Monday, 28 March 2016

Japan - Nagasaki

After the overnight cruise from Busan in Korea on Friday evening we docked in the port of Nagasaki, Japan. The city is famous for being the second city (after Hiroshima) to be destroyed by an atomic bomb on August 9th 1945.

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Today Nagasaki is a modern thriving city but the legacy of the devastation from the bomb is clearly not forgotten. The city is also important as, during the period of Japan’s national isolation, it was the only port remaining open to the outside world.

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The plan for our day in Nagasaki was to explore the areas now dedicated to the memories of that day in August 1945 when almost 150,000 people were killed or seriously injured. We were accompanied by two of our table guests, Brian and Carol, for the visit to the memorials -the steps leading up to the Peace Park are immaculately planted with pansies.

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The Fountain of Peace represents the offering of water in memory of the thousands of people who suffered terrible burns and died begging for water after the bomb exploded.

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The fountain is shaped to represent the wings of the dove of peace.

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Further on from the Fountain of Peace we entered the Peace Park.

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The Peace Park is constructed on the site of Nagasaki Prison which was completely destroyed - the foundations of which have been partly preserved.

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Part of the prison’s surrounding wall also survived.

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At the far end of the Peace Park is the 30 ft high Peace Statue. The man’s upstretched arm points to the threat of nuclear weapons and his outstretched arm symbolises peace.

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The statue is set in a “lake” of mirrored water held in polished black marble.

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From the Peace Park we could see the Urakami Cathedral, built in 1955, it replaces the one destroyed by the bomb in 1945.

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After the Peace Park we took a walk ‘off the beaten tourist track’ and found a very quaint little bar for tea and coffee. It was a work of art by the café owner who ground coffee beans, warmed tea cups, set two Monkey nuts each in little dishes for the coffee drinkers and then got his wife to serve us with much bowing taking place from all of us. A great moment as we sat on our little chairs ……..

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……. in this very lovely little café. Carol isn’t very tall and she only just made it through the door – James wasn’t quite on his knees though!

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Our next stop was the Atomic Bomb Museum.

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The museum held much to provoke your thoughts and feelings. This clock was found in the ruins of a house 800 metres from the blast hypocenter. It’s hands stopped at 11:02 – the moment of the explosion.

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Twisted metal girders from one of the bridges over the river.

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This reconstruction of the entrance to the Urakami Cathedral uses the remains of the arch and the blackened statues which stood each side of the doorway. The cathedral stood 500 metres from the blast hypocenter and all but this entrance arch was completed destroyed.

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The museum houses a life size replica of “Fat Man” – the nickname given to the (plutonium) atomic bomb dropped by the US Air force B29 bomber “Bockscar” which killed or injured over half Nagasaki’s population of 240,000 people.

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Just a short walk from the Atomic Bomb Museum is the site of the blast Hypocenter.  Very peaceful now, with the cherry blossom just beginning to show, this place was at the centre of the bomb blast equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT.

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At the hypocenter itself, where the bomb exploded 500 meters above, is a polished black marble obelisk and a casket containing the names of all bomb victims.

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Just to say we were there.

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After our very emotional and thought provoking tour of Nagasaki’s memories of that fateful day in 1945 we said goodbye to Brian and Carol so we could all ‘do’ our own thing for the rest of the day. Thanks to you both for a great few hours together. We decided to take a trip up the Nagasaki Ropeway.

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The five minute cable car ride takes you over the tops of houses and forest areas to the top of Mount Inasa.

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From the top of the mountain you can see Nagasaki in all it’s modern glory nestling in the Urakami River valley. This photo is taken nearly 500 meters high which is the same height that the bomb exploded above the city in the centre of this view. You can see the Peace Park (tree lined) at the centre of the photo with the bomb museum (red building) to the right.

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Nagasaki is situated on Japan’s third largest island of Kyushu and from the top of Mt Inasa the sea was visible on both sides.

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The Uramaki River widens out as it enters Nagasaki Bay. “Arcadia” is berthed just to the right of centre.

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Panorama view of Nagasaki.

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“Arcadia” - a close up of our “home” for the next six weeks …………….

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……….. and a view looking west from Mt Inasa showing the wonderful archipelago making up this far south end of Japan.

Nagasaki was an awesome experience for us and something we’d not really ever thought we’d see. It’s a memory that will last forever and our first taste of Japan is one of cleanliness and perfection wherever you look. The people are so friendly and respectful and we haven’t yet seen a dirty car! 

1 comment:

  1. I am with you every step of the way, James and Doug and loving every minute of it. Keep the tales coming. Jennie, nb Tentatrice

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