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Hirado travel guide


Hirado is the first place where Portuguese ships landed in Japan in 1549, and after that

St. Francis Xavier visited in 1550, and Japanese Christianity started here in Hirado.

In the 1580s, the Portuguese established a trading station, followed soon by the Dutch

and the British.

Hirado is located north-west side of Nagasaki and facing to Genkai Sea, and is mainly

composed of Kitamatsuura Peninsula, Hirado Island and Ikitsuki Island, which are

connected by Hirado bridge and Ikitsuki bridge.



Where to explore


Hirado Castle

Stands on a hill guarding Hirado Port and the Hirado Strait, which

used to be part of an important trade route between Japan and the

Asian mainland. The original fortress was built in 1599 by the

local Matsura Lord.


Dutch Trading Post

Set up in Hirado in 1609 as the base of operations of the Dutch East

India Company in Japan. The building seen today is a warehouse which

was originally constructed here in 1639 as part of the trading post, but

torn down just three years later after the Dutch had been relocated to

Dejima Island in the port of Nagasaki.


Nakae no Shima / UNESCO World Heritage

Located two kilometers off the coast of Hirado Island, Nakae no Shima is

a small, uninhabited island where religious leaders were executed during

the persecution of Christians. The island is considered sacred, and water

collected there is used for baptism.


Kasuga Village / UNESCO World Heritage

This idyllic, remote village was refuge to a small community of Hidden

Christians who practiced here for centuries, far from the prying eyes of

the government. After the ban on Christianity was lifted, the local villagers

decided to continue practicing their own unique brand of the religion

rather than region the Catholic Church.


St Francis Xavier Memorial Church

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.


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.


Matsura Historical Museum

The museum stores and displays the historical collection of the Matsura

family who ruled over the northern area of Nagasaki prefecture since the

13th century. The museum is housed in the former private residence of

the Matsura family, the grand Tsurugamine Mansion, built in 1893. Hirado

has a long history of overseas exchange due to its geographical location.


Yamada Church

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.


General information  

Address City hall : 1508-3 Iwanoue-cyo, 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

Population 30,100   Population density 128













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