Nagasaki

Nagasaki Travel Blog

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Nagasaki Station
Arrived in Nagasaki in the mid afternoon.  This, after attempting to get an early start to my day.  Apparently the shinkansen doesn't run in Kyushu; Hakata is as far as it goes.  You then have to transfer to a local express, which seems to take AGES after traveling at 285 kilometers per hour.  (Yes, 285.  Today's train was the first that advertised its speed mid-route.)

I then spent a delightful (read: miserable travel hell) hour trying to track down the "superbly equipped, fluent in English, wonderfully helpful" tourist information office as decreed by the guidebook.
Festive stairwell in the hostel
  Ordinarily I make a beeline for the tourist information office, swipe as many maps as they'll allow me, and head for the hostel.  However, seeing as I only booked this two nights ago, I didn't have directions at the ready to guide me (all the other directions have been printed way in advance from home pre-departure).  I didn't even have an address.  So rather than scrapping the tourist office and figuring they'd have maps at the hostel (as I've done a couple times), I had no idea WHERE this hostel was.

To give you a mental picture of this afternoon's debacle, it involved no fewer than SEVEN pedestrian walkways, all raised three flights of stairs above a very busy highway, and quite a few trips up and down these F'ing convenient little stairs, hauling the pack every step of the way.
One of MANY adorable bridges
  The guidebook made it sound simple enough: from the station, cross the pedestrian walkway and enter on the second floor.  My first thought was gee, WHICH walkway -- there are SEVEN!  But I managed to spot that only one had an exit on the second floor; all the others deposited you back on various sidewalks.  Turns out the tourist information center closed up shop a year ago, which I finally gleaned after wandering a weird/random kitschy store and being accosted by another well-meaning Japanese girl, who, while had the right intentions, kept insisting I board the tram (and even went so far as to walk me UP AND DOWN those BLOODY STAIRS more times than I cared for) and head straight for the Atomic Bomb Monuments.  And I was all oye, amiga, see the hippopotamus strapped to my back?  I'm not going ANYWHERE until I can dump this bugger off somewhere.
Kofuku ji
  It reached the point where I was seriously considering boarding another eternal local train back to Hakata and skipping Nagasaki after all.

As a last resort I went back to the station's own information office (I had been there initially and without any luck); although no English was spoken, I was finally able to communicate what I was looking for and happily one of the attendants had heard of the hostel.  She handed me a flyer and a map and off I went.  Easy as pie at that point.

My hostel is right on the smaller river that runs through Nagasaki, and is two blocks away from Temple Street.  So called because it is lined with over a dozen temples.  I visited the best-known (and closest!) temple first, one of the two that were constructed in the Chinese fashion and that bookend either end of the row of temples.
Kofuku ji
  It was charming and nice, and while I have no idea what Chinese architecture and temples are about, I was able to instantly recognize that this one was different than all those I've seen in the past few weeks, and in ways other than simply being that it was red.  I then walked along Temple Street, snapping photos here and there, and at the end ducked into their shopping district, at this point in another rabid and famished state.

Happily, I stumbled upon a nice grocery store as soon as I turned the corner.  I have GOT to stop going into grocery stores when I'm starving.  I come out with loads more food than I can eat (or carry, for that matter), and since everything is so cheap, I buy two of everything.  At least.  The final bill is never cheap.
Kofuku ji


From there, I hauled my loot through the shopping arcade looking for somewhere to eat.  The less that is said about dinner the better.  Suffice it to say I foolishly heeded the advice of the girl from earlier in the afternoon and the dudes at reception, all of whom hailed the local Chinese cuisine.  (Chinese temples, Chinese food, they even have a Chinatown -- this place is serious about their Chinese heritage.)  At first I scoffed and walked around trying to find someplace Japanese.  I should have stuck to that sentiment.  But instead, after finding only nice pricey places or fast food chains, I finally forfeited and popped into a Chinese restaurant next to my hostel (which came highly recommended, no less).  Ugh.  I ordered "champon," the local specialty, which is Chinese soup with everything and the kitchen sink in it.
Kofuku ji
  Literally.  There was so much crap piled in that soup it was revolting.  (Cabbage, seafood, the dregs of the bottom of the ocean, pork gristle, things that made pork gristle look appetizing -- you don't want to know.)  The noodles were ok and the broth was pretty good, but everything else was just downright gross.  It was a nice little sneak peek into what NOT to order in China.

Thankfully though, I have since consoled myself with the biggest mochi I've seen yet.  Snagged a whole bag of these tasty pieces of heaven in the grocery store, and had one as my dessert, along with the rest of my sake from last night.  YUM.  At least I was able to salvage something in the food department.  And on that note -- I have two HUMONGOUS (the biggest I've ever seen!) Asian pears to look forward to and an entire bunch of bananas.  Not to mention a fresh rice ball and some pickled veggies for train snacks tomorrow, so my stomach doesn't eat itself like it did today.  Big eyes, here I come!
Dr_Seuss says:
the hippopotamus strapped to my back LOL :-D

Know the feeling ;-)
Posted on: Oct 11, 2009
fransglobal says:
I never found the tourist office in Nagasaki either...
Posted on: Oct 10, 2009
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Nagasaki Station
Nagasaki Station
Festive stairwell in the hostel
Festive stairwell in the hostel
One of MANY adorable bridges
One of MANY adorable bridges
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji -- 400+ year old tree!
Kofuku ji -- 400+ year old tree!
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Kofuku ji
Along Temple Street
Along Temple Street
Along Temple Street
Along Temple Street
Along Temple Street
Along Temple Street
Along Temple Street
Along Temple Street
Tree made out of wine corks
Tree made out of wine corks
Along Temple Street
Along Temple Street
Sofuku ji
Sofuku ji
Sofuku ji
Sofuku ji
Sofuku ji
Sofuku ji
Sofuku ji
Sofuku ji
Sofuku ji
Sofuku ji
Some sort of black speckled ice cr…
Some sort of black speckled ice c…
Feeding the carp
Feeding the carp
Crap, cheesy, tourist trap that wa…
Crap, cheesy, tourist trap that w…
Champon. Gross.
Champon. Gross.
Nagasaki Hostels review
Nice Hostel in Nagasaki
The Akari Hostel has two main things going for it: friendly, helpful staff, and terrific location. Really a great location for temples, shopping, nig… read entire review
Nagasaki
photo by: bensonryan