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Golden Sunsets and Hillside Houses: Glover Garden, Nagasaki

A port town renowned for its sloping residences, history and nature, Nagasaki City, despite being relatively small, is said to have one of the best nightscapes in Japan. Whilst often viewed from Mt. Inasa, Glover Garden is a good alternative for those who want to experience Nagasaki’s breathtaking night views from a more accessible location.

Located atop the Minami-Yamate hill, these sprawling garden grounds date back to around 160 years ago, when Thomas Blake Glover, a merchant from Scotland, built his home on these very grounds.

Sitting at the top of the garden is the Former Mitsubishi Shipyard No.2 Dock House, a two-story dormitory that was home to sailors who were waiting for their ships to be repaired at the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard.

The view from the second floor’s veranda is undoubtedly picture-perfect: stepping out onto the veranda brings you face-to-face with a majority of the Nagasaki port, while Nagasaki’s iconic slopes, overrun with the colorful rooftops of private residences of all shapes and sizes, frame both the left and right sides of your vantage point.

The escalator ride up to the Dock House is already an experience in itself, especially so when you begin your descent just as the sun begins to set. You’re granted a closer view of the residential slopes bathed in hues of pink and orange, and your slow ascent only provides you with more views of residences located higher up on the slopes.

I highly recommend Glover Garden as an alternative to Mt. Inasa if you’d like to experience Nagasaki’s beautiful nightscapes for yourself. Glover Garden is not only relatively more accessible but is also closer to Nagasaki’s city center, allowing you to soak in clearer views of the city at night. Exploring Glover Garden just as the sun sets is also a great idea: you can explore the well-preserved former residences of foreign merchants, and slowly make your way up to the Dock House as the sun fades in the horizon and gives way to that picturesque night view Nagasaki is known for.

Getting there

Glover Garden is about 15 minutes away from Nagasaki Station. There are two entrances to Glover Garden.

One is located next to Oura Cathedral, and requires visitors to walk up a hill for about seven minutes from Oura Cathedral Tram Stop along the Nagasaki Tram Line Number 5.

The second is located closer to Ishibashi Tram Stop, the last stop along the Nagasaki Tram Line Number 5. Visitors can ride the free Glover Sky Road—an elevator that leads straight up to the highest point of Glover Garden, the Dock House—and there is relatively little to no uphill climbing as compared to the first entrance.

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