Saturday, June 30, 2018

Nagasaki Hidden Christian UNESCO World Heritage Sites

It had been a long time coming with multiple attempts, revisions, changes and amendments but finally Japan has succeeded in gaining UNESCO World Heritage Status for its sites linked to the persecution of Christians in Japan in the 16th to the 19th Century.  It was such a major endeavor with years of hard work, sweat and tears that many interested parties held ceremonies and group celebrations all over Nagasaki and its outlying islands.

In fact the Foreign Minister of Japan had the following to say:
  1. Today on June 30th 2018 at the 42nd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee a decision was made to inscribe on the World Heritage List “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region”, which Japan had nominated as a candidate for the list
  2. “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region” bears precious evidence of the history of the people and their communities who secretly transmitted their faith in Christianity during the time of prohibition spanning more than two centuries in Japan. I heartily welcome the inscription of this property which tells a very unique history in the world. At the same time, I hope that the inscription this time will attract wider attention from people around the world on this valuable property built by the Hidden Christians in Japan who secretly continued their faith during the ban on Christianity.
Here is the list of the 12 sites that gained entry into the UNESCO World Heritage Site:







































There are quite a few websites that have documented many of these sites that has be accepted and in many instances rejected or omitted from the UNESCO World Heritage listing.

These sites are one of the best in my opinion:

http://oratio.jp/en

http://kirishitan.jp/en



In fact I have been to some of the sites and here are some of my reports from the above locations.  You can check them out below:


Oura Catholic Church-  To view please click on the link here:

Hara Castle-  To view please click on the link here:


The dream has become reality



Over the coming weeks and months I will attempt to blog and update my website on these Hidden Christian sites ( known in Japanese as Kakure Kirishitan) in order to provide as much information as I possibly can.

I am sure the amount of visitors and interested parties will continue to flourish and bring this important fact about Japanese Christian History into the World`s Public forums and discussions as well as many Christian Pilgrimage`s to the region.




Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tachibana Shrine Chijiwa Nagasaki

Tachibana Shrine Chijiwa Nagasaki is dedicated to army lieutenant colonel Shuta Tachibana who became famous in the Russo-Japanese War which occurred during the beginning on the 20th century.  Tachibana Shrine Chijiwa Nagasaki is a noted place for the viewing of cherry tree blossoms and many people come and visit this exquisite flower viewing  place in spring.

For New Year, the world's biggest New Year's pine and bamboo decorations more than 11m in height are installed at the entrance to a shrine.  They have caught the attention of many followers including the Guinness Book of Records who have noted the fact!

The Shrine and the surrounding Park area are just beautiful, esthetically pleasing and at many times of the year (cherry blossoms in spring and maple leaves in autumn) are picture perfect.  Whenever I have visitors from overseas and from other places in Japan, Tachibana Shrine is always on the top of my list of preferred tourist destinations.  On this day, nearing the middle of summer, the birds were chirping, the cicada's making a roaring noise, the sun was shining intensely but I was in my element.  A picture perfect day and and some amazing photos and video to show for it.  Definitely worth and look and tour of the area.

Check out Tachibana Shrine Chijiwa Nagasaki on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:



Group blessing

Shinto Praying Style

Peaceful location

Sunset perfection


The entrance

3 lovely ladies posing

Water purifying


3 2 1 Bow


















Please check out the Tachibana Shrine in Chijiwa, Nagasaki on this video:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki

Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki are located on the grounds of Yamazato Elementary School and are possible for viewings but only on weekends and holidays as during the week regular school classes are held at this working Elementary School.

In early 1945 as the war effort reached a fever pitch, an air raid shelter was dug at the Yamazato Elementary School, located about 600 meters north of the hypocenter, in order to protect the lives of the pupils from anticipated air attacks.  After the atomic bombing, burned and injured children, teachers and neighborhood residents crowded into the shelter, where ultimately most of them died.  Although the Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki are now closed and chained off to the general public, their images still give you chill as you can nearly see and feel the fear and cries of desperation on the children as they struggle to find friends and loved ones and desperate just for one drop of water to quench their thirst.

The Yamazato Elementary School site also has a Children's Memorial which was erected in November 1949.  A small girl clad in traditional farm-style clothing kneels in prayer amid the flames ignited by the atomic bomb.  This memorial was erected upon the suggestion of Dr. Nagai and was paid for with funds donated by him and with royalties from the book "Living Under an Atomic Cloud", a collection of excerpts taken from the diaries of pupils who survived.  It is dedicated to the memory of the 1,300 pupils and teachers who died as well as their families.

This place and its remaining Memorials certainly is a sombre and sad place to visit.  It is very hard to try an imagine all the children, teachers and innocent people that were affected by the viciousness of war.  It is from these places that we can learn to forgive the wrongs of the past and build a better future for our children,one where war and terror can be eliminated from the horizon.

A must see but only on weekends!

Come and check out Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki on a map:

Click on the photos below to enlarge:




The Air Raid Shelters saved many lives


Restored to their previous state

They are long indeed

One of the tunnels

From the outside



















Click on the video below to see more of the Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki:



Sunday, April 8, 2018

Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops

Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops that you see here in the photos below are part of the Nagasaki character and adds to her personality unlike any other attraction within the Nagasaki city limits.  Just another random if not crazy idea that some town official thought up but for whatever reason it has stuck and become a permanent and important fixture of the town's psyche.  In the sleepy town of Konagai, Nagasaki right on the boarder of Saga Prefecture there are some Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops that will stop you in your tracks and make you say to yourself, "Why haven't I ever seen this before?"

As you drive from one bus stop to the next, you will wonder what fruit or vegetable will come next.  In some ways, when you don't see your favorite one you wonder why it hasn't been included and of course when you have passed the last one and headed into the next prefecture you will also have a slight feeling of disappointment that you won't see another one again in Japan, period!

Some of the Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops have seen better days and they are in need of a touch up or repair or better still a repaint but just to see one up close to touch and feel and to sit inside as to re enact the feeling of waiting for a bus is exciting in itself.  Come and enjoy the Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops even if it's just for a fleeting moment!

Come and check out The Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:


Mouth watering Watermelon


Juicy strawberry


Appealing Melon



Tasty Tomato

Delicious Orange

My favorite












Friday, March 30, 2018

Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine

Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine is the major Shrine of Nagasaki and home to the revered Nagasaki Kunchi Festival.  It is located in the northern part of the city on the slopes of Mount Tamazono and features a 277-step stone staircase leading up the mountain to the various buildings that comprise the shrine.

The official date of construction for Suwa Shrine is 1614, the same year as Tokugawa Ieyasu Edict against Christianity.  Although there was little more than a small structure to mark the position of the future shrine at this time, it has grown into the massive structure and many sub structures that we see today.


Suwa Shrine survived the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.  It is thought to have survived intact due to its strategic location in the central part of Mount Tamazono southern flank.  In the aftermath of the bomb local residents were quick to note that while the famous Urakami Cathedral and surrounding Catholic neighborhoods were obliterated, the Shinto Shrine still stood.  This was considered to be significant by the survivors of the bombing, showing the power of the native Japanese Gods as opposed to the imported Christian God.  In addition, priests from Suwa Shrine took an active role in the rebuilding of Nagasaki, including consecrating the land and purifying structures that still stood after the fact.

Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine is also the host to many annual festivals.  These festivals serve the joint purpose of honoring the Gods, provide a sense of community for shrine worshipers and providing exposure and income for the shrine itself.  Some of these festivals are typical to all major Shinto shrines in Japan, but some are unique to the Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine.

The most famous of Suwa Shrine's festivals is Kunchi.  This festival began along with the founding of the shrine as a way to both demonstrate its new importance in the community and as a way to hunt for Hidden Christians.   Kunchi is held from October 7th to 9th every year and is considered one of the major festivals in all of Japan.  It has been designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset.

As of yet i haven't had the privilege to attend the Kunchi Festival as tickets and locations are had to obtain because of the popularity but around the city there are many complimentary places whereby free viewing performances of various dances and exhibitions are available to the general public.  It is absolutely on my to do wish list and I will be making this one of my Must Do Nagasaki Experiences.

Check out Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

Lots of steps to climb, 277 to be exact

The main building


Lots of shrine gates

Japanese Flag


The view from the top!

Pray time

Lots of Statues

An interesting place indeed





Interesting and beautiful water feature















Check out the videos of Famous Nagasaki Suwa Shrine below: