Another place on my “must see in Japan” list is Nagasaki. It is about a 2 hour train ride from Sasebo.
This was Dave’s first time riding the Sasebo trains. We had a giggle as we boarded. We caught the 8:27 train from Sasebo Station. Clickety-clack we went!
When I stopped by IACE travel on Monday, she gave me a plethora of helpful information to plan our visit. The travel agent provided a suggested itinerary for our trip as well as train schedules. Getting around the city of Nagasaki is easy because they have a trolley / streetcar. There are four different lines making it easy to navigate around the city.
Based upon the list of places to visit I was provided, I knew we weren’t going to be able to see / do everything. So, I made a priority list. The first and foremost location I wanted to visit was the Nagasaki Peace Park. It was surreal and serene. As you walked up several flights of stairs, you passed several statues leading you towards the Peace Park Fountain.
I know it is hard to see, at the other end of the fountain is the Peace Statue.
Here is a picture of the Peace Statue up close.
There is so much symbolism in the Statue. We didn’t quite understand the meaning at first. Fortunately, there was an information plaque in English near by.
The park’s crowds would ebb and flood as one tour group arrived and another would leave. Here is what the park looked like when we first arrived.
When we had an ebb in the crowd, we snapped a quick selfie.
The magnitude for the desire for peace was felt from the moment you entered the park. Ropes of paper cranes were prevalent everywhere. Each one, a prayer for peace.
The next spot within the park was the Nagasaki Monolith. The Ground Zero of the explosion.
I find it fascinating to visit places we learned about in history class. My memory isn’t too good at remembering exactly what I was taught so many years ago, but I feel like there was only a glossing over of the attacks. Do you remember learning Nagasaki wasn’t the intended target. But, the cloud cover on August 9th, 1945 caused the plane to reroute further south. Through a break in the clouds, the pilot saw the Mitsubishi factory in Nagasaki and recognized it as an intended landmark and dropped “Fatman”. Ground Zero of the explosion was a Catholic Church. I don’t remember learning that in my history class. This is a picture of church’s corner stone is reconstructed. The lions at the bottom are not.
It is interesting to see history from a different perspective. Even more so to realize the Japanese’s desire for world peace. The Japanese don’t want this to happen again – anywhere.
Our final stop in the Peace Park was a visit to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. The antique clock when you enter is permanently stuck at 11:02am – the time when Bomb detonated. The re-enactment video is intense. The stories of the victims are heartbreaking and the stories of the survivors incredible. Neither pictures nor my words give them enough weight. It truly was a somber and surreal experience.
We left Nagasaki Peace Park feeling sad and yet hopefully. Hopeful for world peace.
One prayer at a time.