Monday, April 14, 2014

Nagasaki: Glover Garden

Glover Garden is a park on the Minamiyamate hill overlooking the harbor in Nagasaki.
It was built in late 19th century for the Scottish merchant Thomas Blake Glover. 
Glover came to from Shanghai to Nagasaki in 1859 to trade Japanese green tea. He married a Japanese woman, Tsuru and lived in Nagasaki for a long time. 

He had cordial relations with the Meiji government and is said to have helped the rebel samurai topple the Tokugawa Shogunate.
He is seen as a major contributor to the modernization of Japan and was also awarded the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun. He is said to have helped establish the shipbuilding company which became the Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan. He  set up the Japan Brewery Company, which became Kirin Brewery Company, which is one of Japan's leading breweries. It is said that the moustache of the mythical creature "Kirin" , the logo of Kirin Brewery company is designed after Glover's moustache as a tribute to his contribution ! 
For a brief period, he also managed the Takashima Coal Mine till it was taken over by the Meiji Government. Thomas Glover died at his other home in Tokyo i 1911 at the age of 73 and was buried at the Sakamoto International Cemetery in Nagasaki. 

His home, the Glover Residence stands in the Glover Garden and is credited as Japan's first Western style building.
The house was built by Koyama Hidenoshin, the master carpenter who also built the early structure of the neighboring Oura Catholic Church.
Construction of the house was completed in 1863.The house is an interesting blend of Western and Japanese architecture. The Western influence is visible in the stone floored verandahs, arches, French windows and chimney while the Japanese influence is visible in the roof tiles with typical Japanese symbols.
The house has various exhibits which offer a peek into the Glover family's lifestyle. 

Various pictures from his lifetime are also showcased in the house. 

The house was also the venue for his meetings with the rebelling Satsuma and Choshu domain.
The Glover House has also been linked to the noted opera  "Madame Butterfly" by Puccini, which is also set in Nagasaki.

Statues of Puccini and  Miura Tamaki, the Japanese actress who played the role of Cio-Cio, the female protagonist of the opera (Cho-cho means butterfly in Japanese) are also placed in the garden.

Some other notable houses in the Garden are the Ringer House, Alt House and Walker House. 

Ringer House was the home of Fredrick Ringer, an English merchant who initially worked with Glover until he found his own company. This house constructed in 1869 is also designated as an important national cultural property.

Walker House was the home of English businessman, Robert Neill Walker. 

Alt House, constructed in 1865, was the home of William Alt, an English tea merchant. He is credited with introducing Japanese green tea to the west. This house is also designated as an important national cultural property. 

Few other old Western style buildings from other places in Nagasaki were relocated to the Glover Garden to preserve them.
The Mitsubishi No 2 Dock house near the upper entrance also offers good views of the garden, the harbor and Nagasaki city. It used to be a place where ship crews rested while their ship was at the shipyard for repairs. 

Former Nagasaki District Court President's Official Residence, constructed in 1883 is 
Nagasaki's only surviving  Western style government building. 

Some buildings in the Glover Garden:

Fountain of Prayers and Historic Fountain are two fountains in the Glover Garden.

Visitors can enjoy a nice panoramic view of Nagasaki city from the Glover Garden. 


Near the exit is the Nagasaki Traditional Performing Arts Museum. Floats, boats and White and red dragons used for the dragon dance performances in the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival are on display in this museum.

With about 2 million visitors per year, Glover Garden is definitely a much visited attraction in Nagasaki.
The Glover Garden Skyroad is an elevator which carries visitors up the hill to the upper entrance of the Glover Garden. We rode the elevator to enter the park through the upper entrance gate and walked around the garden descending to the lower gate, which is located next to the Oura Catholic Church.
Access: Lower entrance gate is short walk from the Oura Tenshudo shita stop on route 5 of the Nagasaki Street Car. Glover Garden Skyroad is short walk from the Ishibashi stop on route 5 of Nagasaki Street Car. 

Opening Hours: 8:00-18:00 hrs ( extended hours during Golden Week and from Summer to Autumn)

Entrance fees: Adults 610 yen.


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