NAGASAKI 3 DAYS
Have you ever been to Nagasaki? Nagasaki is famous for its historical background of their open foreign policy even during Edo’s seclusion period and the Peace Memorial Park. Nagasaki is one of the seven prefectures in Kyushu island along with Oita, Fukuoka, Saga, Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kagoshima.
This time, I would like to introduce you to a lesser-known, rural part of this prefecture and tell you more about the recommended top attractions we experienced during our Nagasaki trip.
We visited historical pottery town: Hasami-cho Nakamoyama area, scenic Kujūku islands (99 islands) sunset dinner cruise, Sasebo jazz night and breathtaking remote Ojika island. We were amazed with the spectacular sceneries, unique local crafts, delicious local cuisine, beautiful island life and more.
Table of Contents
After alighting at Nagasaki airport, we drove to a small town in the countryside, hidden between the mountains, Nakaoyama area in Hasami town. Nakaoyama used to be a leader in the production of everyday Hasami-yaki pottery in Japan and continues to be making ceramic ware to the present day.
At first glance, Nakaoyama might seem like just a simple village but with further inspection, you will be able to find the deep impact that this place has had on Japan.
Admiring the townscape, you can notice a lot of intriguing red-brick chimneys which stand out from coal-fired potteries. Nowadays, many are no longer in use, but they are preserved as scenic assets of the town. Let’s take a stroll around this area – fairly quiet, making for a great place to escape the crowds and soak up the atmosphere of old Japan and for sure will take you back in time.
Like the well-known Arita town, Hasami also has a long history of ceramic production that dates back to the Edo period (17th– mid 19th century) and specializes in manufacturing high-quality ceramics that is admired by everyone around the world.
People in Hasami established the mass-produce simple and functional pottery making process -separation of their work; designing, molding, doughing, firing and painting so that they are productive and affordable for all townsfolks. Hasami-yaki used to be best-selling product in Edo period around the country and eventually all over the world.
You can experience the panorama of the countryside of Hasami walking along the river running through the center of this small town. The ceramic ware tiles on the tops of bridge would possibly catch your eye. The artisans divided their work between one another and everyone created a few tiles, therefore the pattern on each tile is totally different.
We visited a family-owned pottery artist Mr. Fujita who told us that typical Hasami porcelain uses underglaze cobalt blue and celadon, but nowadays porcelain is produced for daily use in a variety of colors and modern design. The remains of kilns found around the town tell us the historic aspects of Hasami ceramic ware. Nowadays, manufacturers are working on developing new techniques and methods to produce high-quality daily use dishes while continuing on its tradition cultivated with “fire and stone”.
Time for workshop and making your own cute souvenir -slip casting and painting a cute cat figurine.
Later, we visited an Ōshin-gama firing and painting atelier. Their backyard has a ruin of the largest climbing kiln. The climbing kiln is a type of kiln that was used in Nakaoyama hundreds of years ago.
Ceramics that you will find in this place can be used whether for everyday use or for entertaining your guests, it can be used in various settings.
Find out more about the Hasamiyaki pottery on our Facebook LIVE stream 🙂
Kujukushima Islands & Sunset Dinner Cruise
Once our pottery experience has come to the end, we left for Sasebo. Did you know that the coastline of Kujukushima Islands in Sasebo is so photogenic that its natural beauty was used in one of Tom Cruise’s movies “The Last Samurai?”
Gentle breezes and waves of the sun while capturing the spectacular scenery along the 120 minutes cruise ride is a great way to end your day. We really enjoyed the cruise and could not take our eyes off that splendid view!
Unlike ordinary yachts, the new sailing vessel “99 TRITON” is a catamaran with excellent stability, so small children to the elderly can board with confidence – it is less affected by rolling due to waves and wind.
Taking advantage of the stability of the ship, on a cruise with meals, an experienced sushi master prepares sushi using local fresh ingredients right in front of you in the onboard kitchen – what a truly luxurious experience!
The waters around Kujukushima, which are rich in the natural environment, are highly regarded as a treasure trove of marine products. It is rich in seafood such as oyster shellfish, pufferfish, squid, and horse mackerel.
We had thoroughly enjoyed the sunset cruise dinner, it was a lovely break from exploring the city daytime.
Sasebo Jazz Night
Later in the evening, we had another meal (not me, but our staffs. I was sooo full with sushi dinner!) at “Onshokutei Brownie” in Kyonotsubo-cho, Sasebo city. The owner of the pub is a drummer who regularly holds live jazz performances.
They tried a local specialty – “whole tomato soup curry champon” noodle. As the name suggests, it contains a whole tomato and it’s probably the most popular dish on the menu. It was thick and a bit spicy, but eaten with tomato, it had a mild Thai flavor and was delicious, they said.
After the dinner, we enjoyed the jazz session music 🙂
Trip to Ojika island
In the morning, we took a high speed jetty from Sasebo to Ojika – a small island off the west coast of Nagasaki, near Gotō islands.
Ojika is recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in Japan and consists of 17 islands (only 7 of them are residential) and has a population of just 2000 people. The main island of Ojika is a laid-back and unusual town, with small cafes, restored old Japanese-style houses called ‘kominka’ to stay in, and charming sceneries.
When we arrived at Ojika’s ferry terminal in the late morning, we got a warm welcome from Ojika Island Tourism local guides. The office’s friendly staff provides visitors with all the important information and assistance you need for your stay on the island, from helping you find a hotel, booking tours to recommending places to eat and sightseeing.
The Ojika Island Tourism provides English speaking local guides who are happy to share local stories and legends.
Ojika has approx. 34km in circumference, so it is highly recommended to explore the island and enjoy all of the magnificent sights by bicycle (bike rentals at the Ojika ferry port). Electronic bikes are also available, so you can enjoy cycling even at the hilly slopes.
Our guide Victoria-san took us to a nearby Oto-ya restaurant for lunch. Located in the heart of the Fuefuki area, this restaurant serves the best local champon noodles on the island!
After the meal, we explored the island and did live streaming with Victoria-san.
Strolling around was exceptionally fascinating and it let us comprehend everyday island life. We could feel the atmosphere of the fishing region through narrow roads and lovely wooden old buildings.
We spotted the presence of little sculptures called “Jizo” alongside the streets. It is believed that these small Jizo statues prevent fires, and protect children and fishermen on the island.
Victoria-san also stopped by Ojikappan, letterpress printing office.
Ojikappan’s main mission is to maintain letterpress as a cultural heritage in addition to making it as a business. Momoko-san’s parents have been in the letterpress business for generations. She once left for Tokyo to study design and work there, but she felt a call to return to her home island Ojika.
Very beautiful Ojikappan website (Japanese only): https://ojikappan.com/
Please enjoy our Ojika FB Live tour from here:
At night, we stayed at Kominka called Oyake.
Kominka is a Japanese traditional style house. Visitors to Ojika Island can stay at one of six of these century-old folk houses that were refurbished by Alex Kerr, a renowned Japanologist. The Kominka maintains the traditional aesthetics while providing modern conveniences such as a spacious bath, washlet toilet, and heating – a much-needed retreat after the day’s adventure.
Kominka “Oyake” Live tour
Visiting Photogenic Spots in Ojika
On the third day morning, we visited to many photogenic places by guidance of Victoria-san.
One of the most popular beaches in Ojika is Kakinohama. It has clear, turquoise water where you can enjoy various marine activities.
Ojika Island was formed from a volcanic eruption and it is said that Goryo Cliff is one of twenty volcano craters. The erosion has caused the crater on one side, turning it into a scenic, magnificent beach.
Thank you so much for reading this travel blog ~3 days in Nagasaki;
Hasami ~Nakaoyama area pottery town, Kujukushima islands and 99 triton dinner cruise, Sasebo Jazz night and Ojika island are all memorable and unforgettable experiences for me. If you’re looking for relaxing and healing trip in Japan, I would definitely recommend these places for you!
Watch the past Tours
Walking around picturesque town, Ojika in Nagasaki【24 Oct.】$0.00 Add to cart
Learn Pottery Making from Pottery Artists【23 Oct.】$0.00 Add to cart