Cruises to Nagasaki

84 Reviews
Nagasaki (Photo:TOMO/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Nagasaki

This far west Japanese city of 450,000, a popular port city on cruises to Japan docking along Kyushu Island, has one of the most complex histories of any in Japan because of the early European influence that resulted in both positive and negative responses by the once-insular Japanese. The earliest contacts between Nagasaki and the West took place in 1543, when the Portuguese arrived, introducing the Japanese to guns and Catholicism. Next came the Spanish, followed by the Dutch. When Western religion came to be seen as a threat, the people of Nagasaki expelled the missionaries, and, in one famous incident in 1597, murdered some two dozen European and Japanese Christians. The Dutch, being Protestants -- and, more importantly, traders -- were allowed to retain a foothold on the nearby island of Dejima, even after foreign contact was banned altogether.

As the Dutch gained more influence, Western culture and science took hold in the city. In 1859, the city was officially reopened to the outside world. With the establishment of numerous industries, such as brewing and shipbuilding, Nagasaki became the most international city in Japan.

Gradually, the Japanese began to wrest control of these industries from the Western ex-patriots. And, it was Nagasaki's strategically important shipbuilding industry that made the city a target in World War II. On August 9, 1945, the Americans dropped a plutonium A-bomb on the city, three days after the one at Hiroshima.

Today's tourists will find a completely rebuilt city. Although many come to see the Atomic Bomb Museum, the city has much more to offer, including remains of European influence in Glover Garden, two Catholic churches, shrines and temples dotting the hillsides and a thriving and walkable Japanese city center that is close to where the ships dock.

Nagasaki is quite an attractive city, set on a plain between the active harbor and a backdrop of mountains. Where industry does not intrude, the city has developed attractive park promenades -- perfect for a quiet stroll and an escape from the urban hustle and bustle. The city's largely linear layout makes it easy to navigate, and it's well worth exploring the city on your own. The efficient tram system will take you anywhere you want to go.

  • More about Nagasaki

  • Why Cruise to Nagasaki?

  • Nagasaki Cruise Port Facilities?

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607 Reviews
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264 Reviews
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Hong Kong, Japan & Vietnam

1,741 Reviews
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More about Nagasaki

Why Cruise to Nagasaki?

Pros:

Cruises dock just a short walk from shops, restaurants, panoramic city views and attractions

Cons:

The Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum are upriver and so a private taxi or tour is needed

Bottom Line:

Modern port facilities and an impressive approach through a fjord-like channel

Nagasaki Cruise Port Facilities?

The pier itself offers no services. Cruise-ship passengers can easily walk from here to the entrance to Glover Garden (10 minutes), the tram 5 stop or the waterfront promenade.

Good to Know?

The Japanese drive on the left side of the road, like the British, so be careful when crossing the street. Drivers tend to be polite to pedestrians at intersections.

Getting Around?

On Foot: Most of Nagasaki's tourist attractions are within a 20-minute walk of the port.



By Tram: The city's tram lines are easy to navigate, even for people who don't typically use public transportation at home. Board through any door, and pay the flat fare of 100 yen when you get off. There is also a 500-yen day pass, but most day visitors will not ride enough to make it worthwhile. The tram lines are numbered 1, 3, 4 and 5, and the stops are both numbered and written in English letters. The stop for tram 5 is just outside the wharf precinct and to the left, and you can get to most attractions in about five minutes. Tram lines 1 and 3 stop close to the Nagasaki Bomb Museum, a 15-minute ride from the city center. Buses supplement the trams, but they are harder to use.

By Taxi: Taxis are plentiful, cheap and metered. Drivers are usually very honest.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Japanese currency is the yen. The Japanese use credit cards far less than we do for small purchases, so you'll definitely want to take out yen at ATM machines found around the city, including at the post office where there's also a currency change counter. Additionally, you can get yen at offices of the financial institution called 18 Bank. Currency exchange onboard your cruise ship usually offers a poorer exchange rate.

Language?

The official language is Japanese. Younger Japanese men and women are more likely to speak English than the older generations. Signs written out in the English alphabet are incredibly helpful for finding your way.

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ships dock at Matsugae Pier in a very convenient location, adjacent to the city center.


Nagasaki Cruise Reviews
Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park were great. Must see if you visit Japan. Read More
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Tony SA
We spent the day pampering ourselves, first at a massage studio and then at a traditional Japanese onsen (which is a hot springs). Read More
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DCGuy64
Nagasaki city is easy walking distance from the port and a one day tram pass costs just 500 Yen. There is plenty to see and do in the city and the sites are easy to reach by tram. The shipyard where the Diamond and SRead More
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Sussex Duo
Visited the Atomic Bomb Museum. Very moving.Read More
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fsw92677

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