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Christianity and Nagasaki

After taking a street car with route No. 5, get off at Oura-Tenshudo-shita stop and walking for about 15 minutes to the south hill of Nagasaki, I finally arrived at Oura Tenshudo Church. The admission was 300 Yen and I could enter the church building. The weather was so hot outside, but fortunately there was some fans inside the Church. I sat and saw the Church. It was so beautiful and amazing. Here are some information and photos about the Church.

The port of Nagasaki was opened in the latter half of the 16th century as Japan’s only gateway to the outside world. After that, various kinds of contact thrived between western countries such as Portugal and Holland.

oura church nagasaki

oura christian church nagasaki

Christianity and Nagasaki

Nagasaki was also an important Christian center. In 1597, 26 Catholics, including six foreigners and a 12-year-old Japanese boy were crucified as a result of a decrees against Christianity passed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. All 26 became saints.

Because of this history, Nagasaki has been heavily influenced by Christian culture, for a time was known as “Small Rome in Japan”. Now Nagasaki is famous for having many historic Christian churches, including Oura Tenshudo Catholic Church, which is a National Treasure. This church is also named Church of the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan. I would tell a short story about this, in 1597, 26 Catholics, including six foreigners and a 12-year-old Japanese boy were crucified as a result of a decrees against Christianity passed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. All 26 became saints. Here are some photos I took. However, it is prohibited taking picture inside the church.

Oura Tenshudo was built in 1864 by a French missionary, and was Japan’s first catholic church in order to commemorate the crucify. It consists of a chalkstone building atop stone steps, and has an octagonal spire on its roof. It looks very graceful from the outside, but the stained glass window has a fantastic appearance from the inside. This stained glass is said to have been made 100 years ago in France, and it looks most beautiful on a sunny day between 2 and 4 o’clock in the afternoon, when the sun streams through. And I was so lucky that I could see this fantastic glass windows.

I was very thankful that I could visit this Church. Today, about 130 churches–constituting about 10 percent of all Christian churches in Japan–all with their own congregations, can be found in Nagasaki Prefecture, even on the remotest of islands. It is the proof Christianity and Nagasaki have close relation up till now.

oura tenshudou church

oura tenshudou christian church

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