July long weekend! We went on a trip to Iki, an island in Nagasaki. The island is famous for Alcohol, beaches and things shaped like monkeys, so pre-trip anticipation of good times were high, and Iki did not disappoint.

We took the ferry on saturday morning, picked up rental cars and after setting up our tents headed to beach number 1!

Spent the afternoon swimming, unsuccessfully snorkling, exploring, trying to do cartwheels and eating strange flavoured potato chips.

If Iki has a downfall, it’s its lack of places to eat. Every restaurant we tried either had no space for 10 people or was closed. We ended up at a curry and beef bowl restaurant with mediocre food for dinner, but had a great time the rest of the night. The next morning started with bang after we found the number one tourist attraction on Iki.

Saruiwa: A rock shaped like a monkey.

From the northern end of the island you can catch a short ferry to a smaller island with a beach and nothing else. It was gorgeous. Beautiful beach, clear blue water, it was hard to believe we were still in Japan.

We returned, extremely sunburnt, from this island and found the only grocery store on the island and bought enough meat to have our own BBQ at the campground. Yakisoba, grilled veggies and delicious meat.

It was a wonderful weekend and I’ll likely post more on Iki later, haven’t organized my photos yet, but posting to appease some dearly missed friends!

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Monkey Time on Iki

We recently made a trip to Iki island, off the coast of Nagasaki prefecture. The whole island is covered with monkey statues and rocks shaped like monkeys, and other monkey paraphernalia.

Here are some of my friends at a monkey shrine on the north end of the island! There were hundreds of iterations of these hear, speak and see no evil monkeys at the shrine. Also, there was a giant mukade, a poisonous cockroach.

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Nagasaki Peace Park

On our trip to Nagasaki, one place we all wanted to go was to see the A-bomb memorial museum and peace park.

The museum itself was an extremely sad and moving place. Immediately after entering, you see a reconstructed area of town immediately after the bombing. Artifacts such as clocks stopped at 11:02 and buildings with shadows of people burned on to them line the walls.  After an exhibit of the many horrible effects of the atomic bomb, there is a hall dedicated to information on the decelopment of the atomic and hydrogen bombs and nuclear testing around the world..

Standing at the hypocentre was a surreal experience. The city and land have changed so much in the last 65 years that it’s hard to imagine it being the same devastated place shown in the museum.

It’s difficult to put into words what it looks and feels like there, so here are some photos:


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Nagasaki – Dejima

Model of the Island

Dejima is a small island in the bay of Nagasaki. It’s a fascinating place  because originally it was a peninsula, and was made into an island to house and contain foreigners during the Edo period, when Japan had no other contact with the outside world. Originally portuguese traders lived there, but it was later taken over by  the Dutch. For 200 years, workers lived on the island, unable to contact other parts of Japan except when, once a year, the controller made a 90 day round trip to Tokyo to report on trade relations. 

Now Dejima, which literally means exit island, is a Japanese national historic site, full of reconstructed buildings and exhibits on what life was life for the Dutch traders.  We almost decided to not to visit because of the 500 yen entrance fee (preposterous!) but I am glad we did. If only for the recreation of the controllers house, where I found the perfect wallpaper for my future house.

Wallpaper Love

There was also an exhibit on sweets and games of the period, and Scott’s favourite part was the museum where science and technology of the time was displayed. Because of the portuguese influence on the city, the popular omiyage, gifts to take back home, from Nagasaki is Castella, a portuguese pound cake. We tried it, but to us, it tasted just like omiyage cakes from every other part of Japan – somehow too sweet, and not sweet enough all at the same time.

Tanya oogles the sugar display

Oh well, there was still more Chinese food to try!

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