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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