In 1636, the Edo Shogunate ordered the people of Nagasaki to create the artificial island of Dejima. Many Japanese people had converted to Christianity because of the efforts of Portuguese missionaries and traders, and it was hoped that confining the Portuguese to the island would stop this trend. The island was uninhabited briefly in 1639 when Poruguese ships were banned from Japan entirely, but the Dutch East India Company soon moved their operations there. For the next 200 years, while Japan pursued a policy of isolationism, Dejima was the only port open to the outside world.

The island itself is fan shaped. It's about 230 feet long on the east and west sides and 623 feet on the north side. Actually, the word "island" almost seems inappropriate to describe Dejima. While it is true that the area is completely surrounded by water, it is only a couple of feet from shore.

Today Dejima is a National Historic site. The restored buildings contain exhibits of interesting objects and rooms arranged to evoke the ambiance of the time.

This exhibit shows some of the plants the Dutch traders introduced to Japan. They also introduced the Japanese to coffee, beer, potatoes, parsley, cabbage, tomatoes, and chocolate.

I always enjoy coming across curiosities such as this. What were those crazy Dutch traders thinking?

This is a large outside model of Dejima.

After touring the museum, we took a walk along the Nakashima River and admired the many old stone bridges. This one is called Spectacles Bridge because the reflection in the water resembles a pair of eyeglasses.

Gotta have some cat pictures.

As you walk further up the river, it becomes more wild looking.

After our walk, it was time to do laundry and to rest up for a really big adventure the next day.