West, and this influence still shines through in its districts of stately European-style homes and a large Christian population. Historically strong links to China and Korea further inflect modern Nagasaki, although the prefecture features tombs and ruins dating back to the third century B.C. Unspoiled beaches and island getaways surrounded by crystal-clear seas that draw swimmers, divers, and sea kayakers, while the island of Tsushima attracts eco-tourists with its flora and fauna.

How To Get There

If you are traveling by air, Nagasaki Airport or nearby Fukuoka Airport are your best options. You can book bus tickets from either one that will take you directly to the city of Nagasaki. Alternatively, you can catch the bullet train all the way from Tokyo—or major cities between—to Hakata Station in Fukuoka. From here you have two options: catch a bus or ride the JR Kamome Limited Express to Nagasaki Station.

If you are traveling to Nagasaki from Fukuoka, you can catch a bus from Hakata or Tenjin, or ride the JR Kamome Limited Express from Hakata Station. To catch a ferry to any of the Goto Islands, purchase a ticket from Ohato terminal, which is located just behind Yume Saito, a popular shopping mall. To get around Nagasaki City, take the tram that goes to all the tourist spots for just 120 yen.

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Don’t Miss

  • The beautiful beaches of the Goto Islands, offering delicious fresh seafood
  • Dejima and Glover Garden, the European-style home to some of Japan's first foreign merchants
  • Scaling Mt. Inasa for one of the top three night views in all of Japan
  • Gunkanjima, the eerie, abandoned coal mining island made famous by film

Local Specialties

  • Goto Udon

    Made by cutting dough with a sickle and then pulling it apart by hand, these noodles retain the faint aroma of camellia oil from the Goto Islands that is used during the pulling process.

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  • Nagasaki Shippoku

    Nagasaki was Japan's first point of contact with the West and has a long history of trade with China. Nagasaki shippoku is a fusion of Japanese, Chinese and Western cuisine that often features meats such as fowl and other game. Some examples are kakuni (braised) pork and hikado, hashed meat and vegetable stew.

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  • Sasebo Burger

    Japan's best-known burger has its origins around the American naval base at Sasebo. Each store has its own specialty, including burgers topped with Berkshire ham or fried eggs.

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  • Sara Udon

    This dish has a base of crispy noodles topped with stir-fried cabbage, bean sprouts and pork, squid or prawns served on a plate. You can choose soft noodles or deep-fried crispy noodles.

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  • Ariake Blue Crab

    Once plentiful throughout Japan, the Ariake blue crab has a large, diamond-shaped torso, and is found most often in Saga Prefecture. Served grilled, boiled or as sashimi, blue crab has a sweet, buttery taste and is a must-try for crab lovers.

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  • Nagasaki Chanpon

    Inspired by Chinese cuisine, Nagasaki chanpon is a flavorful, warming noodle soup made in pork, vegetable and seafood variations. Athough otherwise similar to ramen, chanpon noodles are cooked with the soup rather than added to it.

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  • Shimabara Tenobe Somen

    Somen is a very thin noodle that is stretched by hand. Tenobe somen from Shimabara retains its chewiness despite being so thin. Enjoy these noodles cold on a hot summer's day or in a piping hot soup in the winter.

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  • Castella Sponge Cake

    Portuguese missionaries introduced castella sponge cake to Nagasaki. Fluffy and moist, made with thick malty syrup, Nagasaki castella is instantly recognizable for its golden brown surface, sweet aroma and rich taste. There are now varieties made with black sugar, chocolate or cheese as well as honey, brown sugar and even green tea powder.

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  • Hasami Ware

    Porcelain production in Hasami began with the arrival of Korean potters in 1599. The affordable kurawanka bowls soon turned Hasami yaki into a household name. Modern-day innovations like the break-resistant warenikka in 1987 make this contemporary tableware perfect for everyday use.

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  • Mikawachi Ware

    Porcelain made in Sasebo is known as Mikawachi or Hirado ware after the feudal Hirado domain that established it in the late 17th century. This white ceramic ware, typically decorated with a blue underglaze and clear overglaze, is renowned for exceptional openwork, reliefs and sculptural detailing.

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    Tulips in Huis Ten Bosch and azaleas in Nagushiyama accentuate the bloom of Japan's more famous cherry blossoms. The Hirado Thousand Lantern Festival illuminates Fumon-ji temple.

    shimabara castle
  • Summer

    Experience true island life at Nagasaki’s various oceanside festivals. Dine on spiny lobsters and watch a traditional Peron boat race under the summer sun.

    GLOVER GARDEN
  • Autumn

    Nagasaki gets up and moving in autumn, with the Sasebo Yosakoi dance festival, Noh theater performances in Shimabara and death-defying Takengi acrobatics. Kunchi is Nagasaki City's flagship festival, with music, food and dragon dance.

    fugen-dake
  • Winter

    Nagasaki is aglow with the light of thousands of lanterns. Church concerts in Kamigoto resound all over the island, and grass in the hills of Kawachi-Toge Pass is burned off, creating a red-hot spectacle.

    Nagasaki Lantern Festival

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