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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.
Huis Ten BoschHuis Ten Bosch is a residential-style resort built after a mediaeval 17th century Dutch town. Palace Huis Ten Bosch, built with special permission from the Dutch royal family, is a reproduction of the residence of Her Majesty the Queen of The Netherlands. In English, Huis Ten Bosch means “house in the forest.” And true to its name this residential-style resort has canals running throughout, and is surrounded by greenery, forests, amusements, shops, restaurants, five distinct hotels, a marina and residential area. It is also known for the Flower Kingdom, where flowers bloom throughout the year. The “Gardening World Cup” a competition between the top gardeners in the world, has won the 2013 Canadian and International Garden Tourism Award. Huis Ten Bosch also celebrates summer with the “World Firework Contest”. The “Winter Light Festival” has been ranked by Yahoo as the top illumination display in Japan for three consecutive years. Various types of entertainment are also available, from restaurants to spas, marine sports and shopping, offering visitors a number of ways to enjoy their stay. Furthermore, there are also plenty of attractions for families with young children include cruising on the pirate ship from the popular cartoon ‘One Piece’. Huis Ten Bosch is a resort theme park that has offered visitors enjoyment for three generations. Moreover, the “Next Generation Park”, an environmentally-advanced area based on the concept of sustainable systems, was opened in 2010.
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.
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.
St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church, a view of a Christian Church and Japanese TemplesConstructed in 1913 as the Hirado Catholic Church, it was relocated to its present site in 1931. The statue of St. Francis was erected in 1971 to to honour the missionary’s visit to Hirado in 1550, and the church later given its present name.
An exotic view of a Japanese temples with this church from a street down to the town was described by the Lonly Planet as "one of the most photogenic vantage points in all of Khushu."
Hirado CastleHirado Castle offers a commanding view of Hirado Port and the ancient forest of Kurokojima Island. Its museum contains many valuable relics dating back to the Hirado’s feudal past.
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.