Nagasaki Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese長崎県
 • RōmajiNagasaki-ken
Flag of Nagasaki Prefecture
Official logo of Nagasaki Prefecture
Anthem: Minami no kaze
Location of Nagasaki Prefecture
Coordinates: 32°58′N 129°48′E / 32.967°N 129.800°E / 32.967; 129.800Coordinates: 32°58′N 129°48′E / 32.967°N 129.800°E / 32.967; 129.800
Country Japan
SubdivisionsDistricts: 4, Municipalities: 21
 • GovernorOishi Kengo
 • Total4,130.88 km2 (1,594.94 sq mi)
 • Rank37th
 (June 1, 2020)
 • Total1,314,078
 • Rank27th
 • Density320/km2 (820/sq mi)
 • Dialects
ISO 3166 codeJP-42
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.


See also: Historic Sites of Nagasaki Prefecture

Nagasaki Prefecture was created by merging of the western half of the former province of Hizen with the island provinces of Tsushima and Iki.[1] Facing China and Korea, the region around Hirado was a traditional center for traders and pirates.

Kuichi Uchida's image of Nagasaki in 1872
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
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.

Nagasaki Prefecture contains many areas prone to heavy rain and 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.[2]


See also: List of cities in Nagasaki Prefecture by population

Map of Nagasaki Prefecture     City      Town
Map of Nagasaki Prefecture
     City      Town
Night view of Nagasaki City
Night view of Nagasaki City

Thirteen cities are located in Nagasaki Prefecture:

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


These are the towns and villages of each district:

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


Main article: List of mergers in Nagasaki Prefecture

The following municipalities have been dissolved since the year 2000.



Religious denominations in the Nagasaki Prefecture (1996)[3]

  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.


View of Osezaki Lighthouse on Fukue Island
View of Osezaki Lighthouse on Fukue Island
Grave of William Adams in Hirado
Grave of William Adams in Hirado
Shimabara Castle
Sōfuku-ji Ōbaku Zen temple in Nagasaki
Sōfuku-ji Ōbaku Zen temple in Nagasaki
Kujūku Islands in Sasebo
Kujūku Islands in Sasebo





Expressways and toll roads

National highways




Main article: Politics of Nagasaki

The current governor of Nagasaki is former vice-governor Hōdō Nakamura. First elected in 2010 to succeed Genjirō Kaneko, he was reelected for a second term in 2014.

The prefectural assembly of Nagasaki 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. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 780, at Google Books.
  2. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  3. ^ Religion in Japan by prefecture, 1996. English language bar table.

General references