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Christian Pilgrimage sites in Nagasaki Region, World Heritage Site



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.



Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan

Nishizaka Hill in Nagasaki is the place of Martyrdom of 26 Japanese Saints. The Twenty-Six Martyrs

of Japan were a group of Catholics who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597.Their

martyrdom is especially significant in the history of the Catholic Church in Japan. In 1950, Pope Pius XII designated this place as an official pilgrimage site for Catholics. And Saint Teresa of Calcutta commonly

known as Mother Teresa visited here in 1982.


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.



Harajo Castle ruins

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

which was a peasant uprising against 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. 


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.



 - UNESCO World Heritage