Family Fun: Huis Ten Bosch (Nagasaki)

In the past few years, my family and I have been frequent visitors to Sasebo, a seaside city in Nagasaki Prefecture. In all that time, however, we had never once stopped into the Huis Ten Bosch complex, a Dutch-themed amusement park just a few kilometers below the city. "Dutch?", you may be asking yourselves? But in... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Unzen Jigoku (Nagasaki)

In 1549, the Portuguese missionary Francis Xavier landed in Kagoshima with one main mission - to spread the gospel to the inhabitants of Japan. In the next 100 years, Christianity flourished in various communities on Kyushu (Nagasaki, Hirado and Kagoshima, to name a few) but never seemed to spread much further. In the mid 1600s,... Continue Reading →

Manhole Monday: Nagasaki

I'll close out the run of posts on Nagasaki with the city's manhole cover. Nagasaki is known for a number of things - its trade ties, its mix of culinary styles, its sad history as a target of the second atomic bomb. And yet here is what the drain cover looks like: That's right. Hydrangea.... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Oura Church (Nagasaki)

As you can tell from both this and my last post, I've recently been to Nagasaki. My in-laws were in town at the beginning of October and they expressed an interest in seeing Nagasaki. My husband and I, having spent the two weeks prior to that driving back and forth to Sasebo (quite near Nagasaki)... Continue Reading →

Good Eats: Shikairo (Nagasaki)

Nagasaki is a bit of a culinary crossroads. As one of the only cities to remain open to trade during the Edo Era (1603-1868), it played host to Chinese, Dutch and the very occasional British trader. Thanks to those influences, the food scene in Nagasaki is pretty varied and incredibly tasty. One of Nagasaki's most famous... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Dutch Trading Post (Hirado)

If you're familiar with Japanese history, you might know that Japan was essentially a closed nation from the early 1600s until the mid-1850s. The only contact with the outside world was through the Dutch trading post on the fan-shaped island of Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor. What most people don't realize, however, is that Dejima wasn't... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Chinatown (Yokohama)

I realize that the Chinese New Year officially began on February 10th but since I'm heading up to catch the final days of the Nagasaki Lantern Festival this weekend, I'm in the mood to drag out the celebration a bit. Nagasaki has a small, interesting Chinatown itself but my favorite Chinatown in Japan is, hands... Continue Reading →

Spotlight: Dejima (Nagasaki)

It might seem hard to believe today, but Japan was once closed off to the world. Between the 1630s and 1868, the Tokugawa Shogunate essentially followed a closed-door policy - no one in, and no one out. Foreigners entering the country were strictly punished and even killed and Japanese who left were never permitted to return home... Continue Reading →

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