Oura Church and Nishizaka Park stand as pivotal attractions for visitors to Nagasaki. Amongst the oldest Christian establishments in Japan, Oura Church was erected by French missionaries and serves as a commemoration of the martyrdom of 26 Christian believers in Nagasaki during the 16th century. Nishizaka Park, situated within the city of Nagasaki, is located in close proximity to the site where Christian adherents faced execution. Consequently, Oura Church and Nishizaka Park share a commonality as locales intricately connected to Nagasaki’s historical Christian faith. Dishes Japan recommends these places to those interested in exploring the history of Christianity in Nagasaki.
Oura Church (大浦天主堂)
Explore the captivating Oura Church in Nagasaki, Japan, built in 1864 by a French missionary. Recognized as Japan’s oldest surviving Christian church, it commemorates the “26 Martyrs of Japan.” UNESCO-listed, it survived the 1945 atomic bomb and features unique architecture, including stained glass from France. Visit the museum for a journey through Japan’s Christian history. Oura Church, near Glover Garden, is easily accessible by tram, taxi, or bus from Nagasaki Station.
Nishizaka Park (西坂公園)
Nishizaka Park in Nagasaki unveils the poignant history of Japan’s 26 Christian martyrs from 1597. Facing persecution, they reached Nagasaki and were martyred on Nishizaka Hill. The park features a bronze monument capturing their bravery, the 26 Martyrs Museum showcasing artifacts, and Saint Filippo de Jesus Church dedicated to a martyr. The site offers guided tours, multilingual information, prayer spaces, and scenic views of Nagasaki Bay. Seasonal transformations enhance its allure during cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons.
If you have time before or after visiting Oura Church, Dishes Japan recommends that you also visit the following two museums: Glover Garden and Inori Hill Picture Book Museum.
Glover Garden (グラバー園)
Glover Garden in Nagasaki is a historic park designed for Scottish merchant Thomas Blake Glover, known for his role in Japan’s modernization. The park features nine Western-style residences built between 1868 and 1912, including the iconic Glover Residence. As an Important Cultural Asset, it offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyles of foreign merchants. Beyond history, the garden provides panoramic views of Nagasaki and a unique visitor experience with a cafe and shop.
Inori Hill Picture Book Museum (祈りの丘 絵本美術館)
The Inori Hill Picture Book Museum in Nagasaki celebrates the art of picture books and their original illustrations in a charming Western-style house. Located near historical landmarks, it showcases timeless masterpieces, hosts special exhibitions, and offers engaging programs for all ages. As one of Japan’s rare institutions dedicated to picture books, it emphasizes their artistic and cultural importance. The museum’s hilltop location, with a view of Nagasaki Harbor, holds historical significance as a sanctuary for persecuted Christians during the Edo period, reflecting a profound wish for peace and harmony.