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Discover How Nagasaki Blends Culture, Cuisine, and Festivities

Learn about Nagasaki’s peaceful message. See how foreign influences have shaped the city’s culture and cuisine for centuries. Plan your visit with JAL today.
Discover How Nagasaki Blends Culture, Cuisine, and Festivities

Find out everything you need to know about Nagasaki’s immense history, culture, and sightseeing.

Nagasaki Prefecture offers visitors an incredible glimpse into Japanese history and culture. It's set along the northwest coast of Kyushu. As such, Nagasaki City is home to one of Japan’s earliest and most significant ports. It became an essential international trading hub during an era when little knowledge of the outside world left or entered Japan.

Nagasaki also experienced the second of two devastating atomic attacks during World War II, which left much of the city in ruins. The prefecture promotes a peaceful message highlighting the dangers of nuclear weapons. Its story can be experienced through memorial parks, museums, and monuments across the city.

Now reborn through continuous efforts since the end of WWII, the city has become so much more than its wartime history. It's bursting with landmarks that showcase Nagasaki’s long-standing connection to the global community. And its fascinating attractions immerse visitors in history, culture, and natural beauty. 

Nagasaki resides in the southernmost of Japan’s main islands. It benefits from a subtropical climate ranging from mild in winter to hot and humid in summer. Read on to learn about the prefecture’s history and the most memorable things to do in Nagasaki.

The must-see attractions in Nagasaki

Ready to book your journey? Nagasaki offers many outstanding travel experiences inside the city and across its surrounding hillsides. Check out these alluring landmarks to create an unforgettable Nagasaki itinerary.

Nagasaki Peace Park

Nagasaki Peace Park

Inaugurated in 1955, the Nagasaki Peace Park is dedicated to world peace. It is divided into two serene parks. Landmarks such as the Fountain of Peace and the Peace Bell provide thought-provoking messages against war and the following devastation.

The 10-metre Peace Statue is Nagasaki Peace Park’s most famous monument. Designed by artist Seibo Kitamura, it cautions against nuclear weapons while symbolizing a hopeful future. On the bombing’s anniversary each August 9th, visitors gather for the Nagasaki Peace Ceremony to pay respect and witness the mayor’s Peace Declaration speech.

• Address: 9 Matsuyama, Nagasaki 852-8118
• Operating hours: Open 24 hours

How to get there: To reach Nagasaki Peace Park, catch the 1 or 3 tram lines from Nagasaki Station. The Peace Park will be situated opposite your destination.

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum is a short walk from Nagasaki Peace Park. It provides visitors with a glimpse of the destruction encountered by the city. Exhibitions reveal the process leading up to the bombing, the history of nuclear weapons development, and the ongoing journey to peace.

The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum features an extensive hall for lectures, a museum shop, and a cafe. The sculptural Memorial Hall provides a sensitive space for prayer and remembrance. Here, visitors are encouraged to leave messages of peace.

• Address: 7-8 Hiranomachi, Nagasaki 852-8117
• Operating hours: Daily from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM

How to get there: To reach the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, ride the 1 or 3 tram lines from Nagasaki Station to the Atomic Bomb Museum stop. Then, take a 4-minute walk up the hill to reach your destination.

Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown

Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown

Established in the 17th century, Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in Japan. During the country’s isolation period, lasting from 1641 to 1858, Nagasaki was only open to merchants from China, Portugal, and the Netherlands. During this time, Chinese traders opened warehouses to create a neighborhood still beloved by locals and visitors.

Today, you’ll encounter a myriad of delicious Chinese restaurants. Many serve renowned Nagasaki dishes, including sara udon and champon. Alongside fascinating architecture, like towering guardian gates, Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown hosts the annual Nagasaki Lantern Festival, held throughout the 15 days of Chinese New Year.

• Address: 10-13 Shinchimachi, Nagasaki 850-0842

How to get there: To reach Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown, take the 1 tram line from Nagasaki Station to the Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown stop. Here, you're surrounded by several blocks of restaurants and shops.

Mount Inasayama

Mount Inasayama

Located on the edge of Nagasaki City, Mount Inasayama rises to 333 meters. It offers visitors scenic views across the cityscape and countryside. With a convenient ropeway leading from the base to the summit, this is one of the best places to witness the city’s striking beauty.

At the top, a glass-enclosed vantage point provides dramatic 360-degree views. Radio and television towers light up the summit after dark. An open-air stage is routinely used for live concerts and performances, plus a small cafe serves local snacks and drinks. Catch the sunset and watch as the nearby cityscape springs to life with bright lights.

• Address: Inasayama Park, 407-6 Fuchimachi, Nagasaki 852-8012
• Operating hours: Daily from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM

How to get there: Take the bus from Nagasaki Station for 15 minutes to the Inasayama bus stop. Then, it’s a 20-minute walk to the summit. Alternatively, 'slope cars' also operate and can be purchased for a round trip.

Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum

Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum

Opened in 2005, the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum is one of the city’s foremost architectural examples. It's also a great place to view local and international art. Celebrated Japanese architect Kuma Kengo designed the museum around a 'breathing museum' concept. Roaming this serene building made from glass and rock is a rousing experience. 

The Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum offers one of Asia’s best collections of Spanish artwork through its collaboration with Madrid’s Museo del Prado. This includes famous works by Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso. Meanwhile, Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu provides in-depth insight into postwar Japan through his acclaimed work.

• Address: 2-1 Dejimamachi, Nagasaki 850-0862
• Operating hours: Daily from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

How to get there: From Nagasaki Station, catch the 1 tram line to the Dejima tram stop. Then, it’s a five-minute walk to reach the museum on Nagasaki Seaside Park's edge.

Hashima Island (Gunkanjima)

Hashima Island (Gunkanjima)

Situated 15 kilometers from Nagasaki City, Hashima Island is a unique destination for a bold adventure. Also known as Gunkanjima, meaning Battleship Island, the abandoned island’s historic coal mining operation was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015 due to its unusual shape. 

Featured in the 2012 James Bond film ‘Skyfall,’ Hashima Island was once Japan's most densely populated town, with 5,000 people living on the tiny island. Yet once the coal mines closed in the 1970s, the entire island was soon left empty. Closed for decades, the island reopened for tourists in 2009, with guided tours providing a glimpse into its history.

• Address: Takashimamachi, Nagasaki 851-1315

How to get there: Hashima Island (Gunkanjima) is only accessible via boat, with several companies operating services from the Nagasaki Port Ferry Terminal and the Tokiwa Terminal.

The best restaurants to experience Nagasaki’s fusion cuisine

Once you’ve seen the best tourist destinations in Nagasaki, don’t miss out on the best cuisine. Dining in Nagasaki is an outstanding chance to experience Japanese cuisine with an international twist.



Kagetsu was founded almost 400 years ago. It is now widely considered the top restaurant for Nagasaki’s age-old specialty cuisine, shippoku. Here, the high-end meals fuse Japanese kaiseki-style cuisine with Chinese and Portuguese influences, capturing the city’s historic story of foreign trade through its delicious dishes.

The restaurant is housed within a beautiful traditional building with a colorful past. Guests are seated in a peaceful old-world wooden hall facing the stunning garden. Then, it’s time to dine on a dozen wonderfully presented dishes. Inside is a small exhibition space proudly displaying antiquities collected since Kagetsu’s opening in 1642. 

• Address: 2-1 Hanazuki, Maruyamamachi, Nagasaki 850-0902
• Operating hours: Wednesday to Monday from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM

How to get there: Riding the 1 tram line from Nagasaki Station, you can reach Kagetsu by traveling to the Shiambashi Station stop and walking south for four minutes.



Champon is another Nagasaki dish that traces the city’s migrant story. So, where is the best place to try it? The place where it was invented, of course. First served in Shikairou in 1899, the meal is based on China’s Fujian cuisine. Champon is made using fried pork, seafood, and vegetables with ramen noodles.

In the 1800s, many migrants based in Nagasaki arrived from Fujian province. The Shikairou's chef saw an opportunity to produce an affordable, hearty meal bound to appeal to the local population. Nowadays, it’s considered one of the city’s iconic dishes. Situated opposite the famous Oura Church, a trip to Shikairou is a must.

• Address: Shikairou, 4-5 Matsugaemachi, Nagasaki 850-0921
• Operating hours: Wednesday to Monday from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

How to get there: To arrive at the restaurant, catch the 1 tram line to the Dejima Station stop. Then, it’s a 12-minute walk past the Nagasaki Seaside Park to reach your destination.



If you’re looking for a glimpse of modern Nagasaki, the coffee and Italian food at Attic should be a top priority. Overlooking Nagasaki Port, a relaxing open-air terrace is perfect for enjoying pizza and pasta dishes as the boats cruise in and out of the picturesque harbor. 

However, the coffee and desserts shouldn’t be ignored. Brewed using beans from the nearby Dejima Coffee Roastery, Attic serves refined espresso and drip coffees. Plus, an outstanding selection of cakes ensures your visit is completed with a sweet treat. 

• Address: 1F Nagasaki Dejima Wharf, 1-1 Dejimamachi, Nagasaki 850-0862
• Operating hours: Daily from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM

How to get there: Positioned near the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Attic is easily reached after a short walk from the Dejima tram stop along the 1 tram line.

Experience Nagasaki’s famous cultural festivals

For the best visit to Nagasaki, consider timing your visit to coincide with the city’s two most popular annual festivals. Bursting with color, music, dance, and celebration, these special events give travelers a dynamic perspective on the city’s history. They also provide excellent access to rare encounters that elevate your adventure.

Nagasaki Kunchi

Nagasaki Kunchi

Held each year from October 7-9, Nagasaki Kunchi is the city’s most famous festival. It originated in the 16th century. The exciting event celebrates the autumnal harvest while combining cultural aspects from China and the Netherlands. This highlights how foreign cultures have had a widespread impact on the city’s development throughout history.

Organized by Suwa Shrine – a major Shinto shrine situated on the slopes of Mount Tamazono – vibrant groups represent varied city districts through expressive dances and performances. However, each city district can only participate once every seven years. So, each year the festival is held, onlookers experience a new show promoting various parts of Nagasaki’s community.

Obtaining tickets to the main performance areas as a foreigner is difficult. However, there are numerous spots around the city, such as Nagasaki Station, where anyone can watch for free. From traditional dance routines to Chinese dragon performances, Nagasaki Kunchi is an unmissable event for those looking to experience the city's top folk activities.

Nagasaki Lantern Festival

Nagasaki Lantern Festival

The Nagasaki Lantern Festival is the largest lantern festival in Japan. It celebrates Chinese New Year with 15,000 lanterns and lights adorning the cityscape. The festival takes place across 15 days throughout the Chinese New Year, from late January to early February. Myriad live shows and light displays bring each venue to life. 

The festival was named an official event in 1994. It has since expanded outside Chinatown to destinations like Chuo Park and Minato Park. Alongside an endless array of lanterns, the festival includes numerous fireworks displays, theatre shows, dragon dances, and beauty contests.

Plus, the festival provides an incredible selection of Chinese cuisine, with delicious food stalls and souvenir stands celebrating the city’s migrant population. If you want to attend this remarkable lunar event, ride the tram to the Shinchi Chinatown stop to quickly get amongst all the action.

Getting to Nagasaki from Tokyo

Planning your journey from Tokyo to Nagasaki is easy. You can catch a direct flight from Tokyo International Airport to Nagasaki Airport in around 1 hour and 55 minutes. To reach the city from the airport, you can ride the Nagasaki Airport Bus to Nagasaki Station in 55 minutes.

Suwa Station is the closest railway station to the airport if you need to catch a train to another destination in Nagasaki Prefecture. However, you’ll need to take a 15-minute taxi ride to get there. Keep this in mind when organizing your travel plans after touching down.

Plan your journey with JAL

Look no further than Nagasaki to immerse yourself in Japan’s incredible history, culture, and cuisine. Through a stirring collection of unique experiences, visitors to Nagasaki can discover many extraordinary adventures.

From impressive monuments to colorful festivals, art galleries, and sumptuous restaurants, there’s no shortage of destinations to include on your Nagasaki itinerary. If you’re ready to launch into an amazing adventure, plan your journey with the JAL Japan Explorer Pass to benefit from special airfares to more than 30 domestic locations across JAL's network.

Getting There