Nagasaki / Nagasaki Pilgrimage2 Catholic-related sites in Hirado/Unzen/Shimabara

Nagasaki Pilgrimage2 Catholic-related sites in Hirado/Unzen/Shimabara

Ever since Christianity was introduced to Japan, the Nagasaki region has been the center of Christian culture in the country. In this pilgrimage, you will be able to see the place where Christianity was introduced by Francis Xavier in 1550 and its remarkable prosperity. Visitors to these pilgrimage sites can witness how Japan's hidden Christians secretly kept their faith over a period of 250 years amid severe oppression, as well as how Christianity was swiftly revived across the Nagasaki region following the lifting of Japan's long ban on Christianity in 1873.

Saint Francis Xavier Memorial Church

Saint Francis Xavier Memorial Church

Saint Francis Memorial Church stands in Hirado, commemorating the first introduction of Christianity to the Nagasaki region by Saint Francis Xavier in 1550. The memorial church is surrounded by bamboo groves and temples and has become a popular vantage spot for snapshots as a place that offers a "view of a Christian church and a Japanese temple," representing a mixture of Japanese and western culture in the culture of Nagasaki. On the other side stands the Monument to the Martyrdom of Fr. Camillus Costanzo, an Italian missionary.

Location269 Kagamigawa Town, Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Mass applicationFor enquiries regarding the use of Saint Francis Memorial Church, please contact Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre :ch-info@kyoukaigun.jp
Opening hours6:00am-5:00pm (Closed to visitors on Sundays until around 10 AM due to mass.)
*1)At times when a Mass or the other religious ceremony is being held, you may not be able to walk around the church freely. 2)Please note that there may sometimes be occasions when the church is closed. When you are inside the church, please remain quiet and act with consideration for those who worship here.
Admission feeFree *There is an offertory box inside the church for voluntary donations
Advice for Visitors
  • As places of prayer, many of Nagasaki's churches are, under normal circumstances, open. However, for management reasons some churches may be locked.
  • The main door at the front of the church is principally for use when a Mass is being held. Before entering the church, please kindly remove your shoes and place them in the shoe rack provided. Please also remove your hat. Once inside, visitors are politely requested to remain quiet and respect the church's spiritual atmosphere at all times.
  • Photography inside the church is normally forbidden.
  • There are no visitor toilets at the church. Please go to other restroom as much as possible, before arriving.
Click here (Japanese)
Facility InformationClick here

Hirado Castle

Hirado Castle

Hirado Castle stands in an area with a commanding view of Hirado Port. A monument commemorating the landing of Franciscan Fr. Pedro Bautista (26 Martyrs), who was sent to Japan by the Governor-General of the Philippines OFM as an ambassador, lies at the castle entrance.

Location1458 Iwanoue Town, Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Opening hours8:30am-5:30pm
Days ClosedDecember 30-31
Fees510 yen, high school students 300 yen, elementary and junior students 200 yen. (Group discounts available.)
Facility InformationClick here

Shima no Yakata: Museum of Ikitsuki Island, Hirado City

Shima no Yakata: Museum of Ikitsuki Island, Hirado City

A museum that provides visitors with an introduction to Ikitsuki's Hidden Christians.

Location4289-1 Minamimen, Ikitsuki Town, Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Opening hours9:00am-5:00pm
Days ClosedJanuary 1-2 (Special closures possible due to fumigation, etc.)
Fees500 yen, high school students 300 yen, elementary and junior students 200 yen. (Group discounts available.)
Facility InformationClick here

Yamada Church

Yamada Church

Yamada Church contains monuments of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Saint Thomas Nishi, two within a group of canonised martyrs known as St. Thomas Nishi and his 15 Companions.
As the second son of Gaspar Nishi, the governor of Ikitsuki, Fr. Thomas Nishi travelled to Manila around 1620 to become a friar and entered the Monastery of the Rosary (Santo Domingo Monastery) of the Dominican Order. He took his vows in 1625, and his religious name became Thomas of Saint Hyacinth. He studied theology at Saint Thomas University in 1621 and became ordained as the first Dominican priest from Japan in 1626.

Location440-2 Yamadamen, Ikitsuki Town, Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Mass ApplicatonNot accepted for Mass at the moment
For enquiries regarding the visit of Yamada Church for a group of pilgrimage, please contact Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre :ch-info@kyoukaigun.jp
Opening hours9:00am-5:00pm
*1)At times when a Mass or the other religious ceremony is being held, you may not be able to walk around the church freely. 2)Please note that there may sometimes be occasions when the church is closed. When inside the church, please remain quiet and act with consideration for those who worship here.
Admission feeFree *There is an offertory box inside the church for voluntary donations
Advice for Visitors
  • As places of prayer, many of Nagasaki's churches are, under normal circumstances, open. However, for management reasons some churches may be locked.
  • The main door at the front of the church is principally for use when a Mass is being held. Before entering the church, please kindly remove your shoes and place them in the shoe rack provided. Please also remove your hat. Once inside, visitors are politely requested to remain quiet and respect the church's spiritual atmosphere at all times.
  • Photography inside the church is normally forbidden.
  • There are no visitor toilets at the church. Please go to the other restroom as much as possible, before arriving.
Click here (Japanese)
Facility InformationClick here

Site of the Martyrdom at Kurose: Grave of Nishi Gaspar

Site of the Martyrdom at Kurose: Grave of Nishi Gaspar

A churchyard once existed here, built in 1563 with raised crosses. The family of Saint Thomas Nishi, including his father, Gaspar Nishi (one of the 188 blessed martyrs, who became the first martyr of Ikitsuki), as well as his mother and siblings, were executed at this site in 1609. The Christians of Ikitsuki revered this land as the "grave of the venerable Gaspar." As his family risked their lives for their faith, Thomas Nishi travelled to Manila and became a priest in order to promote the spread of Christianity. When he returned to Nagasaki, however, he was martyred and subsequently canonised.

LocationYamadamen, Ikitsuki Town, Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Facility InformationClick here

Tabira Church

Tabira Church

Tabira Church was built by local Christians under the guidance of Italian and French priests, and by a leading church architect in Japan at that time - master builder Yosuke Tetsukawa.

Location19 Kotedamen, Tabira Town, Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Tour Application / Contact InformationIt is necessary to apply for visits at Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre beforehand.
Please submit your application from the website.
Contact:Click here
*Please refrain from directly contacting or sending inquiries to the church.
Mass ApplicatonFor enquiries regarding the use of Tabira Church, please contact Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre :ch-info@kyoukaigun.jp
Opening hours9:00am-5:00pm
Admission feeFree *There is an offertory box inside the church for voluntary donations
Advice for Visitors
  • It is necessary to apply for visits at Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre beforehand.
  • As places of prayer, many of Nagasaki's churches are, under normal circumstances, open. However, for management reasons some churces may be locked.
  • The main door at the front of the church is principally for use when a Mass is being held. Before entering the church, please kindly remove your shoes and place them in the shoe rack provided. Please also remove your hat. Once inside, visitors are politely requested to remain quiet and respect the church's spiritual atmosphere at all times.
  • Photography inside the church is normally forbidden.
  • There are no visitor toilets at the church. Please go to the other restroom as much as possible, before arriving.
Click here
Facility InformationClick here

Shimabara Church

Shimabara Church

Shimabara Church dedicated to the 26 Saints of Japan, where prayers are made to the Christians who became martyrs on the Shimabara Peninsula.

Location1066-3 Shirachimachi Town, Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Mass ApplicationFor enquiries regarding the use of Shimabara Church, please contact Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre :ch-info@kyoukaigun.jp
Opening hours9:00am-5:00pm
Advice for Visitors
  • As places of prayer, many of Nagasaki's churches are, under normal circumstances, open. However, for management reasons some churches may be locked.
  • The main door at the front of the church is principally for use when a Mass is being held. Before entering the church, please kindly remove your shoes and place them in the shoe rack provided. Please also remove your hat. Once inside, visitors are politely requested to remain quiet and respect the church's spiritual atmosphere at all times.
  • Photography inside the church is normally forbidden.
  • There are no visitor toilets at the church. Please go to the other restroom as much as possible, before arriving.
Click here (Japanese)
Facility InformationClick here

Site of Martyrdom at Unzen Jigoku (Unzen Hell)

Site of Martyrdom at Unzen Jigoku (Unzen Hell)

The boiling water of the Unzen Onsen (hot spring) was used in the 17th century for torturing Christians in order to persuade them to renounce their faith. By the 19th century, it became known as a "paradise on Earth," the first hot spring resort in East Asia. It continues to be popular today as a prominent hot spring resort in Japan.

LocationUnzen, Obama Town, Unzen City, Nagasaki Prefecture (the landmark is a crucifix, located at the back of Unzen Jigoku on the Unzen Park Visitor Center side) Google Maps
Facility InformationClick here

Unzen Church

Unzen Church

Unzen Church was built on the occasion of the visit by Saint John Paul II, and is dedicated to those who suffered from Unzen and became martyrs at Nishizaka.

Location422-2 Unzen Fudanohara,Unzen Obama Town, Unzen City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Mass ApplicatonFor enquiries regarding the use of Unzen Church, please contact Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre :ch-info@kyoukaigun.jp
Advice for Visitors
  • As places of prayer, many of Nagasaki's churches are, under normal circumstances, open. However, for management reasons some churches may be locked.
  • The main door at the front of the church is principally for use when a Mass is being held. Before entering the church, please kindly remove your shoes and place them in the shoe rack provided. Please also remove your hat. Once inside, visitors are politely requested to remain quiet and respect the church's spiritual atmosphere at all times.
  • Photography inside the church is normally prohibited.
  • There are no visitor toilets at the church. Please go to the other restroom as much as possible, before arriving.
Click here (Japanese)
Facility InformationClick here

Site of Hinoe Castle

Site of Hinoe Castle

The site of Hinoe Castle contains the remains of the castle of a Christian daimyo (feudal lord) who ruled over the Shimabara Peninsula. The site includes the ruins of the place (called a seminario) where the four members of the Tensho embassy who visited Europe in the 16th century were educated, as well as the remains of temples and shrines that were destroyed at the time when Christianity was flourishing. The site of the Hara Castle is set to be listed as a World Heritage site in 2016.

LocationKita-arima Town, Minamishimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Facility InformationClick here
AccessClick here

Site of Hara Castle

Site of Hara Castle

The site of the Hara Castle contains the castle ruins of Christian daimyo (feudal lord) Arima, who controlled Shimabara. It was the setting of the Shimabara-Amakusa Rebellion, a peasant revolt, which took place in the Shimabara-Amakusa area and became a catalyst for the implementation of the sakoku (national seclusion) policy in Japan. A large amount of human bones and crucifixes have been discovered here. The Sakoku Edict, which was issued five times beginning in 1633, ended with the exclusion of the Portuguese in 1639, one year after the Shimabara-Amakusa Rebellion was suppressed. The site is set to be listed as a World Heritage site in 2018.

LocationMinamiarima Town, Minamishimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Facility InformationClick here
AccessClick here

Arima Christian Heritage Museum

Arima Christian Heritage Museum

The Arima Christian Heritage Museum displays information on the process that led to the ban on Christianity in Japan, as well as the context of the Shimabara-Amakusa Rebellion. Some display items were excavated from the ruins of Hinoe Castle and Hara Castle, including lead crucifixes made from melted bullets and Christianity-related artefacts, such as medals and rosaries.

Location1395 Minamiarima Town Otsu, Minamishimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Opening hours9:00am-6:00pm
Days ClosedThursdays, December 29th-January 3rd
FeesFree
AccessClick here

Site of Martyrdom at Arima and Shimabara

Site of Martyrdom at Arima and Shimabara
LocationKita-arima Town, Minamishimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Facility InformationClick here

Site of Martyrdom at Shimabara

Site of Martyrdom at Shimabara
Location2-7331-1 Bentenmachi Town, Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture (Shimbara Onsen, inside Hotel Nampuro grounds) Google Maps
Tour Application / Contact InformationHotel Nampuro Click here
AccessClick here