Fukuoka to Nagasaki: The Perfect Day Trip

Planning to Visit Nagasaki in Kyushu, Japan? If you’re traveling from Fukuoka to Nagasaki, this one-day travel guide will help you!

Getting from Fukuoka to Nagasaki

Take the Kamome Limited Express train from Hakata Station to Nagasaki. The one-way ticket costs ¥4,190 by unreserved seat or around ¥4,500 for a reserved seat. You can get a discount by buying a roundtrip ticket, or buying four tickets at a time (for example, round trip tickets for 2 people). There’s an even bigger discount for buying 10 tickets at a time, so you can save a lot if you have 5 people doing a round trip. There are one or two trains running each hour; check the times on Hyperdia. The trip is also covered by both the Japan Rail Pass and the Kyushu Rail Pass.

Things to Do in Nagasaki

Nagasaki Peace Park

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From Nagasaki Station, take the street car to the Matsuyamamachi stop (10 minutes). You may want to buy a street car pass from the tourist office first; each tram rides cost ¥120 each while the pass costs ¥500 for the whole day. The Nagasaki Peace Park is very pleasant with colorful flowers in the spring, and there are even escalators from the street level up to the park. At the top, there are countless sculptures and memorials to the victims of the atomic bombing.

After seeing the Peace Park, walk to the Atomic Bomb Museum. Although somewhat less impressive than the one in Hiroshima, it is both informative and emotionally moving. Then stop by the Peace Memorial Hall, which reopened in March 2015 following construction.

Dejima

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Next take the Blue Tram Line 1 to Dejima, the former Dutch settlement in Nagasaki port. Dejima was a man-made island where the Dutch were segregated from the 1600s to mid-1800s. The land around Dejima has been reclaimed, so it is no longer an island, but there are many historical buildings and reconstructions with well-done exhibits depicting the history of Dejima and the daily life of those who lived there.

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The building interiors are well-decorated with exhibits and furniture. The souvenir store in the museum is nice, too. You can get lunch at the Turkish rice (a Nagasaki speciality) restaurant in a historical building near the exit of Dejima. If you walk through Dejima, you will exit near the Tsuki-Machi tram stop.

Glover Garden

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This is one of Nagasaki’s most popular sightseeing stops. The garden features many historical Western buildings, as well as some sculptures and garden features. To get here, take the Number 5 tram from Tsuki-Machi to Ouratenshudo-shita. It is located on the top of a hill where Westerners settled after the end of exclusion in the 19th century. Several of the buildings, however, have actually been transplanted from their original locations. There is a fancy moving-pathway ascent with great views of the city.

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Disappointing, however, is the condition of many of the buildings and exhibits, which are very deteriorated in some cases. Nevertheless, it is worth the time and ¥610 entrance fee to experience the beautiful panoramic views of Nagasaki and to learn about the history of several important Western families in Nagasaki. Don’t be fooled though—the large house that you arrive at after getting off the moving pathway is not Glover’s House, but rather the Former Mitsubishi Number 2 Dock House.

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Go up to the second floor for a great view of the garden and Nagasaki, but then move along because there’s really nothing else to see. The most interesting building is definitely Glover’s House further down the hill, which is thought to be part of the inspiration for the opera Madame Butterfly. The house also has attractive garden features and secret rooms that were used for secret meetings of anti-Shogun activists. You can exit Glover Garden through the Nagasaki Traditional Performing Arts Museum. On display are brightly-colored floats and dragons used for the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival. It’s free and an interesting short stop.

Inasa

Next, we recommend taking the street car back to Tsuki-Machi, where you can then transfer to the Blue Number 1 Line to Nagasaki Station. If you don’t have a street car pass, you’ll need to get a “norikae-ken” or transfer ticket. You can grab some dinner at or near the station (Amu Plaza has restaurants located on the top floor). Then take a bus to Mt. Inasa Ropeway Station. The buses are infrequent so you may want to ask at the tourist information center.

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Mt. Inasa is known as one of the top-three night views in all of Japan, so go after dark for the best views. You can print this coupon from their website for a slight discount. If you haven’t had dinner yet, you can treat yourself at the restaurant on the top of the observation deck. Most of the menu is not too overpriced, and you can try Nagasaki specialities like Chanpon, Saraudon, and Turkish rice.

Alternatively, if you like onsen, you can take a free shuttle bus from Nagasaki Station to the Fuku no Yu onsen on top of Mt. Inasa. You can relax in several indoor and outdoor baths while overlooking gorgeous night views of the city. There is also a package deal for the delicious buffet located on-site. It’s on a different part of the mountain than the ropeway, however.

Nagasaki Hotels

Now, you could go back to Fukuoka at the end of the day, but if you’d like to relax a little more you can spend the night in Nagasaki quite inexpensively. For basic Nagasaki hotels, Toyoko Inn has a location a short walk from the station with singles for ¥5,580 a night. Dormy Inn is another great business chain, with a free public bath.

If you’d rather have the social experience of a hostel, there is International Hostel AKARI for ¥2500 for the male dormitory and ¥2800 for the female dormitory. Another hostel is Casa Noda, which is new and has a very nice common area. However, the thin futon was quite uncomfortable for me personally. The owner is Korean and speaks good English. Dorm rooms are ¥2300 a night.

There are plenty of options for those willing to spend a bit more, such as Best Western Premium and Hotel Monterey. If you do spend the night, consider booking a morning tour for Gunkanjima before you head back to Fukuoka. Gunkanjima is an abandoned mining island that was featured in the James Bond movie “Skyfall.” The island is one of the highest rated attractions in Nagasaki, and will be of definite interest to history buffs and urban explorers.

We hope you enjoy your time in Nagasaki! It is a small but vibrant city with a very important place in history.