Silence: A Literary Tour of Hidden Christian Sites in Sotome

Silence: A Literary Tour of Hidden Christian Sites in Sotome
Spring Summer Autumn Winter Nagasaki City Silence is a novel by Endo Shusaku and has been adapted into film by Academy Award Winning Director Martin Scorsese. Explore today's peaceful and scenic town of Sotome and uncover its painful yet moving history of Christian Heritage in Nagasaki.

Starting Point: Nagasaki City

Rent a Car in the city area for the day!

Local buses bound for Sotome are available but for the best experience (especially for well-hidden sites), we recommend renting a car.
Visitors can also consider taking the 
tour bus (itinerary differs). 

Drive (50 minutes)

Endo Shusaku Literary Museum
Nagasaki City The Endo Shusaku Literary Museum chronicles celebrated Japanese author Endo’s life and study and holds a collection of over 30,000 articles - largely Christian-related - including original written manuscripts and books relating to his writings. The most notable of which, Silence, has been translated to English and turned into an English-language film (Silence, 2016). This museum is located in Sotome that is a one hour drive away from Nagasaki City. It overlooks the Goto-nada Sea and is a picturesque spot for watching the sun set. The district was home to persecuted Christians during the ban on Christianity and is known as the hometown of Christians in Japan. While not originally from Nagasaki, Endo felt a strong bond with the district, calling it his second home. It was therefore the wish of his family that the museum be built in Sotome. The attached café, ‘Enchanté’, serves local food including Fr. De Rotz noodles. VIEW MORE

Learn about the author of Silence

*please check page for rates

Drive (4 minutes)

Kurosaki Church
One of the sites Endo visited to gather material for his novel. The surrounding district was home to many hidden Christians who dwelled here during the ban on Christianity. Under the direction of Fr. de Rotz, the foundation of Kurosaki Church was laid in 1897, and its building plans were drawn in 1899 before the church was completed in 1920.

Drive (11 minutes)

Karematsu Shrine
Nagasaki City Karematsu Shrine is dedicated to Jiwan, Bastian’s religious leader. He passed away from hunger and cold while hiding in a valley and observing religious practices. The local people buried him and worshipped his tomb as a sacred place. Each November, locals hold the Karematsu Shrine Festival, when ecumenical prayer services are held as well as a mass conducted by a Catholic priest. This is one of only three shrines in Japan dedicated to holy figures associated with Christianity. VIEW MORE

Hidden Christians gathered at this site to conduct orasho.

Drive (15 minutes)


Option 1: 
Enchante Cafe in the Endo Shusaku Literary Museum
Enjoy Father de Rotz noodles here

Option 2: 
Vaux sur aure (ヴォスロール)
Restaurant run by followers of Father de Rotz. Food here is also prepared with great love and care in de Rotz style. Reservations recommended!

Side trip: Silence monument

Vaux sur aure is a walking distance away from this monument. Enjoy a view of the village that inspired Tomogi Village. 

Drive (25 minutes)

Bastian’s Hut
A Japanese priest, baptized as Bastian, was said to have stayed in the Sotome area, secretly conducting religious activities for the hidden Christians after all other priests had been deported and exiled. To evade his pursuers, he was believed to have moved from place to place, living in secluded huts. The current site which features a rebuilt hut is said to have been one of the places Bastian had stayed in. In the novel, Rodrigues laid low in a charcoal hut likely modeled after this relic.

Drive (25 minutes)

Shitsu Church and Former Shitsu Aid Center Buildings and Fr. de Rotz Memorial Museum
Nagasaki City Shitsu Church When he encountered the hidden Christians, Fr. Petitjean realized that there were many other Christians hiding in the Sotome region. He appointed Fr. de Rotz as parish priest of the Shitsu and Kurosaki districts. On a hill commanding a view over the Goto-nada Sea, he established a church at his own expense. A statue of the Virgin Mary that was ordered from France still stands on the bell tower, although the original bell is gone, having been given up for metal collection during World War II. The low roofs and the flat or slightly vaulted ceilings are effective in withstanding the strong winds that blow there. Former Shitsu Aid Center Buildings Fr. de Rotz established this facility as a social welfare center. His intention was to help the women in need to gain independence. The first floor was used as a food processing plant mainly producing noodles such as macaroni and somen (thin wheat noodles), while the second floor was a factory for making textiles. Three courses in practical subjects such as education, reading, writing and calculation were taught there. Fr. de Rotz Memorial Museum Fr. de Rotz devoted his life to Catholic mission and salvation in the district of Sotome. All the articles he left behind were collected and preserved in the memorial facilities located within the Sotome-Shitsu Cultural Village. A net-making factory which he established was refurbished into the museum to commemorate his great contributions. Among the exhibits are medical appliances, tools and supplies, printed or written documents, and various other materials he used for his missionary and salvation work. The original factory had a sturdy outside wall in front, to protect the building from the strong wind. VIEW MORE

Tour the Shitsu Culture Village and learn about Father de Rotz, a French priest who devoted his life to the people of Sotome

To tour the Church premises, please make reservations beforehand, and observe church etiquette. Thank you!
*please check page for rates

Drive (5 minutes)

Sunset at Endo Shusaku Literary Museum

Watch the sun set on the horizon or in the distant Goto Islands across the Goto-nada sea

Please check the day’s sun set time and plan accordingly.
*sun set spot varies with time of year

Drive (50 minutes)
*if you are driving from Nagasaki City on a weekday, traffic conditions might delay your driving time.

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