Nagasaki / Nagasaki Pilgrimage3 Catholic-related sites in Nagasaki city

Nagasaki Pilgrimage3 Catholic-related sites in Nagasaki city

A pilgrimage around Nagasaki encapsulates the unique history of Nagasaki, from the 250-year ban against Christianity and the atomic bomb to the church and miraculous figure of Virgin Mary that watched the city's travails. In addition, an introduction is provided to Sotome District, the setting of the novel and film "Silence," which is receiving worldwide attention.

"Silence," the masterpiece by Shusaku Endo that has been cinematized by Director Martin Scorsese, is a work set in Sotome, Nagasaki City, and other areas, depicting the mental conflict of Catholic followers. It probes into how the weak faced "God" during the ban on Christianity, depicting the Catholics of Sotome who quietly and humbly kept faith, believing in the prophecy that a "Catholic priest shall come in seven generations" and another about the priest who renounced his faith.

Oura Cathedral

Oura Cathedral

Oura Cathedral is the oldest church that exists in Japan. In 1865, shortly after the church's construction, some Hidden Christians came to this church and confessed their faith to a French priest named Father Petitjean. They had been keeping their faith in secret for almost 250 years, all throughout Japan's long prohibition on Christianity. This was declared as the "miracle of the Orient" by the Pope priest Upon entering the church, it is still possible to see the same statue of the Virgin Mary that Hidden Christians famously asked to see on that day. An exhibition about Saint Maximilian Kolbe of Poland, who was killed at Auschwitz, is displayed in the Christian reference room of the former Latin Seminary School. These buildings are set to be listed as World Heritage sites in 2018.

Location5-3 Minamiyamatemachi Town, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Opening hours8:00am-6:00pm (Reception open until 5:45pm)
Admission feeAdmission-Adults: 600 yen; students: 400 yen (high school and junior high school), 300 yen (elementary schools); for details, contact Oura Cathedral
Facility InformationClick here
AccessClick here

Urakami Cathedral

Urakami Cathedral

After 250 years of the ban against Christianity, the parishioners of Urakami who caused the "Miracle in the East" overcame adversity yet again to build the Urakami Cathedral, famed as the largest in the East at the time, with the help of a French priest. However, the church was located only 500 meters from the hypocenter of the atomic bomb and was completely destroyed on August 9, 1945 at the end of World War II. A wooden figure of the Virgin Mary, miraculously found among the rubble, was dubbed the "Hibaku no Maria" (literally, the "A-bombed Mary"). This wooden statue watches over the rebuilt city. For inquiries regarding praying within the chapel which houses the original statue of the Hibaku no Maria, please consult the reception desk inside Urakami Cathedral.

Location1-79 Motoo Town, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Mass ApplicationFor enquiries regarding the use of Urakami Cathedral, 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
  • 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
AccessClick here (Japanese)

Saint Kolbe Memorial Museum / Hongouchi Church & Lourdes

Saint Kolbe Memorial Museum / Hongouchi Church & Lourdes

The Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, Saint Kolbe, arrived in Nagasaki in 1930. He established a monastery in 1931 and opened the Hongouchi Seminary, a previous incarnation of the Seibo no Kishi (Knights of the Immaculata) School, five years later inside the monastery. He made great efforts to propagate the faith through publications and to nurture Japanese priests, before returning to Poland in 1936. He was martyred, however, in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp after the invasion of the Nazis and was later canonized.
The Saint Kolbe Memorial Museum exhibits items with connections to Saint Kolbe and other relics, such as the articles of Friar Zenon, who came to Japan with Kolbe and devoted himself to saving war orphans. The second through fifth floors are currently being used as a living space for seminarians aspiring to join the OFM.
After Pope John Paul II arrived in Nagasaki in 1981, he visited the Seibo no Kishi Monastery and Saint Kolbe Memorial Museum. It is said that he had tears in his eyes, having been greatly moved after touching the relics left by Saint Kolbe.

Location2-2-1 Hongouchi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Mass ApplicationFor enquiries regarding the use of Hongouchi Church (Order of Friars Minor Conventual), please contact Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre :ch-info@kyoukaigun.jp
Opening hours9:00am-5:00pm (Saint Kolbe Museum)
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

Nyoko-do, Site of the Chokata Residence / Takashi Nagai Memorial Hall

Nyoko-do, Site of the Chokata Residence / Takashi Nagai Memorial Hall

Dr. Takashi Nagai, a medical doctor and devoted Catholic who examined Fr. Kolbe, lost his beloved wife (who was a descendant of a Chokata, leader of Hidden Christians) in the nuclear. He himself battled against leukemia but continued to aid the injured and conduct research. He prepared materials on radiation sickness, leaving behind numerous books, poems, and drawings. Nyoko-do doubled as his study and sickroom. The people of Urakami, who lost everything in the atomic bombing, constructed this building for the doctor on the site of a Chokata residence. The doctor named the building "Nyoko-do" (As Thyself Hall), drawing from the words of Jesus Christ, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

Location22-6 Uenomachi Town, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Opening hours9:00am-5:00pm
Admission feeNyokodo-Free; Takashi Nagai Memorial Hall (Exhibit hall first floor) - General Adults 100 yen, students or schoolers (elementary, junior high, high school): free
Facility InformationClick here

Endo Shusaku Literature Museum

Endo Shusaku Literature Museum

This is an elegant literature museum that stands in a superb location overlooking the East China Sea, with the majestic natural beauty of Sotome unfolding on its doorsteps. Inside the facility, objects such as cherished items, relics, original manuscripts, and the vast collection of books that had been owned by Shusaku Endo, a Roman Catholic, is displayed, introducing his life and process of writing "Silence."

Location77 Higashishitsumachi Town, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Opening hours9:00am-5:00pm
Days ClosedDecember 29th - January 3rd
Admission feeAdults: 360 yen; students (elementary, junior high, high school): 200 yen
Facility InformationClick here

Shitsu Church / Former Shitsu Aid Centre Buildings / Fr. De Rotz Memorial Museum

Shitsu Church / Former Shitsu Aid Center Buildings / Fr. De Rotz Memorial Museum

In 1879, Fr. De Rotz (MEP) located to Kurosaki District of Shitsu, Sotome, where many hidden Christians lived. He devoted his lifetime to Sotome and built the Shitsu Church in 1882 on a windy plateau with an incline. He taught diverse technical skills to women and created a welfare facility for the poor. Shitsu Church is a 2018 World Heritage site candidate.

Location2633 Nishishitsumachi Town, Nagasaki 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 Shitsu Church, please contact Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre :ch-info@kyoukaigun.jp
Opening hours9:00am-5:00pm
Days ClosedFormer Shitsu Aid Centre Buildings: Mondays (the following day if Monday is a holiday) December 29th - January 6th
Admission feeFor Fr. De Rotz Memorial Museum only - Adults: 300 yen, high school, elementary and junior students 100 yen, (includes admission for Sotome Museum of History and Folklore; group discounts available)
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 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
Facility InformationClick here (Japanese)
AccessClick here

Ono Church

Ono Church

The Ono Church was designed by Fr. De Rotz and constructed by Catholic followers. Fr. De Rotz added his touch to the local masonry techniques to build a wall that could withstand strong winds, and the building still retains its original structure today. The Church is a 2018 World Heritage site candidate.

Location2619 Shimo-onomachi Town, Nagasaki 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 ApplicationFor enquiries regarding the use of Ono Church, please contact Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre :ch-info@kyoukaigun.jp
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 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
Facility InformationClick here (Japanese)
AccessClick here

Karematsu Shrine

Karematsu Shrine

The site of the Karematsu Shrine, a rare Christian shrine, was protected as the grave of "the revered Saint John," who supported the faith of Hidden Christians in the region. The "Karematsu Shrine Festival" takes place every November, where mass is held by a Catholic priest and ecumenical prayers are offered.

LocationShimokurosaki Town, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Facility InformationClick here