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Kyushu Travel Guide

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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