From Osaka, it is about 3 hours to Hakata on the Shinkansen (bullet train).
Between train rides, we had some time to pick up something for lunch so we got some musubi and chips from Nonobudou.
They were making their musubi on the spot so everything was still warm when we ate them.
The chips are super thick and crunchy. Perfect snack food.
My musubi was filled with fried chicken and a sweet-salty soy sauce. So good!
We decided to also pick up some souvenir food items from Hakata, like this, Hiyoko, a cute little chick shaped sweet, that was filled with a seasonal strawberry and white bean paste.
And this snack called "Menbei" (mentaiko (spicy pollack roe) + senbei (cracker)).
My only peeve is that I've been noticing that a lot of these sweets and snacks (especially the ones sold near the registers of the supermarkets and in these souvenir areas) are starting to use artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, sucralose.
Both of these had sorbitol in them....blah! Sad since Hiyoko has been around since 1912!
Maybe they've been using artificial sweeteners all along, and I've only noticed it recently? I'd like to shout out to them and ask them to "stop it"!
After transferring to another train line, it was about 2 hours to Nagasaki.
We got some maps, directions and dropped off our bags. And then we caught the bus up to Kazagashira Park. One thing you'll notice right away are all the hills! At times inside the bus it felt like driving the hills in San Francisco or on Wilhelmina Rise in Hawaii.
Near the entrance of the park is a tiny building where they make kites. In Japanese the word for kite is "tako" but in Nagasaki, the word for kite is "hata" what most Japanese know as "flag".
If you have some time and are interested in making your own kite, you can learn from Mr Ogawa for a small fee.
You can see some of the kites that we saw, here.
The Ryoma Sakamoto statue is huge! He was quite prominent in the overthrow of the Shogunate. You can read more about him here.
While making our way down the hills, there were many stairs, narrow passageways.
The views are beautiful, but the stairs and hills do take its toll on your feet!
Since the weather was forecast to turn ugly the next day we decided to see as much as we could.
The Spectacles bridge, built in 1634 is the oldest arch shaped stone bridge in Japan.
Hollander Slope, most westerners seen around Nagasaki during the late Edo period to Meiji period were all assumed to be Dutch, since they were seen going up and down this slope to and from their housing areas, this slope was soon called "Hollander Slope".
As the sun began to set, we decided to check-in at our hotel and head out to see the city lights from Mount Inasa.
The hotel staff working when we checked-in explained that there were many tour groups that go up to see the lights, so if we didn't want to feel "crowded", we should try to go before all the them.
Since it is winter, the sun sets quite early, so we dropped our things off at the room and caught the city bus to the ropeway.
It was a bit confusing finding the ropeway itself, but we and many other people eventually found it.
Round trip was about 1230 yen for the ropeway. The gondola wasn't too crammed but at the top there were tons of people trying to get their picture with the city lights.
If you have some time to look at your feet, you may find a heart. Apparently they have these all around Nagasaki city. We came upon this one by chance as we were leaving Mount Inasa.
We were famished and decided to look for something for dinner. We got a bit side tracked when I spotted this nikuman shop, Momotaro. Buns filled with pork and some green onion that are steamed.
At 80 yen a piece they were the perfect pre-dinner snack!
We walked through Hamamachi shopping arcade and decided to try Shisei.
First came the stuff that we didn't order...tsukidashi (amuse bouche) (chicken skins, some type of shellfish and sweet sour fish)
assorted plate of sashimi
buta kakuni (shoyu pork) so tender!
snapper with skin so crispy! served in a flavorful broth.
And some Nagasaki beef, grilled at our table.
Transportation around Nagasaki city is pretty easy and timely. There are city buses as well as low rail. Just be careful whenever crossing!
It was a full day, our feet were tired and we hoped that the weather would turn around the next day...
inside of Hakata Station wickets
Nagasaki city, Nagasaki
inside of Hamamachi arcade
Lunch: 11:30-14:00, Dinner: 17:00-22:00
Best Western Nagasaki
Nagasaki city, Nagasaki