The most fun way to gain an understanding of Nagasaki's unique and important role in Japan's exchange of culture, trade, and ideas with the outside world is to visit this museum. With the help of English-language explanations and a free audio guide, you'll learn about the introduction of Western languages, medicine, astronomy, and other sciences via Nagasaki's contact with the Dutch; Japan's cultural exchanges with China and Korea; Christianity in Japan; and Nagasaki's role as a trading port. Our favorite: displays of Nagasaki arts and crafts, including local artwork influenced by Western and Chinese styles popular at the time and ranging from porcelain and lacquerware to glass and tortoiseshell objects. The adjoining Bugyosho (Magistrate's Office), faithfully reconstructed based on historical records and archaeological digs, is a fine example of mid-1600 Japanese architecture (note the shoji panels that slide around corners to be stored away, thereby opening completely the interior to the exterior). In addition to viewing a short 3-D movie (with an English-language written explanation) recounting a year in the life of the magistrate, you'll see rooms where smugglers were interrogated and brought to trial (there are also periodic live reenactments of trials; contact the tourist office for details). Plan on spending an hour here (more if there is a reenactment).