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The historic city of Nagasaki was for a long time the only point of contact between the west and Japan. Today it is most associated with the atomic bomb which was dropped on it at the end of WW II. The irony remains that one of the first cities to open its doors to western influence and technology will forever be linked to one of the most terrible manifestations of that technology.

Nagasaki Peace Park

Today Nagasaki is home to half a million who live on the steep hills surrounding the deep-water harbour. It has an exotic history - indeed during the Edo period it was the only Japanese city open to the outside world. It now boasts a thriving Chinatown as well as many other foreign influences which make this city a must-see for any serious traveller within Japan.

Many sights in the city remain to remind us of the explosion on 9 August 1945. A visit to the atomic bomb site in Urakami, the Cathedral, The Hypocentre park and the Atomic Bomb Museum will leave most visitors shaken. The role of Nagasaki as the main point for international contacts can be seen at different locations. Chinatown gives an insight into the role of Chinese traders, the Dejima Museum, Dutch Slopes and Nagasaki Holland Village celebrate the role of the Dutch. Glover Garden is the area where businessmen established themselves in the 19th and 20th century. The whole Garden is much like a Japanese Disneyland, but there are many interesting houses from the Meiji period and the gardens are well worth visiting.

For those in search of traditional Japanese culture, main sights are the Fukusai-ji, Shofuku-ji, Kofuku-ji and Sofuku-ji temples as well as the row of temples between the Sofuku and Kofuku-ji. Parallel to the temple row is the Nakajimagawa stream which is covered by a number of bridges.

The Maruyama area is the place to head for at night. It has been the main entertainment area of Nagasaki for centuries and still has the best nighlife. A few historic brothel buildings still stand e.g. Kagetsu now a hotel.

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