Karatsu, Nagasaki

On a free day from Kyushu I visited Nagoya-jo (Nagoya Castle).
Not the castle in Nagoya, unbeknown to many there is actually a Nagoya castle in Kyushu (Hizen Province). Not exactly a castle I should say but ruins but it is worth visiting for two reasons. Firstly, the beautiful scenery around and next the historical importance…
Because it was from here that Totoyomi Hideyoshi launched his two invasions of Korea.
I was really happy that I made the site and the way back OK as the bus stop was a bit non-descript and I had bought my tickets and got on the bus etc just by using Japanese.

I also visited Karatsu-jo another castle near to Fukuoka. The castle is a reconstruction but very beautiful, in a beautiful setting in Karatsu, Saga.
Like all of Kyushu people were friendly. I met a very kind Japanese lady and her grandmother while at the castle.
It was lovely to meet them.

Afterwards I visited a float museum. In both Karatsu and Fukuoka I constantly met people who were very kind and went out of their way to help me. Including the Japanese guy with his children who drove me to the museum. I have met many kind people in different countries but I have to say those I met in Kyushu are among the kindest anywhere.

The historic castle was the base from which Toyotomi Hideyoshi launched his invasions of Korea. None of the original structures remain, but the castle’s ruined foundations
From Fukuoka I made my way to Nagasaki.
On one day I visited Mt Aso, which is famous as one of the largest active volcanoes in the world.
I met a Korean couple on the way that were really kind unfortunately I lost their address when my bag was stolen in London. We accompanied each other to there and then they were on the way to Beppu if I remember correctly. In any case I decided to make my way back to Nagasaki.

My main reason for visiting Nagasaki was to meet one of my good friends Nana. She once lived in London. I had a chance to meet her while she was wearing a beautiful Kimono. On another day she and her friend who was also very kind drove me to a mountain which had a really beautiful night view of Nagasaki. A view not matched of anywhere I have been yet save New York. Nana also introduced me to the castella cake so popular and now a speciality of Nagasaki.
Originally from the Portuguese and introduced in the 16th century and adapted, it is a delicious cake that I wish I could get here.

Nagasaki is famous of course for the tragic events of the atomic bomb. In Hiroshima 6 years earlier I had opted not to go inside the museum. This time I went inside. The stories of those affected is displayed throughout. The Oka Masaharu Memorial Nagasaki Peace Museum is top rate and in Nagasaki you can also see the spot where the A-bomb hit as well as well as many peace sculptures from countries all over the world.
However Nagasaki has more than just the history from the a-bomb or castellan. It has many colourful trams, a wonderful sight and convenient to use. There are also several churches. Kyushu was one area where Christianity had made an impact before brutal persecution by the Japanese government. There is a site where 26 Catholics missionaries and believers, European and locals were murdered by the government. Site of the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan, 20 Japanese Christians and six European missionaries were crucified in 1597 and later canonised by the Roman Catholics. See http://www.26martyrs.com/

My first trip to Japan was also special because of the exceptional kindness of friends. Unfortunately the pictures are not of good quality due to the non digital technically limited camera and hand scanners of the time. You can see part of my old website and description of the photos from Japan here http://sunlight_75.tripod.com/Pictures/Asia/Japan/index.html