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Shimabara Castle

 

Shimabara Castle, is located in Shimabara-city and was built in 1625 by the feudal load Matsukura Shigemasa, who was regarded as a master of castle building.

The castle, which took 7 years to complete, is also known as “Moritake Castle”.

It was an almost rectangular flatland castle built in the Renkaku-style.

Also, it was a superb example of a castle where three layered yagura turrets were placed at strategic points around the five-layered donjon which was influenced by the architectural style of the

Azuchi-Momoyama period.

Through it was demolished in 1874 during Meiji Restoration, west turret called “Nishi-no-yagura” was

first restored in 1960 and the donjon was restored in 1964.

In the castle, the Christianity Museum has been established. Many  Christian historical materials,

local collection, and ethnic collections are exhibited in the museum.

 

View from the Castle tower 

 


 

General information

Address 1-1183-1 Jonai Shimabara-city, Nagasaki-prefecture
Access

80 minutes by vehicle from Nagasaki Airport

100 minutes by behicle from Nagasaki-city

10 minutes walk from Shimatetsu Shimabara Station

Open hours 9:00 to 17:30
Admission fee JPY 540 to enter the Castle tower
Days closed December 29 and 30

 

Samurai Houses

 

Samurai was a term for the military nobility in pre-industrial Japan.

The Samurai Houses in Shimabara along the old Samurai street nearby Shimabara Castle

were built in 18th century.

Three samurai houses, the Yamamoto residenceShinozuka residence and Torita residence, are

opened to the public exhibiting the life style of old Samurai.

 

 


 

General information

Address Shimonocho, Shimabara-city, Nagasaki-prefecture
Access

80 minutes by vehicle from Nagasaki Airport

100 minutes by behicle from Nagasaki-city

15 minutes walk from Shimatetsu Shimabara Station

Open hours 9:00 to 17:00
Admission fee No fee is required
Days closed December 29 and 30

 

Hinoe Castle Ruins

 

During the period of the Southern and Northern Courts (1337-92), the Arima family ruling the

Shimabara Peninsula constructed a castle named Hinoe-jo.

The 14th lord, Harunobu (1567-1612) was a Christian daimyo and refurbished his castle into

a large scale which had gardens, a tea arbor and many rooms.

 

There remain stone walls around the site of the front gate. A recent survey reveals that the construction

materials including the stone steps were diverted from tombstones in Buddhist grave-yards which the

lord had demolished.

 

The fact indicates the religious situation in those days when Christianity was flourishing. In 1982,

the location of the ruined castle was designated as a National Historic Site.

 


 

Featured tours related to Shimabara

11 days Kyushu tour

8 days Northern Kyushu tour

6 days North-West Kyushu tour

Hidden Christian History tour

 


 

Harajo Castle Ruins

 

Site of Historic Battle field of Shimabara Rebellion

Harajo Castle ruin is located in Minami-arima in Minami-Shimabara-city and the Battle field

of Shimabara Rebellion which was a peasant uprising agaist bakufu’s persecution of

Christians under the leadership of Amakusa Shiro in 1637.

It was founded by Arima Takazumi in 1496 and was a flat castle with a fortress naturally created

both by the cliff facing Ariake Sea and the tide coming in. This Castle was abandoned since

Matsudaira. 

Shigemasa, the load of Shimabara, built Shimabara Castle after the rupture of Arima family ties. 
Christian farmers rose in a riot due to their grievance about the oppression by Matsukura 
Shigemasa.
The Shogunate regarded this riot as Christian rebellion and sent its punitive force, therefore
locked themselves in the castle and with their leader Amakusa Shiro Tokisada fought against
the Shogunate.

On February 27, 1638, he died in battle. The following day, the castle fell. 37,000 Christians

including women and children died a violent death. 

It is registered on the World Heritage as Hidden Chriarian Sites.

 

Shimabara

 

Region spread in the foot of gentle mountain and facing to calm sea

 

Shimabara is consist of two cities on Shimabara peninsula, Shimabara-city west side of

peninsula and Minami-Shmabara-city south-west side of peninsula.

Located in the foot of mount Unzen and facing Ariake Bay,  and those geographical conditions

and mild climate create natural scenic beauty

in the east and Mt. Unzen including Mt. Fugen. 

 

The region offers various enjoyable things such as Nature, Onsen, Castle town of Shimabara-city,

Hidden Christian history as well as Local Gourmets.

 


 

Exploring Shimabara

 

Shimabara Castle

Located in Shimabara-city and was built in 1625 by the feudal load Matsukura Shigemasa, who was

regarded as a master of castle building.

The castle, which took 7 years to complete, is also known as “Moritake Castle”.


 

Samurai Houses

Samurai was a term for the military nobility in pre-industrial Japan.

The Samurai Houses in Shimabara along the old Samurai street nearby Shimabara Castle

were built in 18th century.

 


 

Harajo Castle ruins

Site of Historic Battle field of Shimabara Rebellion, registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site

as Hidden Christian Site, to tell the Christian faith continued even during the ban on Christianity.

Located in Minami-Shimabara-city, the Battle field of Shimabara Rebellion which was a peasant

uprising agaist bakufu’s persecution of Christians under the leadership of Amakusa Shiro in 1637.

 


 

Ferry to Kumamoto, from Shimabara

Two ferries are operated form Shimabara to Kumamoto

Kyusho Ferry : operated by Kyusho Ferry, 60 minutes ride

Ocean Arrow : operated by Kumamoto Ferry, 30 minutes ride

             Shimabara port

                 Ocean Arrow

                Kumamoto port


 

Ferry to Amakusa (Oniike) , from Kuchinotsu (Minami-Shimabara-city)

Shimatetsu Ferry : operated by Shinabara Rail Way, 30 minutes ride.

            Kuchinotsu port

                   Kuchinotsu

                 To Amakusa

 


 

                 Location of Shimabara

   

 

 


 

General information

Address Shimabara-city, Nagasaki-prefecture
Access

90 minutes by a vihecle from Nagasaki-city

70 minutes by a vihecle from Nagasaki Air port

30 minutes by a vihecle from Unzen-city

 


 

Mount Unzen

 

Symbol of Shimabara peninsula, Mount Unzen

 

Located at the centre of Shimabara peninsula, in Nagasaki-prefecture.

 

Consist of 9 mountains, the highest is Heisei-sinzan (1483 m) formed by volcanic explosion

from 1990 to 1995, second highest is Fugen-dake (1359m) which was the highest until

Heisei-shinzan formed by explosion, and Myoken-dake (1359m ) has access from Nita pass

by the Rope way.

 

        Shimabara peninsula

               Heisen-shinzan

 

    Myoken-dake & Fugen-dake

The mount Unzen is part of Unzen National park, and makes Onsen Resorts with different

feature of each such as Unzen, Obama and Shimabara Onsen Resorts.

 

        Unzen Onsen Resort

        Obama Onsen Resort

      Shimabara Onsen Resort

The mountain can be seen from the almost all area of Shimabara Peninsula, and different

gentle scenic beauty of the mountain can be enjoyed from each areas.

 


 

Featured tours related to Unzen

11 days Kyushu tour

8 days Northern Kyushu tour

6 days North-West Kyushu tour

Hidden Christian History tour

 


 

Hidden Christian Sites in Nagasaki Region, World Heritage Site

 

Congratulations on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site registration

 

Japan’s unique practice of the Christian faith continued even during the ban on Christianity

 

Hidden Christian Site in Nagasaki Regions bear unique testimony to the tradition of people and

their communities who secretly transmitted their faith in Christianity while surviving in the midst of

the conventional society and its religions during the time of prohibition.

 

Oura Cathedral

It was built in 1865 under the supervision of the French priest Bernard Petitjean.

On March 17, 1865, a group of peasants from Urakami came to the church and professed their faith to

Father Petitjean, thus revealing that Christianity had survived through the centuries of persecution.

The white marble statue of the Holy Mother at the entrance was built in commemoration of

the dramatic discovery of the “Hidden Christians.

Access: a 10minited walk from Ouratensyudo-shita tram station

 


 

Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan

Their long trek to the Cross, verification of their faith in God and their chant for ascension
are well visualized with memorial made by Yasutake Funakoshi. On February 5, 1597, Paulo Miki
and 25 others were crucified for their belief in God on order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. 

The martyrs including four Spaniards, one from Goa, India, one Mexican and 20 Japanese

demonstrated their spiritual unity despite differences in races, ages and professions.

By putting them to death, Hideyoshi threatened people, saying “I hereby ban Christianity”. 
Responded the martyrs’ chant “All people, bless God! ”  Death and life, liberty and persecution
and Dictators and the people confronted on Nishizaka Hill. 
Access: a 10minited walk from JR Nagasaki station

 


 

Sotome area

The mission base of de Rotz, who dedicated himself to assisting the needy

When he discovered the underground Christians, Petitjean realized that there were many other

Christians hiding in the Sotome region.

He appointed de Rotz as the parish priest of the Shitsu and Kurosaki districts. On an elevation commanding a view over the Sea of Goto, he established a church at his own expense. The building was extended and renovated again and again. A statue of Mary that he ordered from France is standing in the bell tower.

Access: about One hour from Center of Nagasaki-city by a vehicle  

 


 

Harajo Castle ruins

Harajo Castle ruin is located in Minami-Shimabara-city and the Battle field of Shimabara

Rebellion which was a peasant uprising agaist bakufu’s persecution of Christians under the

leadership of Amakusa Shiro in 1637.

Christian farmers rose in a riot due to their grievance about the oppression by Matsukura Shigemasa.
The Shogunate regarded this riot as Christian rebellion and sent its punitive force, therefore locked themselves
in the castle and with their leader Amakusa Shiro Tokisada fought against the Shogunate.
On February 27, 1638, he died in battle. The following day, the castle fell. 37,000 Christians including women
and children died a violent death. 
Access : about two hours from Center of Nagasaki-city by a vehicle  
 

 

Jigoku, means Hell, is the number one attraction of Unzen with a peculiar smell of sulfur emitted from

the springs, and with white smoke rising from the ground over a wide area.

This is a striking reminder that Unzen Volcano is still very much alive.

Unfortunately, this was once put into reality nearly 350 years ago during the time of religious persecution

in Japan.  30 Japanese Christians, failing to renounce their faith met  their death here in the scalding 

spring of Jigoku.

Access : about two hours from Center of Nagasaki-city by a vehicle  

 

 


 

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Samurai Street

 

Samurai street lined with stone walls and a spring water canal running down the center

commemorates the old samurai section of Shimabara.

Three Samurai houses have been restored and opened as exhibits.

 


 

General information

Address Shimonocho, Shimabara-city, Nagasaki-prefecture
Access

80 minutes by vehicle from Nagasaki Airport

100 minutes by behicle from Nagasaki-city

15 minutes walk from Shimatetsu Shimabara Station