Goto Islands

Nagasaki, Kyushu

Numerous churches impart a sense of its long history. The beautiful sea is a popular location for marine activities.

A chain of many islands floating in the eastern end of East China Sea, about 100 kilometers west of Nagasaki Prefecture, is called the Goto (five islands) Islands, in reference to the five large islands included in the group. The entire chain is a part of Saikai National Park. There you will be astonished by its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, as well as by the evening sun slowly sinking into the East China Sea. In addition to this beautiful scenery, you will also find numerous churches among the many islands, with this devout Christian atmosphere remaining as one of the main characteristics of the area. The Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs has submitted churches at six locations for consideration as UNESCO World Heritage sites, and they have been included in a tentative list.

The Goto Islands were a historically important center for transportation between Japan and mainland China, and served as the last stop for a ship carrying a Japanese envoy that crossed the sea on its way to Tang Dynasty China in 804. The five main islands in the chain are Fukue-jima, Hisaka-jima, Naru-shima, Wakamatsu-jima and Nakadori-jima. The largest of the islands is Fukue-jima where the Fukue Airport and Fukue Port operate, and where the Dozaki Church is located. This beautiful red brick church was built in 1908, the first European-style church among the islands. For believers, the church serves as a base for the revival of the Christian religion. Playing the role of a small Vatican, it is a symbol of Goto Catholicism. Fifty churches are scattered throughout the islands, many of them as well imparting a sense of the area's long history.

Besides strolling among the churches, another charm of the islands is found at the sea. The area is a mecca for marine sports, including bathing, canoeing, and coral reef diving. The Danjo Archipelago is famous as a mecca for those who enjoy fishing, and there are many excellent fishing spots throughout the islands, making them a popular destination for fishing guests. During the summer season many events are held there, such as a triathlon international competition. There you will find history, romance and an overflowing number of activities to enjoy.


From Tokyo:
[Air] 1h 50 min from Haneda to Fukuoka Airport, and 40 min from Fukuoka to Fukue Airport.
From Osaka:
[Air] 1h 20 min from Itami to Fukuoka Airport.
From Nagasaki:
[Ship] 1h 25 min from Nagasaki to Fukue Port by jetfoil.

Around the Goto Islands

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