Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hidden Christians UNESCO World Heritage Site: Nagasaki Prefecture

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:

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 20, 2018

Daizaifu Tenmangu Shrine: Fukuoka Prefecture

Without a doubt the best and most popular Shrine in Fukuoka Prefecture is the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine located approx. 30 minutes from central Fukuoka City.

The Shrine is dedicated to the God of Learning and as such is busy all through the year with many student visitors coming here to pray for upcoming success in their educational endeavors, especially during examination time at various periods during the year. 
6000 or so Plum Trees have been planted on the site and they begin to bloom around early February to early March.  Of course the Cherry Blossoms are also unique to the area and it must be added that during Autumn the leaf changing season of the incredible beautiful Japanese Maple Trees are exceptional and worth a to visit the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in mid to late November.
The entrance to the shrine is a long street lined with small stalls filled with local specialities, a variety of food and drinks and of course many different types of souvenirs that one can take back home after their travels in Japan.
The Shrine itself isn`t anything special and distinctively different to others in the area but the surrounds and the gardens are numerous and each twist and turn brings you to another viewing point and another place to explore.  I highly recommend this place and it is a regular destination on our Fukuoka 1 day Private Tours.
Here is the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine`s location on a map: 
Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

How to purify yourself

A place for families to come

You will see a lot of kimono's

A place to cleanse your soul

A popular place indeed

Lots of shopping options

Please click on the videos below to see more of the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tachibana Shrine: Chijiwa, Nagasaki Prefecture

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 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 for our private tours.  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: