For the New Year holiday, we decided on a trip to the island of Kyushu, in the southwest of Japan. Kyushu is the third-biggest of the Japanese islands, and one that we’d never been to before.
We started our trip in the northwest city of Nagasaki, probably best known as the city on which the second atomic bomb was dropped. Just like in Hiroshima, a wide area of the city was completely destroyed, and now the city has been rebuilt into a thriving area.
We visited the Peace Park and Museum on our first day and, much like in Hiroshima, it was very powerful. Nagasaki was the secondary target, and was only hit due to bad visibility in Kokura to the north.
To the south of the hypocenter was the island of Dejima in Nagasaki Bay, which for hundreds of years was the only land permitted to be used by foreign traders (first the Portuguese and secondly the Dutch) during Japan’s years of isolation. By restricting foreigners to this small island, the Shogun could constrain and control both trade and the spread of Christianity which the European missionaries were keen to promote.
Now, the island has become absorbed into the city as part of land reclamation, but in the past 20 years the city has been reconstructing buildings in their previous state. It’s a very interesting museum.
Round the corner from Dejima is Glover Garden. Built on a hill overlooking the Bay, this is a collection of western-style houses built by prominent British entrepreneurs at the end of the 19th century. With unmistakably western interiors, they provided a strange fusion of the two cultures.