Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nagasaki Lantern Festival

Happy Chinese New Year from Nagasaki!
We got to town this afternoon at three and found out that the local Chinatown was having a big new year's celebration and a festival of lanterns. Like Hiroshima, the main mode of transportation around the city is the tram. Lucky for us, our hotel is right across the street from the train station and the trams stop right at our door! Each ride is a flat 100 yen, and it's easy to get to all the main tourist spots. I also really like the clanking sound as they pass by. So, we headed over to Chinatown and were pleasantly surprised by the festivities. We got there before it was dark, so we found a decent restaurant and had our dinner and by the time we were done, the lanterns were all lit and there was a performance going on in the main square. All the temples had candles lit too. It was quite a sight and we're lucky that we coincided our stay in Nagasaki at this time. Nagasaki is one of the few cities in Japan that has a Chinatown. Because of its proximity to China, it has a lot of Chinese history and culture. After we had enough of Chinatown, we took the ropeway gondola up to Mt. Inasa, where we got spectacular views of the city below. Supposedly the night view of Nagasaki from this mountain is one of the best night views in Japan.
Tomorrow we tour several other spots in the city and the day after it's off to Kumamoto to see its castle.
Love to all and good luck in the year of the rat!

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