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Dondon Zaka is a narrow sloped stone walkway that is located in a quiet residential area in Nagasaki's Minami-yamate district. An exotic atmosphere is still retained in this area from the original foreign settlements. Nagasaki is known for its numerous slopes, but this is one of the oldest in the city. The paved stone pathways remain in their original state, and it is said to have been paved after 1877. The mortar that is used to join the stones is a mixture of lime and red clay that is unique to this area. The name of the slope comes from the fact that rain water speeds up rapidly (dondon) as it descends. Dondon Zaka in the rain is a quintessential scene of Nagasaki.
- Minami Yamate-cho, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki
- 10-min walk from Oura Tenshudo Station on Nagasaki Denki Kido (street car).
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
A Beautiful Port Town Revealed at the Top
From the top of Dondon Zaka, you can see the port of Nagasaki and huge cranes that are characteristic of a city of shipbuilding. The slope is pretty steep and narrow, the most popular place for taking photos is at the top where you can clearly see the port town below you.
Odd Shaped Gutters: U-shaped, Triangle and Square
There are gutters alongside the slope called Sankaku-ko (triangle gutter). It controls the speed of a stream of water, and the shapes of the gutters differ from the top of the slope to its bottom. You will find U-shaped gutters and square gutters as well. Those shapes are designed to control the speed and amount of water in the gutters.
Locals' Favorite Maria-en
After turning left, you will find a red brick building called Maria-en by the locals. This building is Seishin convent and orphanage that was founded in 1897. In the center window on the second floor, St. Michael the Archangel spreads his wings and watches over the people who pass by.