Thursday, February 10, 2011

Four views of Minami-Yamate, Nagasaki

The Minami-Yamate neighbourhood, where my father grew up, is now arguably the most popular tourist destination in all of Nagasaki. It developed as a hillside settlement for foreigners in the mid 19th century, and included distinctive western style buildings (built with Japanese carpentry) that housed consulates and western businessmen like Thomas Glover (of Madama Butterfly fame), whose residential compound lies at the heart of the tourist draw. I'm told that a Russian family lived next door to my father in his youth. Sadly, most of these western-style houses have been torn down through the decades.

Now designated a historic preservation area, the area's beauty is derived not just from the unique foreign influences, but also from the intimately framed views towards Nagasaki Bay towards the Mitsubishi shipyards, as well as the fact that this is still a quiet but vibrant residential neighbourhood.

The historic Oura Cathedral is also located close by in Minami-Yamate.

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