Friday 2 June Nagasaki – Kyushu Island

Overnight we had sailed towards Nagasaki and while we were eating our breakfast in the Lido Café we sailed under the bridge and into the harbour. Nagasaki was the second city to be destroyed by an Atomic Bomb during World War II. At 11.02 am on 9th August 1945, as World War II was coming to an end, Nagasaki became the second and last target for atomic bombing. The bomb exploded 500 metres in the air and caused damage by fire, the blast and radiation. The lives of 73,884 people were lost, and another 74,909 were injured. The people of Nagasaki united for the recovery of the city and the restoration of its natural surroundings.
On a guided sightseeing tour, we visited the Atomic Bomb Museum, the Hypocentre Park and the Nagasaki Peace Park. The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, which was renovated in 1996, stands beside the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, built in 2003. As we made our way down the spiral path, there was a string of a thousand cranes created using one piece of paper 15cm x 150metres long. The Museum had displays and exhibits, as well as photographs that depict the devastation caused by the Atomic Bomb and showing the lead up to this tragic day, the history of the development of nuclear arms and Nagasaki’s desire for world peace.
From the Museum, we walked to the Hypocentre Park, where there is a monument showing the exact centre of the blast from the Atomic Bomb. There is also a black box with the names of all the victims to date. The Atomic Bomb dropped on Nagasaki was 3.25m in length, 1.52m in diameter and 4.5ton in weight. When the bomb exploded, its energy emission was equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT.
We continued our walk to The Peace Park, which was founded with the desire for world peace in mind. . This park is full of trees, flowers and art works donated by countries all over the world, including one from Australia, in support of the Nagasaki City’s prayer for peace.
The Peace Statue, a symbol of Nagasaki as a City of Peace, was created by sculptor Seibo Kitamura, a Nagasaki native. The raised right hand pointing to the sky portrays the threat of the atomic bomb, and the left hand stretching horizontally symbolises eternal world peace, while the slightly closed eyes express a prayer asking that the souls of the victims may find rest. A poem is carved into a memorial plate in front of the park’s fountain, written by a child who suffered from thirst in the immediate aftermath of the bombing. The fountain, brimming with water, is an offering to all those who lost their strength before they could drink a single drop. Every year, a Peace Memorial Ceremony is conducted in front of this statue.
These are apparently the most visited sites for learning about what happened and commemorating the souls of the departed. As well as the Peace Statue, the park is full of art works donated by countries all over the world in support of Nagasaki’s prayer for peace. Australia’s gift was “Tree of Life – Gift of Peace”, in recognition of atomic survivors world-wide and to support Nagasaki’s prayer for peace.
Sandra, Keith and Sandy were asked to hang the string of paper cranes (made by the passengers yesterday in our origami lesson) in a special small monument shaped like praying hands, beside the Peace Statue.
This was an emotional visit but we both felt very strongly that we must tell the story of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and we must never forget the devastation that these two Atomic Bombs caused to innocent people, many of them children!! Nagasaki must be the last place exposed to an Atomic bomb!!
On our way to Dejima Island, Yukiko sang “the Song of the Bells” for us, which was hauntingly beautiful. Dejima Island is an artificial island built in the bay of Nagasaki during the Edo Period to accommodate Portuguese Christian missionaries. It also used to be the residential quarters of the Dutch, the only foreigners allowed to trade in Japan during the Sakoku (Isolation) Period for 200 years until Japan reopened to the world.
Dejima, which was constructed in 1636 and became a place where the Dutch East India Company installed a trading post, allowing the transport into Japan of both Western goods and the latest news of overseas current affairs. At the same time, Japanese goods, along with information about Japan, were relayed to the West.
Nagasaki City is in the process of restoring Dejima to its 19th century state. Foundation stones, stone-walls and many other remains were excavated and some are exhibited inside the reconstructed buildings. Other exhibitions, including the history of Dejima and Western learning and a miniature Dejima, shows what everyday life on Dejima was like.
We arrived back at the ship at 12.30 and enjoyed a lovely lunch (fish & chips & mushy peas and apple crumble with custard and ice cream) sitting in the Lido Café overlooking the beautiful harbour and up to the hills.
After lunch we joined a walking tour to the Glover Garden and Glover House. We climbed up a steep path and many stairs to reach the top. We enjoyed wandering through Glover Garden, which has been designated as an Important Cultural Asset. We saw some of the traditional homes built for British merchants, including the oldest wooden Western-style home in Japan, built in 1863 by the Scottish merchant Thomas Glover, who exerted a strong influence on the industrialisation of Japan. Nagasaki then was vibrant with the energy of people looking toward a new dawn for Japan. There were merchants from across the seas, pursuing dreams of fortune; the revolutionaries seeking to end the Shogunate; and the youth of Japan eager to study the West. Over a century later, the memories of Glover’s life in those days remain untouched, along with the homes of the merchants who lived in Nagasaki and loved the city.
The garden had several old buildings, lots of flowers, water features and a stunning view of Nagasaki Harbour and Port, including a lovely view of the Caledonian Sky.
We walked slowly back to the ship on our own and arrived at about 3.30pm, stopping at the port shop to purchase some hand-made souvenirs, before boarding our ship.
At 4.00pm we were treated to a Port Leaving Ceremony of Children’s Dance Performance by children from Oura Nursery School, aged 4, 5 and 6 years old. They were absolutely delightful and had obviously been practicing very hard – we were told they have been waiting very excitedly for our ship to come so that they could perform for us. They waved us off as the ship sailed away from this beautiful city. At 4.30pm we went up to the Panorama Deck for a sail-away afternoon tea party out in the sunshine.
The weather has been perfect and we both loved Nagasaki – with a population of only 450,000 people it has been a lot less crowded and the whole city just had a lovely feel to it.
We met our little group of about 10 at 6.30pm in the lounge for pre-dinner drinks and a port talk abut tomorrow and the next day and then went down to the dining room at 7.30pm for a delicious dinner with Alison, Nic and David from Wodonga – we met them in Singapore Airport while we were waiting for the flight to Osaka – and another nice couple. They are lovely and we always have a few laughs.
Tonight we are sailing across the Korea Strait between Japan and South Korea and further north on the Sea of Japan.


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