Nagasaki, a strategic port city on the island of Kyushsu, is most well known for being the site of the second atomic bomb to be launched on Japan after Hiroshima. Less well know however, is the fact that Nagasaki was linked to the Netherlands in the days of old, as the Dutch were the only Westerners allowed to trade with Japan in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Huis Ten Bosch
As a result of Japan’s history with the Netherlands, there are signs of Dutch influence all over Nagasaki, particularly at Huis Ten Bosch. The site is a self styled open air museum that has full scale models of the houses built here by the Dutch during the Dutch Golden Age and you can also see towers, a city hall, canal houses, old fashioned mills, and other curiosities that will make you feel as if you are in the Netherlands instead of in Japan.
40,000 people were killed immediately by the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki 3 days after the bomb on Hiroshima. The Peace Park stands on the place where the bomb flattened the ground in Nagasaki, and there is also a museum with a gallery of photographs and exhibits from the era. It can be a moving visit and if you are interested in the history of the Second World War and have also visited Hiroshima then this is a worthy stop.
Nagasaki is not everyone’s top pick on a trip to Japan but it is an interesting and quirky city that has some diverse history lesson for those who seek them out. If you come here you can learn about distinct periods in Japan’s history, from its 17th century trade agreements with the Netherlands to its dark days during the Second World War.