A trip to Nagasaki is for the most part a trip down memory lane. Memories from the glorious trading days of the 17th century and the foreign settlements left as a result. Memories of a city in ruins, the people who perished, and those that survived to rebuild the beautiful port city that Nagasaki is today. These two themes are enough to keep you busy in the city, yet, there is always time and options to get off the beaten path, enjoy a good meal by the water, see the city lights from higher ground, then finish with a drink in the company of locals.
Join the Locals at the Street Market of Siebold Dori
If you want to get a feel for how locals go about their daily life, Siebold Dori provides a good setting. Less known to tourist, this shopping area in the Shindaiku-machi district hosts various seafood and fresh produce stands spilling out onto the streets. You don’t need to spend the whole morning here, but a leisure stroll will add a local flavour to your Nagasaki experience. From here you can head over to the Suwa Shrine only a short distance away.
Market of Siebold Dori
Shop for Omiyage in Hamamachi
Hamamachi Shopping Arcade is Nagasaki’s biggest shopping street, and is packed with confectionary shops, clothing stores, and a good range of restaurants. It is a good alternative for those wanting to add omiyage shopping to their travel itinerary without getting too far from the historic sights of the city centre. Hamamachi runs parallel to the Nakashima River and is only a short walk away from Megane Bridge. Store hours vary but are typically from 11am to 9pm. If you are lucky you might be able to catch one of the city’s traditional street festival held here during the year.
Hamamachi Shopping Arcade
Dinner at sunset at Dejima Wharf
As a well-respected port city, Nagasaki is not left without its entertainment area by the harbour. Although the Dejima Wharf is small and lacking some local feel, it does provide a variety of Western food, Japanese seafood, and a couple of bars with livelier entertainment going into the night. It is perfect for enjoying fresh seafood and a few drinks while watching the sun come down over the city. http://dejimawharf.com/provides a listing of stores in the area.
Ride the Ropeway to Mount Inasa
When the sun comes down in Nagasaki, one of the best places to be at is the observation deck at Mount Inasa. From here, you can witness one of the best night skylines in the world and one of the top reasons why people come to the city. You can reach the top via different means, including a long walk, tour buses, or driving. Another option, and the one which we recommend, is riding up the Mount Inasa ropeway. The ride up in the cable car is quick, affordable, and more picturesque than the rest. The ride takes five minutes and costs 720 yen one-way or 1230 yen round trip.
Ride the Ropeway to Mount Inasa
Drinks at Shianbashi
One of the best places to connect with locals in Nagasaki is at the bars. And if you want the most vibrant night scene in the city then you must head over to Shianbashi. Its alleyways are filled with small drinking establishments, with the same tourist-friendly atmosphere you find throughout the city. We recommend “Ground First” International Bar (aka Megumi’s Bar). The owner Megumi and her friends all speak English and love a good chat with foreign visitors.
Ground First International Bar (aka Megumi’s Bar).