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Sotome Museum of History and FolkloreThis museum features two floors of exhibits that showcase the rich and unique history of Sotome. From tools and machines used in olden Japan to artifacts collected from the Hidden Christian era, the Sotome Museum of History and Folklore is a record of the development of society, cultural exchange, and tragedy of the Christian persecution in Japan. English brochures are available for the first floor exhibits on tools and machinery and although none are for the second floor hidden Christian artifacts, it is worth a look for visitors interested in the Christian heritage of Nagasaki. You can listen to a recording of orasho (prayers by hidden Christians passed down through the generations) on the second floor.
Omura Sumitada Historical ParkOmura Sumitada was Japan’s first Christian Daimyo (Samurai war lord), who with foresight and vision sent a group of young Japanese emissaries to Rome (known as the “Tensho Embassy”).This park was built at the residence where Omura Sunitada breathed his last breath. A garden with a fountain and its clean flow of water still remains as the core attraction of the park. Visitors can learn some historical facts about Sumitada including details of local Japanese Christians and trading with the West.
Urakami CathedralUrakami Cathedral, located 500 meters north of the hypocenter. It was once renowned for being the largest Roman Catholic church in the East but was completely demolished by the nuclear blast. Now you can see the headless statues of the saints, the bell tower that was blown off by the atomic bomb and a wooden figure of the Virgin Mary which miraculously survived the heat of the nuclear blast.
In 1895, with the assistance of Fr. Pierre Fraineau MEP, the Christian faithful began the construction of Urakami Cathedral on the land o the former village headman, the very place where the custom of trampling on a Christian image (e-bumi), had been enforced as a way to expose hidden Christians.
In 1914, a ceremony was held to bless the church and dedicated it to the Virgin Mary. However, just 30 years later, on August 9th, 1945, the church was devastated by the atomic bomb. Nevertheless, on Christmas Eve that year, the survivors rang the church bell that they dug out of the ruins, and went on to rebuilt the church.
The new reinforced concrete building was completed in 1959, and an outer layer of bricks was added in 1980.
In 1962, meanwhile, the new Urakami church replaced Oura Catholic Church as the Cathedral of the Nagasaki Archdiocese.
The following monuments can be seen today in the precincts:
- The Atomic-Bombed Statue of Mary
- The Fallen Bell Tower: The original church had twin bell towers. One was crushed by the atomic explosion, another was blown about 25 meters away by the blast. It is preserved as National Important Asset at the original site.
- Headless Statues of Saints: Stone statues that were exposed to the atomic bombing.
- The Monument of Faith: Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Urakami Yonban Kuzure (the fourth collapse of the Christian community of Urakami resulting from the government's drastic policy of oppression and expulsion.)
Christian’s Cave and the ‘Eye of the Needle’ It is said that during the repression of Christianity during the Meiji Era, believers lived in hiding in this cave. A 4-meter tall cross and a 3.6-meter statue of Jesus were built in 1967. Even now the cave is only accessible by boat.
BanshoinThis Buddhist temple was built in 1615 by the Soh family, rulers of Tsushima Island during the Edo Period. This is the location of one of the three largest graveyards in Japan.
KofukujiKofukuji is the oldest Chinese Obaku Zen temple in Japan. It traces its humble origins to a small hermitage built in 1620 to pray for the safety of sea voyages, frequent between China and Nagasaki at the time. The temple stands out along teramachi-dori (temple street) due to its impressive red gate. Many important Zen masters have stayed at this temple, including the founder of Obaku Zen Buddhism Ingen, Mokusu Nyojo who built the nearby megane-bashi (spectacles bridge), and Itsunen who introduced a new style of Chinese painting to Japan.
Kofukuji’s significance in Japan’s Buddhist history is greatly treasured and protected by Nagasaki Prefecture. Many relics on the temple grounds have been deemed cultural assets of the prefecture and city. The temple itself is an Important Cultural Property of Japan. Visitors can taste Buddhist Vegetarian cuisine here, or enjoy Japanese green tea and sweets in the tea house next to the garden.
Kofukuji, together with Sofukuji, Shofukuji and Fukusaiji comprise the “four fortune temples of Nagasaki” (長崎四福寺).
Nagasaki Prefectural Art MuseumNagasaki Prefectural Art Museum was designed by the world-famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Bisected by a canal, the building features a green rooftop garden from which a panoramic view of the Nagasaki Port and the lush greenery of the Seaside Park can be enjoyed. This one-of-a-kind design has received many prizes in building and illumination design competitions including the Marble Architecture Award 2005 (Italy). The main gallery exhibits attractive collections including the largest collection of Spanish artwork in the East, as well as works related to Nagasaki. Facilities include the Museum Shop, offering well-designed original goods and gifts, and the Cafe, which offers an amazing view high above the canal. The museum holds workshops, concerts and many other community events.Admission is free, excluding the Galleries.
Teramachi-dori (Temple Street) Tracing their histories some 400 years back, many old temples line teramachi-dori - Nagasaki’s famous temple street.
In the 16th and early 17th century, Nagasaki was a hub of international trade, with European and Chinese traders frequenting its ports, bringing goods from around the world. Chinese traders were the largest group and many lived in Nagasaki, establishing temples based on their hometowns. The ruling shogunate which had been tightening control over the region greatly supported Buddhism and the building of temples over the influence of Christianity, enabling Buddhism to thrive in Nagasaki.
Well-known temples along this street include Kofukuji and Sofukuji - two of the “four fortune temples” of Nagasaki. Many of these temples or their relics have been classed as cultural assets of the city or prefecture, and even national treasures.
Nita Pass, UnzenThese mountains are famous for their azaleas in the spring, green colors in the summer, autumn leaves in the fall, and frosty fog in the winter. Enjoy the cable-car ride up to the top for breathtaking views. A brand new trekking path allows hikers to enjoy the mountain flowers and wild birds, as well as stunning close-up views of Heisei Shinzan, the peak newly-formed by the 1990s Fugendake eruption.
Haru-no-Tsuji RuinsThe archeological remains at Haru-no-Tsuji are located on a flat plain between Ishida Town and Ashibe Town. The area has provided important insights into life during the Yayoi Period (approx 300BC - 300AD) and has been designated as a site of National Historical Interest. The moated settlement is regarded as the location of the ancient capital of Iki, a country that existed in that period. It appears in a Chinese historical text “The Records of the Three Kingdoms”, as the oldest kingdom in Japan. 17 buildings have been restored at the site.
Matsura Historical MuseumThe Matsura Historical Museum houses the impressive residence of the Matsura clan, who ruled the island from the 11th to 19th century, and prospered through international trading. Inside the museum, you can dress up in samurai armor or a Japanese Kimono and enjoy the treasures of the Matsura. You can also enjoy an original warrior-style green tea and authentic sweets with its 400 years of tradition at a thatch-roofed tea ceremony house located at the side, in a very quiet natural setting, where you can only hear the songs of the birds and the bamboo. On the other side of the museum, there is a café in a Japanese-style building, furnished with Western furniture; you can enjoy Dutch Erwtensoep (split pea soup) with a stunning view of Hirado Port.
Tabira ChurchThe church 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.