Nagasaki

The family woke up just in time to enjoy the hotel’s continental breakfast before it closed at 9 am as well as to check out by 10. I was pretty sure what the hotel’s attitude would be about late check out without even asking. We walked to Nagasaki Station to stash our overnight bags in a locker as well, and then boarded the trolley for Nagasaki’s Peace Park.

We saw the stairs which led up to the Peace Park as we rounded the corner from the trolley stop, but decided to first walk to the bomb’s epicenter, which was a short distance to the south of the park. There, they had erected black stone monolith to mark the spot over which the atomic bomb had exploded on August 9th, 1945. “Hypocenter Park” also contained a surviving column from Urakami Cathedral, an Eastern Orthodox church that was completely destroyed by the blast. The column contained carvings of Jesus and his disciples, looking eerily sad as they looked down upon the site of the explosion. Another feature of the park was a large statue of a woman comforting her infant. However, instead of being a representation of something that happened that terrible day, the statue was meant to convey Japan as the child and the nations which came to her aid as the mother. It was a surprising depiction of a country which had been known throughout history for its seclusion from foreigners.

While Nagasaki’s Peace Museum lay a bit further to the south, we decided that we had seen enough misery at the corresponding museum in Hiroshima, and therefore headed back toward the Peace Park that we had passed. There, we saw the most famous statue in Nagasaki, the pale blue Peace Statue of a seated man with one outstretched arm, which symbolized peace, as well as one raised arm- pointing to the continued threat of nuclear weapons. There was also a beautiful fountain in the park, which we walked past as we headed to the stairs which we had seen from near the trolley stop.

Back at Nagasaki Station, we ate lunch at Saizeriya, the Italian chain that we had become acquainted with in Japan. After collecting our luggage from the lockers, we walked across the street to the bus station and caught a 1:30 bus to Nagasaki Airport. Even though our flight did not leave until 4:50, the family was done sightseeing and figured that, in this case, getting to the airport earlier than usual did not hurt. The trip to the airport took about 45 minutes since it was built on the far side of the bay from Nagasaki itself. Like Kansai airport in Osaka, it was built on a small strip of land which had been reclaimed from the surrounding bay.

As I checked in for our flight, I noticed that an earlier flight to Osaka was leaving in 20 minutes, so I asked if it was too late to switch to this one. They said that we still could, so we hurried to the gate as they began boarding our flight. As the plane took off, we were treated to a pilot’s eye view of take off from Nagasaki on the large movie screen in the front of the plane, the first time that I had ever seen this done. I morbidly wondered if they would suddenly cut the camera if the pilot made a mistake or if the plane suddenly plummeted to ground. Of course, neither of these things happened, and one hour later, on our approach to Osaka, the camera was switched on again and we were able to watch the plane land. Since this was a domestic flight, we had flown into Osaka’s Itami airport, which was only a 10 minute monorail ride from our house, rather than the 90 minute bus or train ride to Kanku airport.

We arrived home from our 9,000 mile trip at 4:30 pm on the 22nd day of our travels.

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