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Catholic Unzen Church


The Church is dedicated to Antonio Ishida and others who were martyred in the

Unzen jigoku from 1627 to 1632 and was built in 1982 to commemorate Pope

John Paul II’s visit to Nagasaki.


The number of believers in the church is small, but many pilgrims visit, since it is

also a place of martyrdom.

Imamura Cathedral, in Fukuoka-prefecture


Imamura Cathedral is located in Tachiarai, Fukuoka-prefecture.

A Christian group was born in this region in the late 16th century.

When Christianity was banned, I continued my faith as a hidden Christian.

The twin-towered Romanesque-style brick Cathedral planned by Father

Tamotsu Honda and completed in 1923 with financial aid from foreign countries.

It was designed and constructed by Yosuke Tetsukawa, who was a master

church builder at the time.

The Cathedral has been designated as a national important cultural property.

Yamano Church, in Hirado


Yamano Church was built in 1924 in the Yamano area, where is halfway of

Mount Yasuman. Most people living in this area are Christians.


The ancestors of the Yamano village fled persecution from Nishisonogi and

Sotome to Goto island during ban on Christianity.

However, they were unable to live on Goto island, so they moved to this area of

Hirado Island between 1820 and 1830.

Sakitsu Church, in Amakusa


A Gothic-looking church is located on a cove of a fishing village in Amakusa.

In 1934, a French priest

Augustin Halbout MEP purchased the premises of the former village headman and built a

wooden and concrete finished church, with Tetsukawa Yosuke’s design and construction.

He placed the altar at the very site where fumie or a test to ensure non-allegiance to

Christianity had been conducted.

Oe Cathedral, in Amakusa


The Church is a Pilgrimage site and is the oldest Catholic Church in Amakusa and was one of

the first churches built right after the ban on Christianity was lifted. The Romanesque-style

architecture and the chalky white structure was rebuilt in 1933 by a French missionary priest

named Father Garnier using his own money and contributions from local Christians living in

the area.

Kurosaki Church, in Sotome


The Church is located in Kurosaki district, where was place of the setting for Endo Shusaku’s

novel Silence.  In 1897, the foundations were laid down according to Father de Rotz’s design.

Construction followed and in 1920 the church was completed.

The followers built it brick by brick with their own hands. The modest design serves to bring out the

beauty of the bricks.  Experience the depth when you come inside and see the rib vault ceiling.

The church’s stained glass also leaves a lasting impression.

Shitsu Church, in Sotome


Built in 1882 by Father de Rotz, this low-ceiling church features a brick exterior, wood interior

and stone entranceway.  The roof itself is low in order to limit damage done by strong winds.

The church’s bell was brought here from France by a priest and rings out beautifully every

morning.  The location is famous as the place where the movie “Gege” was filmed.

Yamada Church, in Hirado


After the discovery of the numerous hidden Christians in Ikitsuki Island in 1865, they began

to work on recovering their Catholic faith although they were not too successful at first.

Then in 1878, a priest named Fr. Pelu came to Hirado and baptized many people who are

said to be the ancestors of the churchgoers of Yamada Church today.

The butterfly-wing decorations adorning the wall surface of the church interior was personally

made and painted on by the priest at the time, and the mosaic-like paintings are made from

actually, ground butterfly wings. These are considered as one of the church’s “seven sacraments.”

In 1981, St. Thomas Nishi along with 15 other martyrs were beatified in the Philippines. St.Thomas

was later canonized and a statue of him was built in commemoration of his canonization, in a

garden in Ikitsuki.


St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church, in Hirado


This church is a catholic church in Hirado, Nagasaki. Hirado is a place where Francis

Xavier visited 3 times in Japan to spread Christianity, and even during the Kinkyo

Ordinance of the Edo Period that prohibited religions, Christianity was very widespread.

For that reason when the ordinance was lifted this church was constructed, and the image

of Francis Xavier was put on the side.

One of the sites of the town is “the view of temples and church” which can be had halfway up

the lane leading up the hill. The church was originally built on a different site in 1913, but was

reconstructed at its present location in 1931.

Tabira Church, in Hirado


The church is a Christian Pilgrimage site and 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 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.

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.