Nagasaki with kids was the third day of our one-week road trip to Kyushu. Nagasaki a city in Kyushu with about 410,000 people is a lovely ocean site city with old elements of Nagasaki and a traumatic history. We left Saga in the early morning and drove about one hour down the Ariake Bay which is adorable with little bay towns and the cutest fruit shaped bus stops! We loved the history, food and sweets of Nagasaki, and believe you will as well. Before you go on your Kyushu road trip download and printout this Kyushu Tourism map PDF and Kyushu driving map PDF. Also check out our packing recommendations for your Family Road Trip.
Kyushu with Kids Road Trip
Day 3 – Nagasaki with Kids
Things to do in Nagasaki with Kids
- Drive down the Ariake Bay and visit the Oouo Toriis
- Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium
- Basilica of the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs of Japan and Ōura Church
- Glover Garden
- Sōfuku-ji Temple
- Nagasaki China Town
- Nagasaki Dejima
- Gunkanjima Musuem
- Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
- Nagasaki Bomb Park and HypoCenter
- ANA Crown Plaza Hotel
One Day Itinerary for Nagasaki with Kids – Kyushu One Week Road Trip
* 10 minute walk from Tara Station on the JR Nagasaki Line
We visited the Oouo Shrine where three torii gates float in the shallow area of the Ariake Sea (Taracho, Saga Prefecture). This area has a 6 meter tide difference so best to visit at high tide. At low tide you can walk through the torii gates and pray for the ocean. The town holds the Yukino Lantern Festival lighting 500 lanterns in August – a beautiful sight. Low or high tide is a great time to visit. Tide level chart (in Japanese).
Address: 1875-51 Tara, Tara-cho, Fujitsu-gun, Saga Prefecture
Access: 10 minute walk from Tara Station on the JR Nagasaki Line
Fruit-Shaped Bus Stops
* Found in Konagai along National Route 207
Konagai is a small coastal town in Nagasaki Prefecture with a line of adorable bus stops shaped like five different fruits: orange, strawberry, tomato, watermelon, and muskmelon that runs southwards along National Route 207. These fun bus stops were originally built for the 1990 Travel Expo in order to attract visitors arriving from various location and continue to be a local tourist attraction in the region. We LOVED the fruit cute and spruced many elderly bus rides with the joy we had jumping out for photos! These are brilliant.
Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium
* Located about a 30 min drive from downtown Nagasaki center.
This spot is perfect for penguin lovers. You can see over 200 penguins of 9 different species here as well as the world’s larger freshwater fish from the Mekong River, and hundreds of other marine life. If you visit on a weekend/national holiday you can watch the Penguins waddle down to the beach or experience feeding the penguins.
Address: 3-16 Shuku-machi, Nagasaki City (google maps)
Hours: Open everyday 9:00 – 17:00
Admission Cost: 520 yen per for High School age and above, ages 3- junior High 310 yen
Parking: two large public parking areas near the aquarium 200 yen for one hour
Basilica of the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs of Japan and Ōura Church
* Located about a 30 min drive from Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium.
Nagasaki was the place where Christianity entered Japan. The Oura Cathedral but in 1864 is the oldest surviving wooden church in Japan. It was built by French miscarries and decdicate to the 26 martyrs executed on Nishizaka Hill. The church has been designated as a Japanese national treasure. The main monument has a beautiful bronze display depicting the Twenty-Six Martyrs killed in 1597. Every year from 1629 to 1857, Nagasaki residents were forced to go through a ritual of stepping on bronze images of Christ or Mary to prove they were not Christians. On June 30, 2018 Ōura Cathedral, along with 11 other sites linked to Catholic persecution in Japan, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Address: 5-3 Minamiyamatemachi, Nagasaki (Google map)
Admission Cost: adults 1,000 yen, HS 500, Junior HS 300 yen and Elementary 200 yen, 5 and under free.
Parking: coin public parking in around the neighborhood
* 10 min walk uphill from Oura Church
Glover Garden is an open air museum that sits on the Minami-Yamate hillside overlooking Nagasaki harbor. The Garden exhibits several of the city’s former foreign residents homes and related buildings. The main attraction is the Former Glover House (currently under renovations post earthquake), the oldest Western-style House in Japan. Thomas Glover (1838-1911) was a Scottish merchant who moved to Nagasaki after the opening of its port to foreign trade in 1859. He later assisted some of the revolutionaries who would eventually overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate in the Meiji Restoration. He also help start the Japan Brewery Association and his mustache is the mustache on the Kirin Beer Lion.
Something fun girls can try is dressing up with dresses from that period, 1,000 JPY for 30 minutes.
Address: 8-1 Minamiyamate-machi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki-ken (Google map)
Hours: everyday 8:00 -18:00
Admission: 620 yen for adults, 320 yen for High School Students and 180 yen for Junior High and younger
* Glover Garden to Gunkajima Digital Musuem 5 minutes on foot
If you have time to take the Gunkanjima boat ride and tour, make sure to check out the Gunkanjima Museum (軍艦島デジタルミュージアム). The Gunkajima Digital Museum gives an overview of the challenges of living on the densely populated Hashima Island (Battleship Island) through VR and digital videos. The second floor gives a full length digital wall view of the island, Q&A on it’s history, view of life in an apt in Gunkajima and digital video of the tunnel to the coal mining site. The VR technology on the 3rd floor gives an aerial view of the buildings and island, and allows one to walk inside the ruins. The 4th floor holds a photo gallery, the Hashima Shrine and two rooms with Gansho souvenirs. Gansho-kun is the Gunkajima mascot created to resemble the brown rock of the island with the concrete buildings for a hat.
Address: 5-6, Matsugaemachi, Nagasaki city, Nagasaki (Google Maps)
Hours: Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (Final Admission at 16:30). Irregular holidays
Admission: Adult 1,800 yen; Student(Ages 13 to 18) 1,300 yen; Student(Ages 7 to 12) 800 yen; Child(Ages 3 to 6) 500 yen; Children(Ages 2 and under) Free
* 5 min drive from Glover Garden
Sōfuku-ji was built by a Chinese monk in 1629 as a family temple for the Chinese from Fujian Provence who settled in Nagasaki on the Chinese Island. The red entrance gate and other structures are rare examples in Japan of South China architecture from the Ming Dynasty.
Address: 7-5 Kajiyamachi, Nagasaki (Google map)
Hours: 8:00 – 17:00
Admission: 300 yen for adults
* Glover Garden to Nagasaki Chinatown (12 minutes on foot / 3 stops on the Nagasaki Denki No. 5 Trolley Car 130 JPY)
Nagasaki Chinatown is the oldest and one of the three largest Chinatowns in Japan; the others are Yokohama Chinatown and Kobe Chinatown. No other Japanese city has experienced more Chinese influence and feels more Chinese that the Nagasaki Chinatown as it was the only “open port” to visit during Japan’s era of isolation. Nagasaki Chinatown is located close to Nagasaki’s “Ginza”, and walkable to Dejima which makes it easy to transition into the downtown area. Interesting note: The Chinese population in the 1960 lived on China Island which is the same landmass as China Town today, but is not surrounded by reclaimed land. Same with Dejima which was the Dutch Island and is also now landlocked. You can see both on this image.
Address: 10-13 Shinchimachi, Nagasaki, 850-0842
Hours: 10am – 9pm daily
Website: http://www.nagasaki-chinatown.com/ (in Japanese only)
* Nagasaki Chinatown to Nagasaki Dejima (5 minutes on foot)
Once an artificial island, harborside Dejima is a former Dutch trading post preserved as a historic district of reconstructed 17th-century warehouses and merchant homes. Dejima was a stand-alone island which is now landlocked. It as completed demolished in 1890, but excited in the 1970-80s and rebuild based documents found in Holland. Visitors explore the atmospheric pier and take in museum exhibits of period furnishings and nautical artifacts inside the clapboard Old Dejima Seminary. Souvenir shops and elegant cafes with an old-timey maritime European vibe dot the nearby canal. Dejima offers free tours every hour with iPads to see images of the old days. The tour guide was very accommodating with the kids, and it was a great experience.
Address: 6-1 Dejima-machi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki-ken (Google maps)
Hours: everyday 8:00 -21:00 (last entry 20:40)
Admission: 520 yen for adults, 200 yen for High School Students and 100 yen for Jr. High and Elementary School students, 5 and below free Website: https://nagasakidejima.jp/en/
* Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum ins a 15 min drive from Dejima
At 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was devastated by an atomic bomb dropped by the US Military. Apprixaitemky 40,000 people lost their lives and 25,000 were injured in the bomb blast. The prebomb populate of nagasaki in 1943 was 195,000 people, in 2020 the population is estimated to be 410,000 people. The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum explains in multi media exhibits about August 9th and the years following, as well as the deadliness of nuclear weapons. The exhibuts are realistic with photos of young children. My seven-year-old was very emotional and asked a lot of question after the visit. I don’t think I would recommend for kids yonder than 8 year.
Address: 7-8 Hirano-machi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki-ken
Hours: everyday 8:30 – 17:30 (admission until 17:00); May – Aug extended open hours until 18:30 (admission until 18:00); closed Dec 29-31
Admission: 200 yen for adults, 100 yen for all students
Nagasaki Bomb Park and HypoCenter
* 5 min walk from Nagasaki Bomb Park and HypoCenter
OOn August 9th, 1945, an atomic bomb detonated 500 meters above Matsuyama in Nagasaki City at 11:02 am. 2.5-kilometer radius near the hypocenter was utterly destroyed. Today the Park is a lush space surround by cherry blossoms. Visit and remember the souls lost to the bomb and vow not to repeat. A beautiful resting spot after an emotional visit to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.
ANA Crown Plaza Hotel
Great night in central Tokyo with free parking
Address: 1-18 Minamiyamatemachi Nagasaki-shi, 1, Nagasaki
One Day Itinerary for Nagasaki with Kids – Kyushu One Week Road Trip
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