3 days in and around Nagasaki
We woke up with the sun shining from a clear blue sky. The marina office was supposed to open at 09 and Kalle and Lars went there to fill in all of the paperwork. It hadn´t yet opened and they decided to do some repair job while waiting, meanwhile I spent a few hours reading in the sun. A couple of hours later we were told that the office was closed on Tuesdays. Nothing else to do than try to get in to town for some sightseeing. We managed to catch a bus that took us all the way to Nagasaki Station. After eating some great Indian lunch we walked towards the harbour. We arrived in Dejima Wharf, a row of Dutch-like buildings next to the harbour. We decided to go see the reconstructed Dejima. Between 1641-1850s this 15,000 m2 island was the only place foreigners and foreign trading was allowed in all of Japan. Here, some of the buildings have been reconstructed and work as a museum were we spent an hour or so. After some walking around in the surroundings, we took the bus back to the boat and had dinner there.
We were prepared for some bad weather today, but the wind (40 knots) and rain we woke up to today were worse… after filling out the paperwork in the office we got dressed in all of our rain gear and took the bus in to town. Thankfully the weather got a bit better on the way in to town. We got to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum after lunch. The museum was a great mix of objects, pictures, movies and technical information about the bomb as well as information of circumstances leading up to the bombing. It felt like a couple of well spent hours that created a lot of thoughts and I believe we all felt a bit uncomfortable and filled with different feelings after the visit. We took the tram to a Zen-Buddhist temple where we could have some change in thoughts. Kofukiji Temple is the oldest in Nagasaki, opened in 1620. On our way back to the city harbour we walked through China Town and ended up in the Dejima Wharf once again. We had some early dinner to be able to rent a car before the car rental closed at 20. We managed to get our third rental car of the trip (all depending on Kalles international driving licence). This time a real Japanese ridiculous “box car” = seems like the most common car in japan, looking just like a box.
The destination for today was Unzen. A small village on the side of the mountain with the same name, famous for its volcanic activity showed in onsens (Japanese natural hot springs). Mount Unzen had its latest eruption 1990 which lasted for five years. It took about 1,5 hours to drive there and we drove through some small towns seeming to exist only of fast food restaurants and tire shops. After leaving the highway and heading up for the mountain the view changed and we saw some beautiful nature. Once in Unzen we parked the car and walked around past the hot springs which were bubbling, egg fart smelling and leaking lots of screaming steam in big clouds (the screaming was back in the day thought to be the sound of devils in the underground). We found a public spa were we could take a bath in an inside-onsen. It was separated for women and men so we had to split up. The water was so warm it took a few minutes to get the entire body into the bath, but once there it was an amazing feeling. I was alone in mine, while Lars and Kalle shared their bath with a Japanese man who showed them the correct way of using an onsen. Because of the temperature we had enough after a while. Our soft and relaxed bodies took their seats in the car and we continued our drive up the mountain. The clouds were low and covered the entire top of the mountain completely. Not much of a view from there. We changed our destination to a small castle town at the bottom of the mountain; Shimabara. We entered the Shimabara Castle, used from the 1660s. This was rebuilt in its former shape in 1964, today serving as a museum of the Christian uprising showing samurai armour, arms and other items. After successfully returning our little box car in Nagasaki, we took the bus back to the marina. The restaurant at the marina seemed to be opened so we popped in and asked. There were four girls in the lobby looking a bit confused by our question. They called someone and then we were accepted to take the elevator to the second floor. There was only one couple sitting in the restaurant and it looked like the room was prepared for a wedding. We were recommended different menus from four to six courses. We told the cook, who interpreted for the rest of the staff, that we only wished to eat a main course. They all seemed confused by this and asked a couple of times what we wanted to do after the main course. We tried to make ourselves as clear as we could. After a while the staff came with three plates with starters and tried to explain something that we didn’t understand. After this they came with new plates, this time soup. Now we were the ones who were confused! This was followed by our actual main courses that we had ordered. Everything tasted fantastic and the restaurant was beautiful. When the bill came we were all curious how much it had cost us. Imagine our surprise when they only charged us the main courses!