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Oe-Tenshudo Church

Kumamoto

The white church with lovely design was built for Christians who observed their faith in utmost secrecy

(c) Kumamoto PrefectureThe chalky Romanesque church was built by Father Garnier, a French missionary, with his own money in 1933. At the side of the church with a neat and clean impression, blue-eyed Madonna of Lourdes joins her hands and mystic light shines through simple pastel stained-glass windows.

The Amakusa Islands consisting of a large number of islands are blessed with rich sea and mountains and widely known, along with Nagasaki, as a place where many Christians live. There were many secret Christians who kept their faith during the period when Christianity was banned in Japan. It is natural that missionaries preached the gospel here when the ban was lifted in 1873.

The church and missionaries had an impact also on Japanese literature. Five poets including Yosano Tekkan and Kitahara Hakushu, Japan's most renowned poets, visited the place and had contact with Father Garnier in 1907. The experience took form as a travel writing titled "Five Pairs of Shoes" carried in a newspaper series, and poems included in a tanka collection.

There are "statue of Father Garnier" and a "Monument of Five Pairs of Shoes" in the grounds. Nearby is Amakusa Rosary Museum where you can learn the history of Christians in Amakusa.

Information

Address: 1782 oe, Amakusa-machi, Amakusa City, Kumamoto
Phone: 0969-22-2243 (Amakusa Treasure Island Tourism Association)
Hours open to visitors: 9:00-17:00
Closed: Mondays
Directions: By train:2 hours and 18 minutes by Kyushusanko Bus Amakusa-go from Kyushu Shinkansen Kumamoto station (40 minutes from Hakata) to Honto bus center, one hour and 30 minutes by bus via Shimoda Onsen for Ichoda-chuo to Tenshudo Entrance and 5 minutes by foot
By car: Two hours and 30 minutes from Matsuhashi Interchange on the Kyushu Expressway

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