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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.


 - ● Churches and Cathedrals