Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Peace Park

Thursday morning we headed out for coffee and realised that Abby needed to go back to bed. She was achy and had a bad headache. Finn made the decision he was not up for atomic bomb history and museums. So Super Sake Boy dropped Abby home and Finn went off exploring downtown. Super Sake Boy, Mya, Ewan and I jumped on a tram. Nagasaki trams are so cute, very decorated and retro and very convenient.

We jumped off the tram at the Peace Park. The difference between Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s memorials was immediately evident. Many people visit Hiroshima. It’s on Honshu, the main island, and is much more accessible than Nagasaki. So, vast amounts of money have been spent at Hiroshima. Nagasaki is much more understated. It is situated on Kyushu, the third largest island in the archipelago. The site itself is much smaller and less well maintained. My initial observation of the area was, in fact, I learned as we read about Fat Man and Little Boy, reflected in the difference of the impact of the bombs themselves. Two very different bombs with vastly different mechanisms and therefore very different outcomes.

The entrance to the Peace Park had two surprising things… one was an outdoor escalator up to the park, the other the entrance/exit points of the bomb shelters used during the war. We went up the escalators and found ourselves in a large open space with a big fountain and an even bigger statue. The park is very much smaller than the very manicured one in Hiroshima and there was a lot less English translation. We walked through the park and down to “ground zero”. This display, of an untouched area near the hypo centre of the bomb, was eerie and very sad. Remnants of peoples lives completely obliterated.

We continued on to the Museum. A very different display, again, but very interesting and an excellent timeline showing the events leading up to the bombings of both cities. August 6 for Hiroshima and August 9 for Nagasaki. Reading the timeline was infuriating. There was so much opportunity for these abhorrent events to be averted. Mya was getting very angry and it was the first time I had really understood the events leading up to the bombs being dropped. Totally unnecessary, totally horrific and so cruel. Also, not justifiable, in my opinion.

After the museum we regrouped with the others and went to get lunch. The weather had cleared up and we decided to check out Glover’s Garden. A collection of historic European houses, many of which were moved to the current site. The first thing that shocked us was another outdoor escalator, although this one was completely outdoors, with no covering, no roof, just in the middle of the garden. We went up one escalator and then paid to get in, only to find several more escalators ahead, the first with a turtle sitting at the bottom. Not expecting to see a turtle we were unsure if it was real, until it moved, and shocked everyone. It was very cute. Glover Garden is an amazing place, an open-air museum, with many European homes relocated and placed around the home of Thomas Glover, a Scottish entrepreneur, who lived in Nagasaki from 1859. Many of the homes have been set up as they would have been. There are still some under reconstruction and some are very basic inside. The amount of English descriptions of things was very minimal and the humidity was very high, so we didn’t spend a huge amount of time here, but it was definitely worth a look.  

We headed back and had a very delicious Indian meal near Nagasaki station, and Mya, Finn and Abby decided to call it a night. We had been busy and everyone was a bit worn down by the walking, the humidity and travelling in general. Never one to miss an opportunity, Super Sake Boy, Ewan and I headed out again on a night time adventure to the Nagasaki Ropeway, which goes steeply up Inasayama (Mount Inasa) to 333 metres above Nagasaki, with a 360 degree view of the city from the Observatory. It was a little difficult to find, down a backstreet and then through a shrine, but the view was great and the cable car ride itself was pretty fun. The cable car goes over the top of a residential area on a pretty spectacular angle. After appreciating the view for a bit, we headed home and made sure everyone was packed and ready to return to Tokyo the following morning. We had really enjoyed spending some time in Nagasaki, it is certainly a unique part of Japan, and different to any other place we had stayed before.

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