Nagasaki / Nagasaki Pilgrimage4 The Breath of Christianity on Remote Islands

Nagasaki Pilgrimage4 The Breath of Christianity on Remote Islands

Three thousand hidden Christians moved to the Goto Islands in the late 18th century from Sotome District, Nagasaki City, to seek new ground. Overcoming persecution and days of extreme poverty in a remote, wild land, they dragged their weary bodies to the land and patiently continued to plant the seeds of faith. These efforts came to fruition after their faith was officially approved in 1873, and their seeds blossomed into 50 beautiful churches across the islands. (Includes tentative 2018 World Heritage sites)

Christians' Cave at Wakamatsu Island

Christians' Cave at Wakamatsu Island

When the persectution of Goto-kuzure occured in the early Meiji era, the oppressed Christians of Satonoura, Wakamatsu Island, hid inside a cave in a steep cliff wall, where they could only be reached by boat. However, the smoke from their fire was spotted by a boat, and they were arrested and tortured. This cave was later called "Kirishtianwando" (Christians' Cave), with a crucifix and a 3-meter tall statue of Christ erected at the entrance in 1967.

LocationShinkamigoto Town, Minamimatsu-ura District, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Advice for Mass etc.Pilgrimage possible only on Wakamatsu District Boat
Click here (Japanese)
Facility InformationClick here

Kashiragashima Church

Kashiragashima Church

All households except one were said to have been Christian in Kashiragashima Island. During the persectution of Goto-kuzure, all followers escaped from the island and returned only after the persecution ended. Kashiragashima Church was built with stones by the followers, who quarried and stacked the stones over the course of nine years. The church is a candidate for a World Heritage site in 2018.

Location638-1 Kashiragashima, Tomosumigo, Shinkamigoto Town, Minamimatsu-ura District, 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 Kashiragashima 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
AccessClick here

Imochiura Church and Lourdes

Imochiura Church and Lourdes

Imochiura Church is the oldest Lourdes in Japan. Fr. Peroud, responsible for pastoral care in the Goto Islands, caught word that the French Lourdes had been replicated in the Vatican. He reached out to the parishioners of the Goto Islands in 1891 to gather stones across the land and created the first Lourdes of Japan in 1899.

Location1243 Tamanourago, Tamanoura Town, Goto City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Mass ApplicationFor enquiries regarding the use of Imochiura Church, 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 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

Memorial Church and Monument to Martyrdom at the Site of Royanosako Jail

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

While the ban on Christianity was not lifted despite the opening of Japan at the beginning of the Meiji era, the 1865 "Discovery of Christians," among Hidden Christians of Urakami at Oura Cathedral, acted as a catalyst for Christians in the Goto Islands to begin revealing their faith. In order to eradicate the organization, the Meiji government began its persecution. At the Royanosako Jail of Hisakajima Island, around 200 Christians were imprisoned in a jail of only 20 square meters that faced the quiet bay. When this tragedy was reported to Europe by Bishop Petitjean, Japan received criticism from numerous countries, and the Meiji government eventually approved of Christianity.

The names of the 42 who lost their lives under this persecution are engraved in the gravestones at the site. Many of them were young children or elderly people. All followed their teachings steadfastly and accepted death without resistance.

LocationObiraki, Hisaka Town, Goto City, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Mass ApplicationFor enquiries regarding the use of the church, please contact Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre :ch-info@kyoukaigun.jp
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

Former Gorin Church

Former Gorin Church

When it was decided that Hamawaki Church, originally built in 1881, would be rebuilt in 1931, the former church building was relocated in the Gorin district. Although dismantlement of the church building was planned, Local Christians (on the island) helped reaffirm its value, and the church became preserved as a cultural property. This district is in an extremely secluded area of Hisakajima Island and still cannot be reached by car. The church is a World Heritage site candidate in 2018.

Location933-11, Warabi Town, Goto 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.
Opening hours 9:00am-5:00pm
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
AccessClick here

Egami Church

Egami Church

Designed by Yosuke Tetsukawa, the father of church architecture in Japan, the current structure of the Egami Church was built in 1918, thanks to more than 50 Christian households who cooperated to gather funding by fishing with dragnets.
The efforts of the followers are crystallized in the hand-drawn wooden pillars with hand-drawn grain and flower paintings on the window panes. The church is a World Heritage site candidate in 2018.

Location1131-2 Ogushi, Narumachi Town, Goto 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 Egami Church, please contact Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region Information Centre :ch-info@kyoukaigun.jp
Opening hours9:00am-4:00pm
Days ClosedMondays (Accommodations are possible if Monday is a holiday. The following business day will be closed.)
No accommodations possible on third Sundays from 2:30 PM-4:00 PM due to Mass. *Tours of the exterior possible
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 (Japanese)
Facility InformationClick here
AccessClick here

Aosagaura Church

Aosagaura Church

The original church was said to have been built by 1878. From 1899, Aosagaura became the central church of Kamigoto. The current church was designed and constructed by Yosuke Tetsukawa in 1910, with parishioners coming together and making great efforts to carry the bricks uphill. Now in its third generation, Aosagaura Church became designated as an important cultural property by the Japanese Government in 2001 and reached the 100th anniversary of its dedication in 2010.

Location1241 Namago, Shinkamigoto Town, Minamimatsu-ura District, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Mass ApplicationFor enquiries regarding the use of Aosagaura Church, 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 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
AccessClick here

Nokubi and Funamori Settlement Sites on Nozaki Island (Former Nokubi Church)

Nokubi and Funamori Settlement Sites on Nozaki Island (Former Nokubi Church)

The parishioners of 17 households saved 300 million yen in today's value through efforts such as fishing, and in 1908, the Nokubi Church was designed and constructed by Yosuke Tetsukawa. However the population gradually declined, and the last parishioner left the island in 1971. Nokubi Church, which stands on an uninhabited island, was subsequently repaired by Ojika Town. The closed Ojika Elementary and Junior High School Nozaki Branch, located nearby, became the "Nozaki Island Nature-learning Village," a simple lodging facility and rest area. It accepts large numbers of tourists, children's camps, and school field trips throughout the year and is used for outdoor and nature education.

LocationNokubi, Nozakigo, Ojika Town, Kitamatsuura District, Nagasaki Prefecture Google Maps
Tour Application / Contact InformationIt is necessary to apply for visits at Ojika Island Tourism beforehand. Please submit your application from the website. http://ojikajima.jp/
Facility InformationClick here
AccessClick here