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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.
Dozaki ChurchThis is the oldest church in the Goto islands, and it was built by French missionaries. It now serves a museum displaying historical documents relating to Christians and the 300-year period of suppression of Christianity. It was designated as a Tangible Cultural Asset of Nagasaki Prefecture in 1974.
Kashiragashima ChurchKashiragashima ChurchThis sandstone church, a rare sight in Japan, was built by Christians returning to the islands after the period of persecution, from stones they quarried themselves. The church is designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan and is part of the “Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki” bid for designation as a World Heritage Site.
Kuroshima ChurchKuroshima Island is the largest of the Kujukushima islands. Two months after the discovery of the hidden Christians in Oura Cathedral in 1865, 20 representatives of the hidden Christians visited Father Petitjean in Oura to confess their faith. Subsequently, Father Poirier read the first mass in Kuroshima Island at the house of Daikichi Deguchi, one of the representatives. By 1873, Kuroshima had become an "island of Catholic." Kuroshima Church was constructed through the endeavors of Father Marman, with the self-sacrificing cooperation of the local laypeople. They carried bricks and other necessary materials by themselves, climbing up the steep slope from the beach.The interior of this church is magnificent, with arcades, triforia and clerestory. Kuroshima Church is unique in that Arita porcelain tiles, granite quarried in Kuroshima and other local materials are used.
Former Nokubi ChurchIn the Nozaki Island, located in the north of the Goto Islands, there used to be two Christian communities, called "Nokubi" and "Setozaki." In spite of the poverty due to the mountainous area and infertile soil, both communities built wooden churches. Eventually, 18 Christian families began constructing a brick church. Through their endeavors and enthusiasm, Nokubi Church was completed. It was designed and constructed by Yosuke Tetsukawa, and it was the first brick church for him. However, after Japan entered the period of rapid economic growth, more and more people left the island. By 1971, all the residents had gone out of Nozaki Island. On the now uninhabited island, Nokubi Church soon deteriorated. However, the church was restored and repaired by the government of Ojika Town, in which the church is located.
Remains of Hara Castle, Site of Shimabara-Amakusa RebellionThe Matsukura clan, who gained control of the whole of Shimabara area (including the Arima domain once controlled by the Christian daimyo Harunobu Arima), imposed forced labor and excessive taxes on the local peasants of the area. Suffering from famine and overexertion, in 1637 the peasants of the Arima domain took up arms together with the peasants of Amakusa (who suffered from similar oppression) and revolted against their lords in what became known as the Shimabara-Amakusa Rebellion. Roughly 37,000 peasants gathered and were besieged at the site of Hara Castle, the castle of the Arima clan which had been dismantled under a law which allowed only one castle per province. The siege lasted for 88 days, and ended with the slaughter of every rebel, including women and children. Hara Castle was completely demolished after that, but archaeological investigation has revealed countless human bones, crucifixes and medallions. It is thought that the faith that had remained since the time of Harunobu Arima’s reign enabled the rebels to hold out at the castle site for so long both isolated and unaided.
Egami ChurchFacing the Naru Strait, Egami Church stands on the coast surrounded by a grove of trees. In 1918, the descendants of settlers cooperated to build the church, under the design and surveillance of Tetsukawa Yosuke.
Thanks to funds raised by that year’s abundant fish haul, the construction reached a level of perfection rarely seen among wooden churches in Japan.
Memorials to Saint Kolbe Hongochi Church・St. Kolbe Memorial Museum・Lourdes in HongochiMaximilian Maria Kolbe OFM arrived in Nagasaki from Poland in 1930 and established the monastic order Ordo Fratrum Minorum Conventualium at the foot of Mt. Hiko. He propagated the “Innocent Heart of the Virgin Mary” through its publication Seibo no Kishi (the Knights of the Immaculata). He also met Dr.Nagai in Nagasaki, who gave him a medical examination.
St. Kolbe died at Auschwitz. In 1982, Pope Paul II canonized him and also applauded his colleague Friar Zenon for his vigorous missionary activities.
Right above the museum, in the neighborhood of Hongochi Monastery, Kolbe found a cave resembling the sacred one at Lourdes in France. Pope John Paul II visited this spot during his tour of Japan in 1981. In 1984, the Vatican officially added the Hongochi Lourdes to its list of pilgrimage sites.
Former Gorin ChurchThe Former Gorin Church building has an interesting history. Hamawaki Church, built in 1881, was the second oldest wooden church in Nagasaki Prefecture, after Oura Cathedral. In 1931, a new, larger church was to be built at Hamawaki, and the old church was dismantled and then reconstructed as a church for the Gorin district. The church, which has been designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan, is a rare combination of Japanese- and Western-style construction, with the outer appearance of a traditional Japanese house.
Remains of Hinoe CastleDuring the 14th century the family ruling the Shimabara Peninsula constructed a castle named ‘Hinoe-jo’. Harunobu, the 14th lord (1597 – 1612) was a Christian daimyo and refurbished his castle into a large-scale structure with gardens, a tea arbor and many rooms. Stone walls remain around the site of the front gate.
A recent survey has revealed that the construction materials including the stone steps were acquired from tombstones in Buddhist graveyards which Harunobu had demolished. This indicated the religious situation in those days, when Christianity was flourishing. In 1982, the location of the castle was designated a National Historical Site.
Kusuhara ChurchKusuhara was one of the remote areas settled by Sotome Christians around thelate-18th and early-19th centuries.
Their descendants underwent ordeals even after the rediscovery of the Christians in Nagasaki.
A roundup at Mizunohara expanded into the mountains.
The hidden Christians were imprisoned and tortured and their settlements plundered.
The site where they were jailed, near to the church, is open to the public.
Around 1910, the present church was designed and constructed under the direction of Tetsukawa Yosuke. The building was repaired and improved in 1968.
Hinoe Castle RuinsHinoe Castle was the residence of the Arima clan and it was told to be built during the Period of the Northern and Southern Courts (1336-1392).
The castle was formed by a main building constructed next to the tip of a small hill about 78 m high, oriented north-south to the hill. In the east, there was the second palace and the Oteguchi Gate. In the west side stood the third palace. The building was told to have had many rooms, a garden and a tea room.
Archeological excavations brought to light the stone wall, the relics of a staircase and many ceramic wares. The staircase is a 100 meters long and connects what it is presumed to have been the entrance of the castle and the main palace. It appears to be very similar to the stairs of Azuchi Castle in the Shiga Prefecture. Even a toribusuma (a tile that sticks out from the side of the roof) decorated with a gold foil has been excavated. This kind of roof tile has been noted to have been granted by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This reveals a political connection to the central government, meaning that the castle had great authority in the area.
In July 3, 1982, the castle ruins were designated a Historic Site by the National Government.