Things to Do in Nagasaki

The Nagasaki Prefecture is situated on Kyushu Island and is the western-most region of Japan. The vast majority of popular tourist attractions are centered in and around Unzen, Nagasaki City and Sasebo. This particular region of Japan is an extremely sought after holiday destination for millions of Japanese and foreign tourists alike – not surprisingly so, since there are such an abundance of unique attractions and things to do in the Nagasaki Prefecture.

Things to Do in Nagasaki:
Visit Japan’s Most Destructive Volcano

Mount Unzen is the only active volcano in the Nagasaki prefecture and has earned itself a bad reputation. The three overlapping strato-volcanoes which forms Mount Unzen has had multiple eruptions in recent history which claimed many lives.

In 1792 it was responsible for the worst volcanic eruption in Japanese history when an enormous landslide caused by the eruption created a tsunami which killed an estimated 15,000 people. The most recent series of events occurred from 1990 to 1995 during which it killed 45 people. Today, tourists can reach the summit by either cable car or on a guided hike – despite the volcano still being active!. If you’re still brave enough to visit be sure to stop by the Heisei Shinzan Nature Center which can be found near the base of Mount Unzen. It’s where you can learn more about the volcano and its turbulent history.

Unzen Ropeway08:51AM to 17:03PM One way trip: ¥630 / Round trip: ¥1,260
Heisei Shinzan Nature Center09:00AM to 17:00PMFree

Things to Do in Nagasaki:
Explore the Ancient Haruno Tsuji Ruins

Things to do Nagasaki: Haruno Tsuji Ruins

Ancient Haruno Tsuji structures. Image Source.

If you ever wanted to catch a glimpse of what life in Japan was like during the Yayoi Period (300BC-AD300) then be sure to visit the Haruno Tsuji Ruins in Iki. Chinese historical texts say that these ruins were once the capital of one of the oldest kingdoms in Japan – the Ikikoku Kingdom. It was home to a thriving community throughout the Iron Age Era and visitors to the site can see 17 ancient structures which have been slightly restored.

A small collection of discovered artifacts are on display, some of which include plates, common tools that were used during that period and various bronze items.

Things to Do in Nagasaki:
Visit the Huis Ten Bosch Theme Park

The Huis Ten Bosch Theme Park is situated in Sasebo and is a major Nagasaki Prefecture tourist attraction. It’s modeled after what a real life Dutch town would look like – complete with houses, hotels, a colorful flower park which changes with the seasons and even real windmills!

It’s also home to one of the most unique hotels in existence – the Henn Na Hotel – the world’s first and only hotel that is entirely run by robots. During the day tourists can enjoy boat rides along the Dutch style canals, visit various shops, watch performances at the theater, stroll through the flower park and eat at restaurants – all in European style. At night, the entire theme park comes alive with bright and colorful illuminating lights.

Entry to the theme park varies from free to paid access – depending on what you want to see and do. Get a list of prices at their official website here and find out more about the Henn Na Hotel here.

Things to Do in Nagasaki:
Explore the Kujukushima Islands

Things to do in Nagasaki: 99 Islands

Sasebo Kujukushima Islands 2010-08, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Kujukushima islands are a stunning collection of 208 forested islands that covers a 25 kilometer area just off the Nagasaki Prefecture coast. Only four of the largest islands are inhabited since the others are either located in protected areas or are too small for human settlements.

The official Japanese name is the ‘Kujukushima Islands’ but many simply refer to it as ‘Kujuku’ for short or even ’99 Islands’. Boat cruises are the most popular way of experiencing its beauty but there are other options such as yachting or kayaking for those who prefer more of a solo expedition.

If you suffer from seasickness then rest assured as there are 3 observatory decks located on Sasebo Hills from where you can enjoy spectacular views of the islands instead. The Yumihari, Ishidake and Tenkaiho Observatories each offer incredible views of the islets. In addition, the Yumihari Observation Deck also provides views of Sasebo City – so be sure to bring a good camera along.

Rela-Cruise11:20, 13:20, 14:20, 15:201,000¥ (Kids) / 2,000¥ (Adults)Website

Things to Do in Nagasaki:
Enjoy Views of Nagasaki City from Mount Inasa

Making your way up Mount Inasa for the incredible 360-degree view should be one the first things you do in Nagasaki City. The view is nothing less than astounding and watching the illuminating city lights during the evening makes for an even better view. From the summit, which sits at 333 meters above sea level, you will see Mount Unzen off in the distance, the picturesque coastline, islands, various important historical sites scattered throughout the city and the port.

09:00 to 22:00 (1st March – 30th November)
09:00 to 21:00 (1st December – 28th February)
One way trip: 720¥ / Round trip: 1,230¥Website

Things to Do in Nagasaki:
Visit the Nagasaki Peace Park & Atomic Bomb Museum

The Peace Park was established in 1955 and is home to a black stone monolith which indicates the exact spot where the Nagasaki atom bomb detonated 500 meters above ground on August 9, 1945. A staggering 73,884 people lost their lives that day with many more from radiation poisoning in the years that followed.

The museum, which was completed in 1996, is very modern and showcases all of the historical events that led up to the attack – including the horrific aftermath. There are photographs and original items on display from the actual destruction. Each year on the anniversary, the Nagasaki mayor makes a peace declaration to the world to honor the victims. So be sure to put the peace park and atomic bomb museum on top of your list of things to do in Nagasaki City.

08:30 to 18:30 (May to August)
08:30 to 17:30 (September to April)
29 to 31 December200¥ Per Person

Things to Do in Nagasaki:
Stroll Through Shinchi Chinatown

A large number of Chinese have been living in Nagasaki City even before Japan’s isolation period in the 17th to 19th centuries. Limited trading was allowed with China through the Nagasaki City port during the isolation period and that is how Shinchi Chinatown was established.

Shinchi Chinatown, or Nagasaki Chinatown as its sometimes called, is the oldest Chinatown in Japan and one of the three largest in the country. The noodle restaurants attracts large numbers of locals and tourists and eating at any of the famous noodle restaurants is among the most recommended things to do in Nagasaki. There are somewhere around 40 different restaurants that are open to serve lunch from 11:00am – 15:00pm and dinner from 17:00pm – 21:00pm. It’s also a good place to browse and shop for a wide a variety of products imported from the Chinese mainland.

Things to Do in Nagasaki:
Visit Takahama Beach

Takahama Beach has been rated as not only one of the top 100 tourist attractions in Japan but also one of the top 100 beaches in the world. The exquisite beach with its white sand and clean water can be found on the Goto Islands and has become one of the top tourist attractions in Nagasaki. The beach is open for swimming during July and August and attracts people from all over Japan and the world.

Things to Do in Nagasaki:
Visit the Historically Important Dejima Island

Dejima Island

Dejima Nagasaki Japan06bs5, CC BY-SA 3.0

The word Dejima in Japanese means ‘Exit Island‘. It’s an artificial island in the bay of Nagasaki created by local merchants in 1634 to house Portuguese traders.

The Dutch used it as a trading post from 1641 to 1853. Authorities limited the movement of foreigners to this island during Japan’s isolation period; mostly to end the missionary activities of Europeans in Japan. It was the only place from where Japan did trade with non-Japanese people. The Dejima Dutch Trading Post was declared a Japanese National Historic site in 1922. Roadways and houses have been beautifully preserved and tourists can see how European traders lived while in the country during the Edo period.

8:00 to 18:00 (until 19:00 in summer and during peak seasons). No admission 20 minutes prior to closingNo closing days.510¥ Per PersonWebsite

Things to Do in Nagasaki:
See Japan’s Oldest Zen temple

The Shofukuji temple was established in 1195 by priest Eisai. The temple taught the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism from China and is known as being the first Zen temple in Japan. Unfortunately, visitors cannot enter the temple building and will have to instead admire the beautiful structure from outside while walking through the beautiful temple grounds. The temple along with its surrounding areas have been declared a National Historic Site.

Always OpenNever closesFree