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Kyushu Travel Guide in Japan

Tabira Church


The church was designed by Tetsukawa Yosuke, a famous architect of various churches in

Nagasaki-prefecture, and built between December 1915 and October 1917. It is one of the

latest brick churches in the prefecture of Nagasaki. Tetsukawa Yosuke has called this one of

his best works.


The history of the Tabira district began with the work of two foreign missionaries. In 1886,

the French missionary Emile Raguet, in charge of Kuroshima Church at the time, purchased

one hectare (2.5 acres) of wilderness at his own expense and urged three families in need to

settle there. The same year, Marc-Marie de Rotz of Shitsu Church bought one hectare and

sent four families to cultivate the pristine land. Gradually the number of the settlers increased a

nd reached 80 families by the early Taisho era (1910s).

In 1914, the Japanese priest Nakata Tokichi arrived in the parish. To replace the humble prayer

house, he made tremendous efforts to raise funds for a formal church. Tetsukawa Yosuke designed

the brick building, and the parishioners cooperated in the construction project, gathering a large

number of seashells and burning them into lime powder. The site of the processing ground still

remains in front of the church. Construction was finally completed under Tetsukawa’s supervision

in 1918. The brick church was the architect’s last in a long series of ecclesiastical works.


The beautiful building facing Hirado Strait offers artists and photographers a motif typical of the Tabira

district. The church has been designated an important cultural asset by the Japanese government.



General information  

Address 19 Kotedamen, Tabiracho, Hirado-city, Nagasaki-prefecture

1 hours and 50 minutes by a vehicle from Nagasaki-city

50 minutes by a vehicle from Sasebo-city

2 hour and 15 minutes by a vehicle from Fukuoka-city

Open hours 9:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 17:00
Admission fee No fee is required
Days closed No closing day


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 - Hirado travel guide, UNESCO Hidden Christian Sites, Blog