Glover Garden and Dejima – Nagasaki, Japan (2015)

After visiting the atomic bomb site in Nagasaki, we took a bus ride to Dejima. This was an interesting stop which highlighted the closed nature of Japan’s society for much of their history. The small island was established to house Portuguese traders to help Japan keep a “foot in the door” of international trade and still keep foreigners segregated to avoid the spread of Christianity and perhaps other undesirable customs. According to Japan Visitor, the literal translation of Dejima is Exit Island.


Dejima, Japan

Schematic Drawing of Dejima, Japan
Close to where the tour buses park, there is a small schematic of Dejima

Body of water separating Dejima, Japan
This is the body of water on which the island was constructed. Dejima is pictured in the foreground on the right

A model replica of Dejima, Japan

A model replica of the village is on display to help visitors gain an overall understanding of the island’s geography.

A portal to Dejima, Japan
The small opening was used for moving cargo and allowing passengers to enter the cloistered island.

A garden inside Dejima, Japan
As elsewhere throughout Japan, gardens were represented.

Traditional clothing of Dejima, Japan
This man is wearing the traditional clothing of the day in Dejima


Glover Garden


As though Nagasaki and Dijema weren’t enough for one day, we had another very engaging attraction to visit. I was looking forward to this particular stop because I enjoy gardens and this one was somewhat special.

In contrast to the horror of the devastation of the atomic bomb hypercenter in Nagasaki, Glover Garden was a place of beauty and a celebration of nature.

Thomas Glover was a business-minded Scotsman who was instrumental in opening Nagasaki to foreign trade. He also is given credit, at least in part, for the development of the Mitsubishi steel works as well as the Kirin beer company. He has been dubbed “The Scottish Samurai” to underscore his contribution to the industrialization of Japan.

From the dock area, we took a short upward trek toward the hilltop garden.

The walk uphill to Glover Garden, Nagasaki

Near the crest of the hill, just outside of the garden, was Oura Catholic Church constructed around 1865. It is considered the oldest standing Christian church in Japan and was originally built for the foreign merchants who were moving to Nagasaki at the end of the era of seclusion to take advantage of trade.

Oura Catholic Church near Glover Garden, Nagasaki

The sides of the street leading up to the church and Glover Garden contained copious shops which catered to a wide variety of tourist and non-tourist interests. For those with a passion for Halloween or Dia de los Muertos

Pirate skull in a shop near Glover Garden, Nagasaki

Formal columned lamp posts support an ornamental metal sign signalling the entrance to the garden.

As one might expect, there were a number of well-groomed, smaller display gardens.

One of a number of smaller display gardens Glover Garden, Nagasaki

Also spectacular were the views from the top of the hill as the threatening clouds began to roll in.

Threatening clouds at Glover Garden, Nagasaki

Below is a photograph of a group of houses alongside the hill with the top of the Oura Church jutting up between them and the garden.

Houses on a hill near Glover Garden, Nagasaki

More houses could also be seen near the garden from the opposite side of the overlook.

Houses on a hill near Glover Garden, Nagasaki

A panoramic view of he harbor shows our ship and a number of buildings in the foreground near the port.

Panoramic view of the harbor below Glover Garden, Nagasaki

Formal gardens often have sectioned off areas sometimes referred to as “rooms” which create a mood of their own. This alcove with a variety of shrubs and small trees, pays homage to a more classical Japanese style.

There is an association of Glover Garden with the story of Madame Butterfly.

“Another claim to fame is that Glover’s Japanese wife Tsuru, whom he married in 1867, is said to have been the inspiration for “Madame Butterfly”, a story written by the American author John Luther Long, and later turned into the famous opera by Puccini and first performed at the Scala, Milan, in 1904. Tsuru had been obliged, at the age of 17, to divorce her first husband, a samurai, due to political differences between her family and his at the time of the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and was thus separated from her baby daughter, Sen. However, there the resemblance between Tsuru and the fictional character ends, for although there may have been a suicide attempt, she lived to marry Thomas Glover, and to give birth to Hana and Tomisaburo (“Tommy” to his father). Tsuru’s nickname was “Och-san”, from the butterfly motif on her kimono, hence the name of the popular opera heroine.” Via Rampant Scotland

A statue of Puccini, with a small butterfly on his left shoulder, was placed in the garden to acknowledge this strong association.

Nearby, the likeness of diva Miura Tamaki as Madame Butterfly further underscores this relationship.

A statue of Madame Butterfly

A statue of Madame Butterfly at Glover Garden, Nagasaki

Water features provide a sedate aura to a garden and this wall of dripping water with cascading foliage achieved this goal.

Calming dripping water at Glover Garden, Nagasaki

Another feature, similar in style, added flower boxes in front.

A calming floral display with dripping water at Glover Garden, Nagasaki

It would not be a garden in Japan without a koi pond

A traditional koi pond at Glover Garden, Nagasaki

which even pleased the birds!

A bird enjoying the koi pond at Glover Garden, Nagasaki

Heading back to the ship, a stone planter with lantana attracted a real butterfly.

A real butterfly at Glover Garden, Nagasaki

Descending the steep street on the way to the pier, this courtyard beckoned with the decorative path and neatly trimmed garden.

Enticing courtyard near Glover Garden, Nagasaki

Upon approaching the pier, I noticed a parking area that had a bright yellow wall with a dragon statue across the top.

Dragon statue on parking area wall near Glover Garden, Nagasaki

This did not appear to be the friendly dragon from a Disney film.

We were physically and perhaps a bit emotionally tired from the exploits of the day and were glad to board the ship and have a respite before dinner.

Read more about our trip to Japan in 2015:

Muster Stations Everyone – Off to Nagasaki, Japan

After a bit more than three days in Tokyo, we boarded a cruise ship to head to other interesting Japanese ports. Whoever coined the phrase,“Getting there is half the fun”, must have had cruising in mind. We certainly enjoy the restful days and evenings at sea while reliving the novelties of the day and anticipating those to be next.

Here is a panorama from the deck of our ship soon after boarding. It was a very nice, sunny day at the pier.

Panorama from the deck of the Diamond Princess in Tokyo

As we strolled the deck to review the location of important ship venues, we found this beleaguered Noctuid moth (perhaps a positive omen of some sort!).

An interesting Noctuid moth resting on the deck of the ship

The first port of call was Nagasaki and the day was appropriately bleak for visiting this somber, historic site. The grayness and drizzle lent to the solemnity of the occasion. For those too young to know or remember, Nagasaki was the site of the second atomic bomb detonation by the US during WWII.

We were brought to the Nagasaki Peace Park and one of the very first things that grabbed my attention was this large statue known as The Prayer Monument for Peace created by Nishimo Kitamura.

The Prayer Monument for Peace, Nagasaki

Among the symbolism

  • The right arm (pointing to the) sky means the threat of (an) A-bomb.
  • The left arm stretching horizontally means the peace.
  • And the closed eyes means praying for the victims of A-bomb.

The Prayer Monument for Peace, Nagasaki

As we continued to walk south, we noticed what appeared to be an old foundation which we later learned was the ruins of the Urakami Branch of Nagasaki Prison that was located at the site. All of the 134 prisoners reportedly remanded there at the time were killed.

ruins of the Urakami Branch of Nagasaki Prison

As one might expect, the peace theme predominates. The Peace Bell statue depicts small children holding up a bell similar to the bell of the Urakami Cathedral which was destroyed in the blast.

The Peace Bell<

The Peace Bell Closeup

Fortunate visitors can find Iinosuke Hayazaki, member of the Nagasaki Peace Movement Association, at the park explaining how he experienced the blast as a fourteen year old. His life was spared because his supervisor changed his working location at the weapons factory that day. (Read more here)

Iinosuke Hayazak atomic bomb survivor, Nagasaki

As part of a ritual “cleansing,” people can water flowers and plants that are near the peace bell where Iinosuke Hayazaki sometimes stands.
Watering flowers as a ritual cleansing

A distance away from this statue, at the south end of the park, is the circular Fountain of Peace.

Fountain of Peace, Nagasaki

The fountain was constructed for the souls of Atomic bomb victims who died searching for water.

Fountain of Peace, Nagasaki

Near the Fountain of Peace is a brick walled staircase which is an entryway and exit for those walking to the park. It was festooned with a beautifully juxtaposed wave of flowers.

Beautiful flower garden stairway, Nagasaki Peace Park

Part of the walkway near the fountain was constructed of red and grey bricks to symbolize flames, heat and explosion.

Symbolic walkway symbolizing explosion, Nagasaki

A Peace Symbols Zone was established in the park and other nations, states, etc., from around the world have contributed monuments in support of peace and against nuclear proliferation.

“‘Constellation Earth’ from St. Paul, Minnesota, USA (Nagasaki’s sister city), 1992; the plaque reads: ‘The seven human figures represent continents. The interdependence of the figures symbolizes global peace and solidarity.'”
Via Wikipedia

Peace Park Statue from Minnesota, USA

and Brasil

Peace Park Statue from Brasil

Yet another solemn memorial was a black cenotaph which marked the hypocenter of the explosion.

Cenotaph marking the hypocenter of the Nagasaki bomb explosion

Cenotaph marking the hypocenter of the Nagasaki bomb explosion

There are signs and statistics detailing the explosion.

“More than 2.5 square miles of land were leveled. Tens of thousands of homes were either entirely burnt, reduced to rubble or partially destroyed. With an estimated population of 240,000 close to 74,000 perished and nearly 75,000 were injured.”

Not wanting the world to forget, and perhaps to serve as a warning, there were other statues portraying the horror of the event.

Monument to mothers and children killed by the atomic bomb, Nagasaki

“The mother’s plea for peace and prayers as she shelters her child. This statue by Naoki Tominaga commemorated the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing at its hypocenter in Nagasaki.”

A mother's prayer for peace statue by Naoki Tominaga, Nagasaki

As we made our way to the Atomic Bomb Museum we passed the decorative tower which, by special permission from Greece, temporarily held the Olympic flame.

“Received by the City of Nagasaki from Greece in 1983, the Flame of Commitment burns to symbolize the pledge that Nagasaki shall remain the last city on Earth to experience nuclear devastation, that nuclear war shall never again be waged, and that there shall be no more bomb victims. The construction of the monument was undertaken to promote this pledge and commitment, and the flame of peace continues to burn.”


The Atomic Bomb Museum housed much of the history and artifacts related to the Nagasaki bombing.

Among the items was a replica of the A-bomb, code named Fat Man, which was dropped over Nagasaki.

Replica of the Atomic Bomb dropped on Nagasaki

There was a display of glass bottles that melted from the heat of the blast.

Glass bottles melted by the heat of the Nagasaki A-Bomb

Shards of stained glass shown below were displayed and some were so strongly heated, they formed balls.

Shards of melted stained glass, Nagasaki

Perhaps most poignant was this metal helmet containing remains of a human skull.

Metal helmet with remains of a human skull, Nagasaki

On the way back to our tour bus, we passed the Gold Peace Statue constructed to commemorate the lives of students and teachers lost in the bomb blast.

Statue in Memory of School children & Teachers, in front of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

While this was a “heavy” visit, it was an interesting part of history. On the way out of town, I couldn’t help but notice all of the criss-crossed wires and cables along the side streets which reminded me of a long ago era.

Cables and wires across a street in Nagasaki, Japan

Read more about our trip to Japan in 2015: