A Journey along the Nagasaki Kaido *RERUN
Nagasaki Kaido is a road leading north-east out of Nagasaki City, through the neighboring Saga Prefecture, ending 223km later in Kokura, in the north of Fukuoka Prefecture. For more than 200 years, beginning in the early 17th century, Japan closed its doors to the outside world. Nagasaki was the only Japanese port open to foreign ships during that time. Unusual goods from overseas traveled down the Nagasaki Kaido to other parts of Japan.

Nagasaki Kaido is the Sugar Road

One frequently transported product was sugar. Sugar was a rare and precious resource. Most of Japan's sugar was imported. Records show that 600 tons of sugar landed in Nagasaki every year. Nagasaki is well known as the home of castella cake. The castella developed down the years in Nagasaki from an original Portuguese creation. The soft, fine-grained castella is a favorite treat among the people of Nagasaki.

The God of Commerce by the Roadside

Saga City is 110 kilometers from Nagasaki down the Nagasaki Kaido. The stone statues of the god Ebisu, a god of both fishing and commerce, make frequent appearances along the road. It's said that someone looking for statues of Ebisu can find more than 800 in this area alone. Nobody really knows why there are so many statues of Ebisu in Saga, but it is thought the worship of Ebisu began in Hyogo Prefecture and spread west down the Nakasaki Kaido to reach Kyushu.

An International Corridor

The Nagasaki Kaido ends at Tokiwa Bridge in Kokura, Fukuoka Prefecture. Samurai, Europeans and unusual goods from overseas all passed over this bridge. The road from Nagasaki to Kokura winds along for 223 kilometers. The Nagasaki Kaido helped new culture from overseas eventually take root and become a local tradition.