Nagasaki is rich in history, and a lot of that has to do with the creation of Dejima. During the Edo Period, Dejima served as the only place for trade between Japan and the outside world.
Dejima was created for Portuguese who were looking for a new port to do trade in following the murder of foreigners in Hirado. Daimyo Omura Sumitada gave the Portuguese land in Nagasaki to continue their trade. The island had another purpose as well, and that was to prevent the spread of Christianity throughout the rest of Japan. However, because of the Shimabara Rebellion the Tokugawa government would expel the Portuguese from Dejima, with the last Portuguese trader leaving in 1639.
The expulsion of the Portuguese left Dejima as a failed investment, however, the Dutch were able to take over the post shortly after. Thanks in part to their unfriendly relationship with Portugal on religion and politics, the Dutch that were a part of the Dutch East India Company were able to stay in Dejima under strict watch.
From then on, the Dutch and Chinese were the only ones allowed to trade with Japan during the Sakoku Period. Dejima was so vital to the progression of Japan. Japan gained goods such as silk, sugar, and cotton, and in return the Dutch would receive copper, silver, laquerware, and Imari porcelain, among other things. But this was second to the knowledge they gained from the Dutch. The Japanese knowledge in areas such as astronomy, and medicine greatly expanded and they learned a lot about preventative medicine. They were able to have a better understanding in the fields of science, astronomy, and military science.
Along with what was mentioned before, Japan was also introduced to photography, coffee, beer, chocolate, billiards, and so much more!
The influence of Dutch trading can still be seen when going to Dejima today. Walking through Dejima you will be able to see Western architecture, various items that their rooms were decorated with, old weaponry including a cannon, and beautiful gardens.
Today, Dejima is not an island, as various land reclamation projects have surrounded the previous fan-shaped island.
Because of the importance of Dejima, a restoration phase is currently underway. Six buildings have recently been renovated and the Japanese government is currently working on rebuilding a bridge in the location of the original.
Walking through Dejima, it is amazing to learn about its history. Just knowing that this is where most of Japans knowledge of Western medicine and astrology started, is really interesting.
Have you been to Dejima or are looking to go? Let me know by leaving a comment, I will be happy to answer any questions thrown my way!
How to Get There
Take Tram 1 from Nagasaki Station to the Dejima stop.
The ride takes around 5 minutes and costs 120 yen
Price and Hours
Hours: 8:00 – 18:00 (8:00-19:00 during peak seasons)
Price: 510 yen
Hotel Belleview Nagasaki Dejima
Located right across the street from Dejima, this hotel is in the perfect location. Take a two minute walk to reach Dejima.
JR Kyushu Hotel Nagasaki
Located right next to Nagasaki Station, this hotel offers easily accessible transportation and shopping
Hotel Forza Nagasaki
This hotel offers a great location to the shopping district in Nagasaki as well as other cultural spots.