Sou-toh-ree-toh-kah

It was one of the many words in Japanese class that gave me immense pleasure to say. It wasn't streeto-car or sou-toh-reet-cah, but a mouthful of syllables: sou-toh-ree-toh-kah. Its one of those words that has been appropriated into the Japanese language from English in a unique and, to me anyway, delightful, way. It's also one of those borrowed words that you have to say several times, out loud, to figure out what it is referring to. It took me many tries to get it right and when a Japanese friend told me it wouldn't be much use in Japan, I was terribly disappointed. That is, until I arrived in Nagasaki.

For you see, there is only one way to get around Nagasaki and that is by streetcar. Sorry, I mean, sou-toh-ree-toh-kah.

The Nagasaki Electric Tramway Company began operations in 1915, on November 16. It's survived a number of disasters, not the least of which was the atomic bomb, dropped on the city on August 9, 1945. Despite such setbacks, it has extended services throughout the last century and now comprises of 4 lines, 74 cars and 39 stops traversing the whole of Nagasaki city. And because streetcars have the right of way at all times, it is the fastest, cheapest and safest way to get around.

How to use a streetcar (copied from the brochure)

  1. Be sure the car is going to your destination.
  2. Get on the car through the back door. (Pay the fare when you get off)
  3. Push a button on the wall before the car arrives at your stop.
  4. Get off through the front door, and put the fare in the fare-box beside the driver.
There is a flat fee of 100¥ for adults and 50¥ for children on all streetcars. A daily pass is available for 500¥ at the front desk of most major hotels in Nagasaki city. Operating hours are 6:15 to 23:28.

Lines:
(stop: tourist attractions)

Number 1-Blue-7.3 km-31 minutes
Akasako
Sumiyoshi
Chitose machi
Wakaba machi
Nagasakidaigaku mae
Iwayabashi
Urakamishako mae
Ohashi
Matsuyama machi: Nagasaki Peace Park, Urukami Cathedral, A-bomb Museum
Hamagushi machi
Daigakubyoin mae: Second Torii Arch at Sanno Shinto Shrine
Urakamieki mae:Sakamoto International Cemetery
Mori machi
Zenza machi
Takara machi: Inasa Mountain
Yachiyo machi
Nagasakieki mae: Site of Martyrdom of the 26 Saints, Nagasaki central train station
Goto machi
Ohato: Ohato port terminal
Dejima: Dejima Museum
Tsuki machi: Shinchi Chinatown
Nishihamano-machi
Kanko dori
Shianbashi
Shokakuji shita: Sofukuji Temple

Number 3-Red-7.4 km-29 minutes
Akasako
Sumiyoshi
Chitose machi
Wakaba machi
Nagasakidaigaku mae
Iwayabashi
Urakamishako mae
Ohashi
Matsuyama machi: Nagasaki Peace Park, Urukami Cathedral, A-bomb Museum
Hamagushi machi
Daigakubyoin mae: Second Torii Rch at Sanno Shinto Shrine
Urakamieki mae:Sakamoto International Cemetery
Mori machi
Zenza machi
Takara machi: Inasa Mountain
Yachiyo machi
Nagasakieki mae: Site of Martyrdom of the 26 Saints, Nagasaki central train station
Sakura machi
Kokaido mae: Kofukuji Temple
Suwajinja mae: Suwa Shrine
Shindaiku machi
Shinnakagawa machi: Siebold Memorial Museum
Hotarujaya

Number 4-Yellow-2.9 km-13 minutes
Hotarujaya
Shinnakagawa machi: Siebold Memorial Museum
Shindaiku machi
Suwajinja mae: Suwa Shrine
Kokaido mae: Kofukuji Temple
Higiwaibashi
Nishihamano-machi
Kanko dori
Shianbashi
Shokakuji shita: Sofukuji Temple

Number 5-Green-3.5-18 minutes
Hotarujaya
Shinnakagawa machi: Siebold Memorial Museum
Shindaiku machi
Suwajinja mae: Suwa Shrine
Kokaido mae: Kofukuji Temple
Higiwaibashi
Nishihamano-machi
Shiminbyoin mae: Hollander Slope
Ourakaigan dori
Ouratenshudo shita: Confucian Shrine, Glover Garden, 16 Bankan, Oura Catholic Church
Ishibashi