About Hirado City
Besides its natural beauty, Hirado City also has a rich history as Japan’s first overseas
trading center: visited by the missionary Francisco de Xavier and the ‘English samurai’
William Adams, this city offers many tourist attractions including Hirado Castle and the
Dutch Trading Post. This place is also a birthplace of Japanese green tea, and you can enjoy the original Samurai-style green tea ceremony at Matsura Historical Museum. Beside the museum, the photogenic “View of Temples and a Catholic Church” illustrates the island’s history of “East meeting West”. Part of the island is a national park where you can enjoy various activities including net fishing, sea kayaking and horse riding on white sand beaches, and swimming in clear blue oceans. Trekking to Kawachi Pass to see the 360-degree view of the islands and mountains is another popular activity. Food buffs can also get their fill with specialties such as Hirado Beef, fresh fish, and seafood.
Hirado Castle (photograph)
Hirado Castle offers a commanding view of Hirado Port, Hirado Strait and the ancient forest of Kurokojima Island. While the first castle was built in 1599, it was burned down just over a decade later by the ruling Matsura Clan who owned it. It was then rebuilt in 1718 by the Matsura Clan and used until the Meiji Restoration Period when most of Japan’s castles were demolished. Its museum contains many valuable relics dating back to the Hirado’ s feudal past.
Kawachi toge Pass
From the top of Kawachi-toge Pass one has a unique panoramic view. To the west are the northern Ninety-Nine Islands, to the north the beginning of the Genkai Sea and further away one can spot Iki Island and Tsushima Island. It is close to Hirado City and is a popular spot for hikers, tourists and locals alike.
Matsuura Historical Museum
The Matsura Historical Museum houses the impressive residence of the Matsuura clan, who ruled the island from the 12th to 19th century, and prospered through international trading. Inside the museum, you can dress up in samurai armor or a Japanese Kimono and enjoy the treasures of the Matsuura.
You can also enjoy an original warrior-style green tea and authentic sweets with its 400
years of tradition at a thatch-roofed tea ceremony house located at the side, in a very quiet natural setting, where you can only hear the songs of the birds and the bamboo.
On the other side of the museum, there is a café in a Japanese-style building, furnished with Western furniture.
Hirado Dutch Trading Post
The Hirado Dutch Trading Post was located here from 1609 to 1641, when Hirado was the main international trading port of Japan. It included many different buildings but the 1639 warehouse is said to have been the first full-fledged western style building in Japan. This building has been carefully reconstructed and houses a museum that tells the international trading history of Hirado.The most unique exhibits include a Dutch suit of armor which was rearranged in Japanese style by a Samurai.
A View of a Christian Church and Japanese Temples
Constructed in 1913 as the Hirado Catholic Church, it was relocated to its present site in
1931. The statue of St. Francis was erected in 1971 to to honour the missionary’ s visit to
Hirado in 1550, and the church later given its present name.
An exotic view of a Japanese temples with this church from a street down to the town was described by the Lonly Planet as “one of the most photogenic vantage points in all of