Vibrant culinary scene & Western architecture
Nagasaki is the embodiment of beauty. Surrounded by majestic mountains, Nagasaki city is filled to the brim with tradition, culture and history. The sheer beauty makes it hard to believe that the entire area was decimated by the atomic bomb in 1945. However, you can’t help but feel a mysterious sense of melancholy during your visit.
Its tragic history and laid back lifestyle aren’t the only traits that make Nagasaki unique. The thing that really stood out for me was the mixture of diverse cultures embedded into both their food and architecture. For example, you can find the divine European style church (Oura Church) or an authentic China Town just a few minutes from each other by tram. When it comes to food, Nagasaki has to be in my top three places for mouth-watering goodness. My personal favorites are the Chinese inspired Champon (noodles in a rich broth bombarded with a mountain of vegetables) and the Spanish dessert Castella (a plain looking yet extremely tasty and moist sponge cake).
The thing that really struck me during my time there was the surprising level of kindness, which is saying something for Japanese standards! You will notice strangers chatting on tram rides, people going out of their way to help others and most importantly, a sense of community that is not found in a city like Tokyo. I have experienced this kindness first hand as I was walking through an old residential area in the pouring rain, when suddenly an old lady emerged out of nowhere and offered me an umbrella!
These are the kind of experiences you need to have when exploring the lesser known areas because it is moments like these that really stick with you. This is not to say you should avoid the tourist traps. Not by a long shot! Of course you mustn’t miss the Atomic Bomb museum and Peace Park to learn about the horrors that took place during the bombing as well as giving you a chance to pay your respects to the departed. You can later lift your spirits by visiting my personal favorite location in Japan, Mount Inasa. This mountain provides one of the three best night views in all of Japan and will guarantee to take your breath away.
- Francesco Agresti