We docked in Nagasaki today and I woke up before the sunrise! After so much humidity, the cool air felt good, and for a moment, I thought we were in Sausalito with the cute houses on the hill welcoming us. At the crack of dawn, we took a tour bus to Shimabara to visit a samurai village, complete with open floor plan tatami houses, koi gardens, and a waterway down the middle of the road. Our tour guide said the water was drinkable if we dared.
Next, we visited the Shimabara Castle turned museum, which now houses a vast collection of artifacts and history detailing the area’s Catholic past. The top floor granted us a bird’s eye view of the town and cosplay ensued at the entrance.
As if graphic paintings of religious persecution weren’t sobering enough, we visited the Mt. Uzen Disaster Memorial next where homes were completely covered with debris from a volcanic eruption back in 1991. On a lighter note, we bought sponge cake and mochi from the local grocer!
Afterward, we went to a local boutique hotel for a nice kaiseki-style lunch then wandered around the garden with rabbits and baby goats running around — cute!
On the drive back to Nagasaki, the sky looked surreal and news broke out that Obama had won the election. (I debated whether or not I should sell all of my stocks — I didn’t.)
Back at the port, a school band welcomed us since the Diamond Princess was built at the local Mitsubishi cradle!