Nagasaki, Kyushu

The 17th century point of contact with Holland and Portugal. A spot visited by William Adams and St. Francis Xavier.

The city of Hirado is located on Hirado Island in the northwestern part of Nagasaki Prefecture. It prospered as a castle town ruled by the feudal lord Matsu'ura. In 1609, the Hirado Dutch Trading House was established there, and as the area had an excellent natural port, Hirado became the central stage for trade with other countries, such as China, Holland and Portugal. At the site of the Hirado Dutch Trading House there still remain old stone walls, called the Dutch Walls. The walls, which were built in the early 17th century, are 2 meters high and 30 meters long. Also located nearby is the Dutch Well, which was built around the same time as the walls.

Sakikata-koen Park commands a superb view of Hirado Port and is a famous spot for Hirado tsutsuji (azaleas). The tombs of William Adams, an Englishman who contributed to the development of foreign trade in Hirado (taking the Japanese name of Miura Anjin), and his wife are located in the park. Also inside the park is a monument to St. Francis Xavier, the man who first introduced Christianity into Japan.

Attractions include the Hiradojoka Kasen Toro-matsuri Festival, a lantern festival that is held every fall. During the festival there are performances of the Tasuke-Haiya-no-So-odori Dance and the Hirado Kagura (Shinto dance and musical numbers), which is designated as an important intangible cultural asset. You will also see many shops displaying colorful lanterns and curtains. Enjoy these performances and decorations while strolling through the historic castle town of Hirado.


From Tokyo:
[Air] 1h 50 min from Haneda to Nagasaki Airport, and 1h 20 min from the airport to Sasebo Station by bus. 1h 25 min from Sasebo Station to Hirado Sanbashi Pier by bus.
From Osaka:
[Air] 1h 20 min from Itami to Nagasaki Airport.

Around the Hirado

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