One of Japan's most historic cities, Nagasaki was a major port, trading with the Portuguese and Dutch in the 16th century. You can still see this colonial legacy in the brick buildings, old forts, canals and curving cobblestone streets. On a hill overlooking the bay, beautiful Glover Mansion, the setting of Madame Butterfly, is typical of the fine homes built by wealthy foreign residents. But Nagasaki's ties with Korea and China are equally apparent in the famous Chinese temple, a large Chinese colony and the numerous fine Korean and Chinese restaurants.
This large city is an excursion base from which to explore the dramatic coastlines, national parks and volcanic mountains of Kyushu, Japan's third largest island. Mount Sakurajima, an active volcano, can be reached by ferry. To the north, Kirishima-Yaku National Park is a scenic area of smoking volcanoes, craters and lakes. South of the city, Ibusuki, the island's most popular seaside resort, welcomes kimono-clad bathers to its sandy beaches and warm, underwater springs.