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Nagasaki Prefecture

Coordinates: 32°45′00″N 129°52′03″E / 32.75000°N 129.86750°E / 32.75000; 129.86750
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Nagasaki Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese長崎県
 • RōmajiNagasaki-ken
Obon Festival with tōrō nagashi lantern release on the Albuquerque Bridge over the Sasebo River, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
Obon Festival with tōrō nagashi lantern release on the Albuquerque Bridge over the Sasebo River, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
Flag of Nagasaki Prefecture
Official logo of Nagasaki Prefecture
Anthem: Minami no kaze
Location of Nagasaki Prefecture
Coordinates: 32°45′00″N 129°52′03″E / 32.75000°N 129.86750°E / 32.75000; 129.86750
Country Japan
SubdivisionsDistricts: 4, Municipalities: 21
 • GovernorKengo Oishi since 2 March 2022
 • Total4,130.88 km2 (1,594.94 sq mi)
 • Rank37th
 (June 1, 2020)
 • Total1,314,078
 • Rank27th
 • Density320/km2 (820/sq mi)
 • Dialects
 • TotalJP¥4,800 billion
US$43.9 billion (2019)
ISO 3166 codeJP-42
Symbols of Japan
BirdMandarin duck (Aix galericulata)
FlowerUnzentsutsuji (Rhododendron serpyllifolium)
TreeSawara (Chamaecyparis pisifera)

Nagasaki Prefecture (長崎県, Nagasaki-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyūshū. Nagasaki Prefecture has a population of 1,314,078 (1 June 2020) and has a geographic area of 4,130 km2 (1,594 sq mi). Nagasaki Prefecture borders Saga Prefecture to the northeast.

Nagasaki is the capital and largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture, with other major cities including Sasebo, Isahaya, and Ōmura. Nagasaki Prefecture is located in western Kyūshū with a territory consisting of many mainland peninsulas centered around Ōmura Bay, as well as islands and archipelagos including Tsushima and Iki in the Korea Strait and the Gotō Islands in the East China Sea. Nagasaki Prefecture is known for its century-long trading history with the Europeans and as the sole place of direct trade and exchange between Japan and the outside world during the Sakoku period. Nagasaki Prefecture is home to several of the Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Nagasaki Prefecture was created by merging of the western half of the former province of Hizen with the island provinces of Tsushima and Iki.[2] Facing China and Korea, the region around Hirado was a traditional center for traders and pirates.

Kuichi Uchida's image of Nagasaki in 1872

During the 16th century, Catholic missionaries and traders from Portugal arrived and became active in Hirado and Nagasaki, which became a major center for foreign trade. After being given free rein in Oda Nobunaga's period, the missionaries were forced out little by little, until finally, in the Tokugawa era, Christianity was banned under the Sakoku national isolation policy: Japanese foreign trade was restricted to Chinese and Dutch traders based at Dejima in Nagasaki. However, Kirishitan (Japanese Christian) worship continued underground. These Kakure Kirishitan (hidden Christians) were tried at every step, forced to step on fumi-e ("trample pictures", images of the Virgin Mary and saints) to prove that they were non-Christian. With the banishment of all Catholic missionaries, traders from Catholic countries were also forced out of the country. Along with them, their children, half Japanese and half European, were forced to leave. The majority was sent to Jagatara (Jakarta) and are still remembered by the locals as the people who wrote the poignant letters which were smuggled across the sea to their homeland.

Today, Nagasaki has prominent Catholic churches, and the Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region, have been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Nagasaki Prefect Office, Meiji Period

During the Meiji Restoration, Nagasaki and Sasebo became major ports for foreign trade, and eventually major military bases and shipbuilding centers for the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries up to World War II. On August 9, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, which destroyed all buildings in a 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) radius from the point of impact and extensively damaged other parts of the city. Roughly 39,000 people were killed, including 27,778 Japanese munitions workers, 2,000 Korean forced workers, and 150 Japanese soldiers. About 68-80% of the industrial production was destroyed to the point it would not recover for months or at least a year.

An overview of 1957 Isahaya floods

Nagasaki Prefecture contains many areas prone to heavy rain and subsequent landslide damage. In July 1957, mainly in the Isahaya area, damage from heavy rains, flooding and landslides lead to a death toll of 586, with 136 people missing and 3,860 injured. In July 1982, typhoon damage in the Nagasaki area lead to 299 fatalities, according to a report by the Japanese government.[citation needed]


Nagasaki borders Saga Prefecture on the east, and is otherwise surrounded by water, including Ariake Bay, the Tsushima Straits (far from Busan and South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea), and the East China Sea. It also includes a large number of islands such as Tsushima, Iki and Goto. Most of the prefecture is near the coast and there are a number of ports such as Nagasaki and a United States Navy base at Sasebo.

As of 1 April 2014, 18% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Saikai and Unzen-Amakusa National Parks; Genkai and Iki-Tsushima Quasi-National Parks; and Hokushō, Nishi Sonogi Hantō, Nomo Hantō, Ōmurawan, Shimabara Hantō, and Taradake Prefectural Natural Parks.[3]


Map of Nagasaki Prefecture
     City      Town
Night view of Nagasaki City

Thirteen cities are located in Nagasaki Prefecture:

Name Area (km2) Population Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Gotō 五島市 420.81 37,775
Hirado 平戸市 235.63 31,192
Iki 壱岐市 138.57 28,008
Isahaya 諫早市 341.79 135,546
Matsuura 松浦市 130.37 23,566
Minamishimabara 南島原市 169.89 45,465
Nagasaki (capital) 長崎市 240.71 407,624
Ōmura 大村市 126.34 95,146
Saikai 西海市 242.01 28,815
Sasebo 佐世保市 426.06 247,739
Shimabara 島原市 82.77 44,936
Tsushima 対馬市 708.61 31,550
Unzen 雲仙市 206.92 42,457


These are the towns and villages of each district:

Name Area (km2) Population District Type Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Hasami 波佐見町 56 14,940 Higashisonogi District Town
Higashisonogi 東彼杵町 74.29 8,175 Higashisonogi District Town
Kawatana 川棚町 74.25 9,219 Higashisonogi District Town
Nagayo 長与町 28.81 42,570 Nishisonogi District Town
Ojika 小値賀町 25.46 2,588 Kitamatsuura District Town
Saza 佐々町 32.3 13,825 Kitamatsuura District Town
Shin-Kamigotō 新上五島町 213.98 19,886 Minami-Matsuura District Town
Togitsu 時津町 20.73 30,084 Nishisonogi District Town


The following municipalities have been dissolved since the year 2000.



Religious denominations in the Nagasaki Prefecture (1996)[4]

  Pure Land Buddhism (19.5%)
  Zen Buddhism (3.6%)
  Tendai or Shingon Buddhism (4.9%)
  Soka Gakkai (3%)
  Nichiren Buddhism (5.1%)
  Other Buddhist schools (3%)
  Christianity (5.1%)
  Shinto sects (2%)
  Folk Shinto or no religion (53.8%)

Nagasaki is the most Christianized area in Japan with Roman Catholic missions having been established there as early as the 16th century. Shusaku Endo's novel Silence draws from the oral history of the local Christian (Kirishitan) communities, both Kakure Kirishitan and Hanare Kirishitan.

As of 2002, there are 68,617 Catholics in Nagasaki Prefecture, accounting for 4.52 percent of the population of the prefecture.


Transcosmos Stadium Nagasaki in Isahaya.

The city has one football team, V-Varen Nagasaki, which plays in the J2 League.

The Nagasaki Saints of the former Shikoku-Kyūshū Island League made Nagasaki Prefecture their home prior to their dissolving.

Visitor attractions[edit]

View of Osezaki Lighthouse on Fukue Island
Grave of William Adams in Hirado inscribed with his Japanese title Miura Anjin (三浦按針)
Shimabara Castle
Sōfuku-ji Ōbaku Zen temple in Nagasaki
Kujūku Islands in Sasebo





Expressways and toll roads[edit]

  • Nagasaki Expressway
  • West Kyushu Expressway
  • Nagasaki Dejima Road
  • Kawahira Toll Road
  • Kunimi Toll Road
  • Kawahira Toll Road

National highways[edit]


  • Nagasaki Port
  • Sasebo Port
  • Matsuura Port
  • Hirado Port
  • Shimabara Port
  • Fukue Port
  • Izuhara Port of Tsushima
  • Gonoura Port of Iki Island



The current governor of Nagasaki is Kengo Oishi, who defeated three-term incumbent Hōdō Nakamura in 2022. Oishi, a doctor, was 39 years old when he took office, and the youngest sitting prefectural governor in Japan.[5] Nakamura was first elected in 2010 to succeed Genjirō Kaneko and was previously a vice-governor.

The Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly [ja] has a regular membership of 46, elected in 16 electoral districts in unified regional elections (last round: 2011). As of April 2014, the LDP-led caucus has 23 members, the DPJ-SDP-led caucus 17.

In the National Diet, Nagasaki is represented by four directly elected members of the House of Representatives and two (one per ordinary election) of the House of Councillors. After the most recent national elections of 2010, 2012 and 2013, Nagasaki sends an all-LDP delegation to the Diet (excluding members who lost election in Nagasaki districts, but were elected to the proportional representation segment of the House of Representatives in the Kyūshū block).


  1. ^ "2020年度国民経済計算(2015年基準・2008SNA) : 経済社会総合研究所 - 内閣府". 内閣府ホームページ (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 780, at Google Books.
  3. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  4. ^ Religion in Japan by prefecture, 1996. English language bar table.
  5. ^ "Incumbent defeated in Nagasaki governor election". The Japan Times. Retrieved 21 December 2022.

General references[edit]

External links[edit]