Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture is a town where international exchange was performed as a first Western trading port in Japan.
Do you know a blue-eyed Samurai, Anjin Miura (William Adams) who is deeply associated with this town?
He was an Englishman who did a remarkable work under the absolute confidence of Ieyasu Tokugawa at the beginning of the Edo period.
He was a navigation officer who drifted to the shore of Japan in the year of 1600 (Keicho 5) just before the battle of Sekigahara. He rendered great services in Japan so that he was later given a Japanese name of Anjin Miura as well as a status of Samurai.
He came to Hirado in 1613 (Keicho 18) and made a great contribution to the opening of Dutch and English factories in Hirado.
Later he did a remarkable work under Richard Cocks, the Head of the Hirado English factory. He died from disease in Hirado in 1620 (Genna 6).
Hirado Tsutaya (Mansion of Anjin)
Typical sweets are “Kasudosu”, gold shining renowned confectionery (right) and “Gobo Mochi (left)
“Kasudosu” is said to have been brought by the Portuguese who visited Hirado. It is made by dipping “Kasutera”, a sponge cake, in the yolk and then coated with heated syrup and finally covered by sugar. What a gorgeous confectionery! Rich and luxurious sweetness!
My favorite is “Gobo Mochi” (right).
It is said to have been named “Gobo” because its shape resembles a burdock root (Gobo). However, it is a simple Hirado confectionery made only from rice wheat and sugar. They say they were cut long, in old days, like a burdock root and served depending on the number of the guests. It is outstanding that no matter how many guests may come, we can cope with it just by changing the depth just the same as a roll cake. Plump and sticky and the same feel in the mouth with “Uiro”, a sweet rice jelly. Poppy seeds with bubble wrap texture become an accent.
Both confectionaries are not only served during the tea ceremony of samurai Chinshin school but also distributed during happy events and memorial services in ordinal houses.
You can enjoy them with coffee and relax in the Japanese style room in the back. It is recommended to take a break with traditional sweets after strolling round the castle town of Hirado during the Age of Discovery.
Picture 6 The tomb of Anjin Miura (Sakikata Park)
The tomb of Anjin Miura had not been certain for many years. In was rather recently broadcasted that there is a high possibility that it is in Sakikata Park, Hirado city where human bones had been discovered during an excavation in 2019. A tomb of Anjin Miura was built in 1954 (Showa 29) in Sakikata Park which had been considered to be the tomb site of Anjin. Later in 1964 (Showa 39) as the 400th anniversary of his birth, stones from the graveyard of her wife in England were sent for as a symbol of her soul and buried together. A mound for the husband and wife was also constructed in the park.
Sweeping view townscape of Hirado downtown.
It is also famous for cherry blossoms and azalea. So, the coming season will be especially good for paying a visit.
“Tengaramon”, released nationwide on December 11, 2020 is a story of
Tomoatsu Godai (1836-1885) who played an active role
during the last days of Tokugawa Shogunate and the beginning of the Meiji era. Have you seen it already?
Many noted spots in Nagasaki appear in the drama.
“Nagasaki tabinet” is now running a special feature on “Tengaramon”!
In addition to the introduction of the film, noted places of Nagasaki that appear in the movie as well as the areas associated with Tomoatsu Godai are covered.
Introduction of the film:
At the end of Tokugawa Shogunate, when whole Japan was terrified by the visit of Commander Matthew Perry, four young samurai ran through the west end of Japan, Nagasaki, sensing the arrival of new era of Japan.
The film features Saisuke Godai (Future Tomoatsu, by Shunma Miura) and Ryoma Sakamoto (Shohei Miura). A crowd of samurai were trying to kill them for some unknown reason. At this instant, their lives started to correspond.
Antiforeign policy or opening of the country to the rest of the world? Godai took no notice to the internal battle but turned his eyes to the world. During those days, he happened to meet a prostitute, Haru (by Aoi Morikawa), and was driven to dream a free way of life. He then shared his vision with Ryoma Sakamoto, Yataro Iwasaki (Takanori Nishikawa), Hirobumi Ito (Yuki Morinaga) to realize a country where everyone can have a free dream of his own.
(Cast) Haruma Miura, Shohei Miura, Takanori Nishikama, Morinaga Yuki, Aoi Morikawa, Misako Renbutsu and others
Directed by Mitsutoshi Tanaka, Screenplay by Eriko Komatsu
Produced by ©2020 Production Committee of the film “Tomoatsu Godai”.
Distributed by Giggly Box Co., Ltd.
Released nationwide on December 11, 2020.
November 26 (11/26) is “the Good Bath Day”. Because, in Japanese, 11 can be read as “ii” that means good, and 26 “furo” that means a bath.
That’s why I would like to introduce just “hot springs” to you.
On this occasion, I reveal the information on my “highly recommended hot spring”, which I love so much that I have kept secret until now.
(Moreover, with a bathing scene of a good-looking man.)
The “highly recommended hot spring” is located at “Obama Onsen” in Unzen city, Nagasaki Prefecture.
“Obama Onsen” is a hot spring area with a superb view overlooking Tachibana Bay. 15,000 tons of hot water of about 100 degrees Celsius wells up a day from 30 sources of hot springs in this area, and the amount of heat is “the best in Japan”.
The hot sodium chloride spring water warms you up from the core of your body, so it is especially recommended in the cold season.
The 16 hot spring inns, and three separate hot springs which are communal baths, are each unique and attractive, but here is the one I would like to introduce.
Wakihama communal bath, commonly known by “Otasshan Hot Spring”.
“Otasshan Hot Spring” was opened in 1937.
The retro appearance of a wooden one-story building retaining the atmosphere of the Showa era days has been selected as a town’s landscape asset of Nagasaki Prefecture.
When I paid 200 yen at the collector’s counter and went inside, I felt just like I was in a “Museum of lives in Showa era”.
The wooden lockers and a signboard that says “Three sen per adult”, which has been around since the opening of the business, have a retro Showa era atmosphere, and they are really interesting.
Then, when I finally opened the door of the bathroom, my heart’s desire, and —,
there was an amazing space surrounded by extremely comfortable air there. The high ceiling and large windows let in the open and calm sunlight.
*The model is Mr. M, a good-looking staff member who accompanied me.
*It is not a bath where men and women bathe together.
I was surprised at the softness of the hot water!
After I poured hot water on my body and entered the bathtub, I was surprised at the softness of the hot water!
As to the element of this hot spring, it is the same “sodium chloride spring” as other hot springs in Obama Onsen. But the comfort just like being embraced by the hot water gives the impression that it is a little different from the others.
Your skin doesn’t get sticky but smooth after bathing.
And above all, you can easily feel refreshed from the tiredness of your shoulders and lower back due to overuse of the computer or cellphone.
Its good reputation has spread, and I heard that there are many regular guests who come not only from the local neighborhood but also from outside the city and the prefecture.
At the time of reporting, we shared this hot spring with a trio of healthy senior women from Shimabara city, who visit here almost every week.
“The hot water of this spring is really soft!”
“This hot spring is salty, but it is not sticky. That’s a good point!”
“You are exactly right!”
Their chat became lively.
We interviewed Ms. Miyoko Takushima, the owner.
“Otasshan Hot Spring” was opened in 1937 by a family led by Mr. Tsuneo Takushima, who is Miyoko’s father-in-law.
It is said that this hot spring has come to be called “Otasshan Hot Spring” after the name of the eldest daughter “Tashi-san” who ran a store nearby. But I think it has a meaning that when you have a bath in this hot spring, you will feel energetic, or “tassha”, a dialect in this neighborhood.
Miyoko was born in 1932, five years before the opening of this hot spring.
Miyoko is now 88 years old. According to her, she got married when she was 21, and came to this hot spring which was already crowded with many people.
“At that time, there were no indoor baths at the inns, so it was crowded with the guests from those inns.”
Looking up at the wisteria trellis at the front door that has been watching over this communal bath, Miyoko said smilingly, “This wisteria trellis has become a pretty old lady, however every year around the Golden Week, beautiful flowers with a pale purple color come into bloom and that makes guests smile.”
The tank of the source of the hot spring behind the site.
On our way home, we could see the source tank behind the site.
While being overwhelmed by the source of the hot spring that wells up with a roar, I felt that I had a glimpse of the power of Obama Onsen, which is said to have the highest amount of heat in Japan.
Even in Nagasaki prefecture, it has gotten colder and colder in the morning and evening, and the signs of winter are gradually approaching.
How about warming up in a warm hot spring and feeling refreshed?
854-0513 7, Minami-Honmachi, Obama town, Unzen city, Nagasaki prefecture
Charge: 200 yen
Open: 6:00 ~ 21:00
*Scheduled to be closed from July to August in 2021 due to renovation work.
“Real Treasure Hunt” Event in Nagasaki Prefecture!?
From Sunday, November 1, tour promotion event, “Real Treasure Hunt” will start. You will search for hidden treasure boxes in each area of Nagasaki Prefecture using the treasure map. The entry fee is free.
Points of the event
If you can’t go around all 12 areas, don’t worry. You can join even one area. Please feel free to join. The entry fee is free.
As it is “a level that even beginners can easily enjoy”, it is also recommended for a family outing.
Discover the attractions of Nagasaki again! You might be able to discover the attractions of the local areas you did not know along with the treasure hunting!
You might win a gorgeous prize by lottery!
Depending on the number of treasure boxes you find, you can apply for a lottery to win gorgeous prizes such as local specialties, accommodation vouchers in the prefecture, and V-Varen Nagasaki’s annual passport.
There are 42 kinds of prize in all. You can apply for a lottery to win prizes from clearing one area. The number of prizes you can apply for will increase depending on how many areas you clear. So, aim to clear all areas!
(There are two types of prizes: “Prize that you can always get by clearing the area” and “Prizes won by lottery”.)
Now, get a “Treasure Map” and go on an adventure!
How to get the treasure map (a participation booklet)
1) Free distribution on the spot (Tourist information centers in 12 areas in Nagasaki Prefecture, etc.)
2) Free download on the official website
*12 areas in Nagasaki Prefecture
(Sasebo city, Shimabara city, Hirado city, Matsuura city, Tsushima city, Iki city, Saikai city, Unzen city, Minami-Shimabara city, Higashi-Sonogi town, Kawatana town, Hasami town)
*You will be able to download the treasure map from 17:00 on Friday, October 30.
*It may be difficult to read or understand by the download version. So, we recommend that you get the participation booklet, which is free of charge, from the tourist information centers in 12 areas of the prefecture.
Why don’t you take this opportunity to enjoy “real treasure hunting” with your family or friends while experiencing the attractions of various areas of Nagasaki Prefecture by taking advantage of the “Go To Travel Campaign” conducted by the national government.
Period: Sunday, November 1, 2020 ~ Sunday, February 28, 2021
Entry fee: free
How to participate: Please obtain the booklet distributed at tourist information centers in 12 areas in Nagasaki Prefecture and participate.
On the Atomic Bomb Memorial day of Nagasaki this year, we prayed at home.
Due to the spread of the new coronavirus, the Peace Memorial Ceremony was held on a much smaller scale.
The public was not allowed to attend.
I refrained from going out on August 9 and stayed at home watching the TV broadcast and praying in silence.
Another day, before the Day commemorating the end of the Second World War, I went to the Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Hypocenter.
Entrance of the Peace Park
It is convenient to get to Peace Park by tram.
Get off the tram at the Peace Park stop and cross the national road at the crosswalk, and you will soon find the entrance to the park.
You can take the escalator to the park, which is located on top of a hill.
Get off the escalator and walk straight ahead and you will see a fountain with crystal clear water.
Fountain of Peace
I was so thirsty.
There was something like oil floating all over the water.
I had to have water, and I finally drank it with the oil in it.
~From a girl’s memoir of that day
The memoir of a girl who was exposed to the atomic bombing, engraved on a stone slab in front of the building, contrasts so sharply with the refreshing fountain behind it that one cannot help but place one’s hands together and pray.
Beyond the fountain, looking small in the distance the Peace statue can be seen.
Step by step, I walked from the Peace Fountain to the Peace Statue, taking in the peace of the present moment.
The Peace Statue
The Peace Statue symbolizes the desire for peace.
Its beauty and preciousness are universal no matter how many times you visit.
The sculptor is Seibo Kitamura, a sculptor from Nagasaki Prefecture.
The Statue’s right hand, pointing to the heavens, represents the “threat of the atomic bomb”.
His left hand, stretched out horizontally, is the key to peace.
The lightly closed eyelids represent a prayer for the souls of the A-bomb victims.
Site of Nagasaki Prison’s Urakami Prison Branch Office
Before the atomic bombing, the site of the Peace Park was the Urakami Prison Branch of Nagasaki Prison.
It was the closest public facility to the hypocenter, but the building was destroyed from the ground up, and 134 staff and inmates were killed instantly.
The remains of the bombing can now be seen in part of the park (on the way to the Peace Fountain and the Peace Statue).
There is an information board with detailed information about the statue.
◆For more information about Peace Park (Peace Statue and Peace Fountain), click here.
Atomic Bomb Hypocenter
At 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945.
The atomic bomb was dropped from an American B-29 bomber and exploded about 500 meters above the city.
A monument made of black granite stands at the center of the bomb’s fall.
Along the site’s riverfront, visitors can see the geological strata of the time of the bombing. A large number of house tiles, bricks and heat-burned glass, destroyed by the bombing, are still buried here as they were then.
Today, the center of the atomic bombing is surrounded by greenery and is a place for citizens to relax.
An old man sits on a bench in the shade of a tree and reads a book.
An elementary school student engrossed in catching cicadas.
I, too, sit relaxed as I watch them.
I feel a sense of gratitude for the fact that we are now able to live in peace.
I am not against war, I am for peace.
◆For basic information about the center of the atomic bombing, click here.
Although I was not able to go there, you can experience the devastation of the atomic bomb and the preciousness of peace at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, which is located next to the Peace Park.
You can stand before each of the exhibits, accepting the history while thinking about true peace.
You can browse through books on the atomic bombing and peace, and there is also a library with a video corner.
◆For more information on the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, click here