Minamiyamate Stories


From its establishment in 1863 until the construction of the Nagasaki Hotel in 1898, the 
Belle Vue Hotel was the largest and most luxurious hotel in Nagasaki. An 1867 account by 
the British visitor N.B. Dennys describes the Belle Vue as "a well conducted place much 
frequented by visitors; at its table d'hote dinner can be had for a dollar, while for visitors 
the cost of living per week, everything included, amounts to twenty-one dollars. It has a 
very fine view over the harbour and city." (The Treaty Ports of China and Japan, p. 570.)

The hotel was built by at Minamiyamte No. 11A by Matthew Green, the constable to the 
British consulate, and the proprietor was his wife, Mary Elizabeth. Matthew Green, who was 
born a British citizen at sea near Malta c.1825, was in Nagasaki by at least early 1861. He 
came initially without Mary and their two daughters. In May 1861, Mary wrote from 
Lancashire to the British Consul of Nagasaki, George Morrison, stating that she had not 
heard from Matthew since his departure from England. By the following year, Mary and the 
girls had joined Matthew in Nagasaki and the entire family was residing at Myogyoji Temple, 
which served as the early home for the British consular staff.  

Matthew Green had been renting the vacant lot at Minamiyamate No. 11A since 1861. In 
the fall of 1862, construction began on a building on the site. The building was used initially 
as a temporary home of the British Consulate in July 1863. By October, Mary Green, with 
the assistance of the Italian C.N. Mancini, was operating the Belle Vue Hotel there. In early 
1865, Mancini left the hotel to work as a confectioner in town and was replaced briefly by 
Edward Kettle.

In February 1866, while Matthew was away from Nagasaki, Mary was joined at the Belle Vue 
by her sister. Matthew returned for a few months, but by September, had departed 
Nagasaki permanently. By November, the Belle Vue was being operated by Mary's former 
employee, C.N. Mancini.

Mary Green reappeared in the records of Nagasaki in September 1868, as the proprietor of 
the Commercial Hotel at Oura No. 27. She seems, however, never to have completely 
severed her ties with the Belle Vue. According to a February 1870 newspaper account, 
Mary had moved from the Belle Vue Hotel to the Commercial Hotel and was prepared to 
receive guests there. At the beginning of April, Mary had the Belle Vue Hotel up for sale 
and on April 9th, there was a notice stating that Mrs. Alexander Stewart had taken over at 
the Belle Vue.

Mary Green seems to have left the Commercial Hotel for Kobe in 1873. In April 1874, the 
lot housing the Commercial Hotel was transferred to C.N. Mancini. It was taken over briefly 
by Walter Graham in November of the same year, but in July 1876, it once again was 
transferred to Mancini. That same year, Mancini married nineteen year-old Josephine 
Reymond, who would help him operate first the Commercial and later the Belle Vue Hotel.

For a few years, the Belle Vue served as the home of the Great Northern Telegraph 
Company, before being taken over by R.H. Powers in May 1876. Neither the Commercial 
nor the Belle Vue Hotel survived the year, however, because both went out of business as a 
result of a glut of hotels in Nagasaki. Some of the contents of the Commercial Hotel were 
auctioned off on July 31st, and the Belle Vue closed on December 15th.

The Belle Vue did not remain closed long. In March 1877, its reopening in a few weeks was 
announced. In December, the bowling alleys from the old Commercial Hotel were moved to 
the Belle Vue Hotel. The new proprietors were none other than C.N. and Josephine 

In May of 1879, with C.N. Mancini gravely ill, Gerardus Van der Vlies came from Kobe to 
serve as proprietor of the Belle Vue Hotel. He held this position for about two years, after 
which Josephine Mancini took over once again.  

C. N. Mancini died in 1880, and the following year Josephine married a British merchant in 
Nagasaki named Albert A.S. Drewell. Together, the couple ran the Belle Vue Hotel 
intermittently from 1881 to September 1888 when they moved permanently to Kobe. 

In between the Drewells, two others briefly ran the Belle Vue Hotel: F. Rischof became 
proprietor in May 1883, and by 1884, Van der Vlies was back again, assisted by Mrs. M. 
Labastie. Suffering from cancer, Van der Vlies died in November 1885 and was buried in 
the Oura International Cemetery.

On October 1, 1888, R.A. van Middeldijk succeeded the Drewells as proprietor of the Belle 
Vue Hotel. He was replaced on December 17, 1889 by Frenchman Auguste Harmand and 
his wife. Auguste died of chronic lung disease on July 11, 1893 at the age of fifty-nine. His 
wife continued to serve as proprietor of the hotel until late September 1898, when she put 
the Belle Vue up for sale and returned to France.

In November 1898, Bindo Bay took over operation of the Belle Vue Hotel. He and his wife 
Emily ran the hotel until October 1904, when they had to close it because of the trade 
depression brought on by the Russo-Japanese War.  

The Belle Vue remained empty for two years before being reopened by K. Nishizaki on 
October 1, 1906. Backed in his venture by a number of Japanese businessmen from 
Nagasaki, Nishizaki's ownership ended forty years of foreign operation.  

Nishizaki managed to keep the Belle Vue open until early 1920, when he closed the fifty-
seven year-old hotel due to the financial depression that followed World War I. Today, the 
site is occupied by the ANA Hotel Nagasaki Gloverhill.

Click here for a photograph of the Belle Vue Hotel in its heyday.