The City of Slopes, Nagasaki, Japan
This geographical feature is also the reason why the atomic bomb didn't destroy many areas
23 Apr 2022
Nagasaki is called “City of Slopes” in Japan /
Nagasaki is called “City of Slopes” in Japan / @Yulily_K

Nagasaki is a city located in the southern part of Japan. The city is famous for its steep hills and mountains, which has earned it the nickname "city of the slopes".

It is this geographical feature that makes this city unique among large Japanese cities which are usually located on a flatter plain. It's also the reason why the atomic bombs of World War II didn't destroy much territory, compared to Hiroshima; because the explosion was deflected by the surrounding hills.

Nagasaki is also the capital of Nagasaki Prefecture and is located on the island of Kyushu. The city has a population of about 1.3 million people and is a major port city.

Nagasaki city history

Painting of “Nanban Trade”: Portuguese merchants were the founders of European settlements in Japan
Painting of “Nanban Trade”: Portuguese merchants were the founders of European settlements in Japan

Nagasaki was founded in 1571 by Portuguese traders who were the first to establish European settlements in Japan. The city soon became an important trading port for European and Asian goods. In 1639, the Japanese government closed all ports to foreign trade except Nagasaki. This made the city a more important and thriving center of commerce during this period.

During World War II, Nagasaki was an important military target because of its large port and shipbuilding facilities. On August 9, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing about 70,000 people instantly. This was the second and last atomic bomb to be used in warfare. Today, Nagasaki is a peaceful city known for its unique history and culture.

Nagasaki is also home to a large number of tourist attractions, including the Nagasaki Peace Park, which commemorates the atomic bombing of the city during World War II.

Bomb radiation is gone

Atomic bomb explosion cloud over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 / Wikipedia
Atomic bomb explosion cloud over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 / Wikipedia

The radiation has essentially decayed to the point where it is indistinguishable from the background. The bombs did not initially produce much radioactive material, and most of it was lifted high into the atmosphere. The fallout was dangerous, but decays exponentially, so after a few weeks it is not very dangerous and by the end of the first day it is significantly reduced. Also most of the radiation exposure to the victim comes from rapid radiation, which can deliver a high dose but disappear almost instantly.

This is different from places like Chernobyl, where literal tons of long-lived radioactive material were released and large amounts were stored near reactors.

Nagasaki in the present

Nagasaki City in the present after modernization / Wikipedia
Nagasaki City in the present after modernization / Wikipedia

The city was rebuilt after the war and changed dramatically. The pace of reconstruction is slow. The first simple emergency shelters were not provided until 1946.

The focus of the rebuilding was the replacement of the war industry with foreign trade, shipbuilding, and fishing. This was officially declared when the Nagasaki International City of Cultural Reconstruction Law was passed in May 1949. New temples were built, as well as new churches, due to the increasing presence of Christianity. Some debris was left as a memorial, such as the one-legged torii at the Sannō Shrine and an arch near ground zero. New buildings have also been raised as memorials, such as the Atomic Bomb Museum. Nagasaki remains a port city, supporting a rich shipbuilding industry.

On January 4, 2005, the cities of Iōjima, Kōyagi, Nomozaki, Sanwa, Sotome, and Takashima (all from Nishisonogi District) were officially merged into Nagasaki along with the city of Kinkai the following year.

Tourists are advised not to carry heavy luggage

Many tourists, especially backpackers, say that their experience of visiting the city of Nagasaki is very surprising because backpackers carry their luggage while walking around the city. Big mistake! Due to the geographical features full of slopes and hills, you will definitely get tired if you are carrying heavy luggage.

Popular hotels in Nagasaki

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