Last Thursday, I finally quit my job. On Friday, I started what I call my "holidays marathon.
First step : Nagasaki city.
Nagasaki is a place I had visited in 2011. Despite a few things that left me some bitter memories (and which now seem futile), I really liked the atmosphere and architecture of this city. Of all the major cities in Kyushu, I think it is the one that has the most charm and I could not wait to go again.
This time, I wanted to focus on the southern part of the city where gather the Dutch-inspired neighborhoods, dozens of temples and shrines and streets full of small neighborhoods.
My day started at 8:05am when I got on the highway bus. Buses are a very good alternative to trains on Kyushu. Often as fast as trains or even more (except shinkansen), they are a very economical way to travel. For this trip to Nagasaki, the round trip cost me 4,630 yens, twice cheaper than train, for an equal travel time (about two hours).
Arrived in nagasaki, I quietly headed south, to visit the garden Glover garden (グラバー園). The weather was not very nice, we are in the rainy season but the time I reached the top of the garden, the clouds over the hills were gone and the beautiful view of the harbor proved.
The garden in itself is very nice: built on floors with lots of old buildings, greenery and flowers. Too bad the main building was completely under tarpaulin for renovation. Without that, it would have been almost perfect. As there was hardly anyone, I took my time and stayed for almost two hours.
After a lunch break, I went back in the Glover's neighborhood to explore the small streets nearby.
Did you know that in Nagasaki very few people own a bike? The city is built on hills and the streets are often on slopes and / or with stairs, impossible to cycle. So I had fun getting lost in the endless maze of alleys. There is nothing touristy but I think they are the essence of Nagasaki.
|Illustrated books museum|
Going down, an obligatory passage was the Confucius Temple (Koshi byô ,孔子廟), the only temple of its kind to be built outside of China by Chinese workers. Having never been to China, I am not used to all this colors in temples. Red, orange and yellow, it looks like a jewel in the heart of a neighborhood that suddenly seemed bland. I found the place beautiful but I prefer the discretion of wood and stone of Japanese temples.
Again there was no one and I could take my time to photograph ... and do calligraphy (free of charge) !
Speaking of temples, my next step will be the Kajiya machi district (鍛冶屋町). For this, I went through the Dutch slope (オランダ坂), a small area on a hill with beautiful Western-style house. As it was already late, I didn't visited it though.
For the following temples, you just have to follow the road and open your eyes to find the steps leading series on the heights where are temples and shrines. Sometimes we discover little treasures.
Finally, I came to Chinatown through the glasses bridge "Megane-bashi" (眼鏡橋). If I am still fascinated by this beautiful bridge, I was a little disappointed by Chinatown, which is quite small and quite uninteresting. I just ate a kakuni-manju (角煮まんじゅう, pork bun ), a specialty of the city before going back slowly to the station to catch my bus back.
|Near Megane-bashi, you can eat a rose shaped ice cream (150 yens)|
See you, Nagasaki, I will come back soon.
- provide for at least 2 full days on the city itself to go around quietly, there is so much to see!
- provide good shoes : you will have to walk a lot and there are a lot of stairs and slopes;
- have a good paper map with you. Google maps is really not enough, especially in the hills because the tiny streets are not indicated.
Healthy, this dish inspired of Chinese and Fijian cuisine is popular throughout Japan thanks to, among others, Ringer Hut chain.
It consists of pork, seafood, kameboko (fish paste), vegetables and noodles (which is like ramen). Everything is served in a broth made from chicken bones and topped with sliced eggs .
There was no way I would spend the day in Nagasaki without enjoying a good champon. For this, I went to Shikairo (四海楼), the restaurant which created the dish in the 1800's. I have not been disappointed. This is really the best champon I ever ate .
The broth was very tasty and not greasy at all. If you come on Nagasaki, it is a place not to be missed. There is also the option to buy the noodles and the broth in the small shop and visit the champon museum, all in the same building.
Adress // 住所: 4-5 Matsugaemachi, Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture // 〒850-0921 長崎県長崎市松が枝町4-5
Phone // 電話番号 : 095-822-1296
Prices // お値段 : 972 yens for a bowl of champon // チャンポンは972円から
Opening hours // 営業時間 : everyday from 11:30am to 3PM then from 5PM to 9PM (L.O at 8PM)
11時半〜15時 - 17〜21時（L.O 20時）
Access // アクセス : 5 minutes à pieds depuis la station de tramway Ôura tenshudô shita (大浦天主堂下)