The oldest church in the Goto Islands, the home of the Kakure Kirishitans
During the time when Christianity was prohibited in Japan, many “Kakure Kirishitans” (“Hidden Christians”: People who hid the fact that they were Christian and practiced their faith in secret) fled to the Goto Islands, so there are many Christians and churches on the islands. There are 50 churches on the islands, including some that are historic buildings; the leading example is Dozaki Church (Dozaki Tenshudo).
In 1879, a temporary chapel was constructed at Dozaki by Father Marmand of the Paris Foreign Missions Society, and this became the focus for missionary activities on the Goto Islands after the oppression of Christianity ended. The striking red-brick church seen today was completed in 1908, having been rebuilt by his successor, Father Pelu. As the oldest Western-style building in the Goto Islands, it has been designated by the prefectural government as an Important Cultural Property. Interior and exterior renovation work was carried out in 1999. As well as being used for holding Mass, the church also serves as a museum of local Christian history.
A wooden building in the Gothic style, the stained glass windows feature a pattern with a camellia motif that is also featured in the windows of other churches on the Goto Islands.
Although the building has a neat, pleasant feel to it, it is actually a symbol of the tragic history of the Christians of the Goto Islands, where many people were martyred during centuries of harsh oppression.
- 2019 Okuura-cho, Goto City, Nagasaki
- 9:00 to 17:00 in general (9:00 to 18:00 in summertime and 9:00 to 16:00 in wintertime)
- Admission Fee
- 300 yen for admission
- Open all year round