We were disappointed we couldn’t visit Hiroshima because of the typhoon so we were very pleased at the Captains choice to stop at Nagasaki. Since we were unprepared for a stop in Nagasaki we booked a 5 hour tour that included the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Museum and the Mt. Inasa Ropeway. It was perfect as they were the three top sights that we wanted to see. It took us well over an hour to get through customs and immigrations as we had to check in to Japan again. The delay in the arrivals hall ended up making our tour a full-day tour. Perfect! Our tour guide was excellent. The best we’ve had so far. Until today we struggled with the guides english and their Japanese accents. She was young and so interesting. Made the day that much more enjoyable.
Our day in Nagasaki started out with a visit to the Peace Memorial Park. Water was always around in the fountains and water bottles surrounding the statues in the park as after the dropping of the A-bomb water was contaminated and so many people were thirsty.
The principle statue that was surrounded by a beautiful water fountain at the beginning of the park was designed by the sculptor Seibou Kitamura, and each aspect of it holds symbolic importance.
The right hand pointing to the sky reminds us of the danger of nuclear weapons, while the extended left hand symbolizes eternal peace. The statue’s face also embodies peace, while its closed eyes represent a prayer for the repose of the victims’ souls.
His folded right leg is in meditation while the extended left leg is rooted to the ground, asking us to stand up and help the world.
Little triangle enclosures in the shape of folded hands held many contributions of 1,000 folded origami peace crane threads. Many were made from schools wishing for world peace.
At the end of the park is a fountain where you can look up through the center to see the entrance statue. The water again is symbolic of the lack of pure water and the two sides of the water spray is shaped like a pair of angel wings. This visit was incredibly moving for us.
The Peace Park is also adorned with statutes donated from around the world and has beautifully landscaped gardens. Each statue conveys a message of friendship and peace to the city of Nagasaki by donor cities and/or countries. The contribution from their sister city, St. Paul, MN was particularly moving. Seven figures holding hands symbolizing the seven continents working together for peace. I have included the titles and countries names in the captions of the photos below:
On the way to the Atomic Bomb Museum we passed the tiny house of the radiation doctor who won a Nobel prize for his work after the A bomb. A little further down the street was the remains of the cathedral. A small section of the remains of the cathedral was relocated to the Ground Zero Park at the Museum.
The Atomic Bomb Museum occupies a large area in Nagasaki. The entrance is marked with a statue of a teacher trying to protect his students from the blow back of the bomb when it was dropped. Doves of peace are placed with the children and to the sides with the 1,000 folded origami crane threads wishing for peace.
The Museum is very well done but emotional. There were displays of fragments from the explosion…melted bottles, and metal structure beams that were fused in to clumps. Some of these fragments were 5-6 kms from the blast where they sustained incredible damage.
Just outside the Museum and down the stairs was Ground Zero. They’ve built a park there. There’s a monument (one with circles around it in photo) marking ground zero. Next to it are remains of the destroyed Cathedral that was relocated to Ground Zero park.
You can climb up the stairs to an observation area of Ground Zero from above.
Both the Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb Museum were filled with groups of school children. The guide told us that the Museum was updated around 2000 and was much less graphic than before. She said it was always very difficult for her on their school trips as a small child to go through the museum.
We then took a ropeway (gondola) up Mt. Inasa to an observatory. There were magnificent views and we could see our ship on the waterfront across from us. Below us is one of the largest ship building facilities and dry docks in Japan.
Our tour guide made this tour for us. She provided lots of commentary as well as allowing us lots of time on our own at all our stops. She was delightful. Since it was last minute the tour company she worked for called her 36 hours before to see if she would be able to work. She lives 3-1/2 hours by express train from Nagasaki!
Due to the delay in immigration and customs we didn’t have lunch, which was fine as we had Clif bars AND we could reward/treat ourselves with decadence upon our return to the ship.
We took in the sunset from the ship, went up for a cocktail and dinner again at the Tuscan Grill. Joe had the lasagna and I had delicious rib eye with probably the tastiest eggplant parmigiana I’ve ever had. For desert Joe had the pistachio creme brûlée and I had fig gelato (totally yummy).
Excellent day in Nagasaki all around.
Next stop, our last before returning to Yokohama… Shimizu/Mt. Fuji