Nagasaki: The Champon of Champions – Part 2

It was my second day in Nagasaki.

Having been to the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park the day before, I wanted to explore more of what Nagasaki has to offer. There was much more exploring to be done.

After a well-deserved lie in, I had no set plan in mind with what I wanted to do today. Speaking with Marie, a German friend I made at the hostel, we arranged to climb up Mount Inasa together with, Rafael, her newlywed husband in the evening for its great views over the city – believed to be ranked as one of Japan’s best night views.

Our plan was to be at the summit at 18:00 to watch the sunset and the city lights turn on.

That’s the evening sorted, but what about during the day?

I asked the hostel staff for recommendations on any sites to visit and local specialities I can try. They suggested going to Glover Garden, nearby the Oura Church that Carywn and I had visited.

For local specialities, there is a noodle dish called champon that they recommended I should try, so that’s my lunch sorted if I can find a restaurant that serves it.

Since it was nearing the end of my trip, I did not want to regret not visiting an onsen. I knew that around Tokyo isn’t as volcanically active as it is in Nagasaki, so my plan was also to search for one.

I retraced my steps through China Town and walked up the famous Dutch Slope.

 

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China Town

 

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Dutch Slope

 

 

I had some difficulty getting to Glover Garden because of the hilly terrain and being unable to find the right path to there. Fortunately, I bumped into some Americans on the way that were going to the same place.

We eventually found the Glover Garden elevator entrance and when we reached the top, we had stunning views of the city and its port.

 

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Elevator to the top

 

 

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Stunning views of the city

 

Glover Garden was an interesting visit, but I felt it would attract the Japanese tourists more than the Western ones. This is because this place includes a collection of Western-style houses previously owned by the Western merchants, so I didn’t gauge as much interest as a Japanese tourist would.

 

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One of many houses in Glover Garden

 

Still, it was nice to learn about the Scottish merchant, Thomas Glover, and his contributions towards modern industrialisation in Japan.

 

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Thomas Glover

 

I found it quite humorous that when walking around, there were guards dressed up as British policemen wearing tartan trousers. I just had to take a picture.

 

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Guards with their tartan trousers

 

After buying a drink at one of the thousands of vending machines in Japan, I followed the path down the steep ascent passing through an interesting display of festival exhibits.

 

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Interesting display of festival props

 

It was midday by the time I got down the hill and was feeling peckish. Walking along the port side of Nagasaki, there was this local speciality dish, champon, to hunt. It just so happens that there was a restaurant called Ringer Hut that is quite popular for champon.

 

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Nagasaki Port

 

I was unaware of Japanese restaurant etiquette as I was used to eating at stalls and noodle bars. I entered the restaurant and had a long wait until I was called to write my name on a list.

 

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Ringer Hut

 

 

I appeared to be the only person to have wrote Latin characters on the list. Once my name was about to be read, the waitress looked, smiled and pointed at my name. I nodded and was seated at the bar facing the kitchen.

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Seated just in front of the kitchen

 

Another waitress handed over an English menu and was surprised how cheap it was. A regular sized bowl of champon was 561 JPY (£4 GBP). There was also a Japanese menu displaying deals and offers. I noticed that you can get a regular sized bowl of champon and three gyozas (Japanese dumplings) for 580 JPY (£4.15 GBP). 15 pence more for three gyozas was a great value.

I got the attention of the waitress and pointed to the deal on the menu. She then asked me to wait as it was now being prepared.

Not before long, the bowl of champon and gyozas arrived in all its glory.

 

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Champon of Champions

 

Champon is a famous Nagasaki dish, fused with Chinese and Japanese influence. It contains ramen noodles, pork, seafood and vegetables.

I really enjoyed the dish; the ingredients combined was full of flavour that blended well together – the soup had a rich texture and the pork was nice and tender.

I thought that due to its size, I wouldn’t be able to finish it. I still had an onsen to find too!

After just being able to the delicious meal, I looked up where I can find an onsen in Nagasaki.  There appeared to be one on Mount Inasa: the mountain where I’ll be checking out night views over the city later. I continued to hang around the restaurant for some time and was unaware that I had to bring my order receipt up to the counter and pay for it then.

It was my 17th day in Japan and yet I haven’t been able to master basic restaurant etiquette.


I never thought I’d write so much for the first half of my second day in Nagasaki. I guess that means I’ll be writing a part 3 that will contain my onsen experience and checking out the night view of Nagasaki. I hope you look forward to that!

Thanks for reading and until next time,

-RGS

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