Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oura Catholic Church


Established in 1864 during the closing years of the Edo period, Oura Church was built by the French in Nagasaki to dedicate prayers for the 26 Martyrs of Nishizaka Hill, the place where 26 European and Japanese Christians were brought to Nagasaki and crucified in 1597 to discourage Japanese from becoming Christian following Hideyoshi's edict of 1587 banning Christianity in Japan.


A few days after the church opened a group of Japanese "Hidden Christians" appeared and introduced themselves to the French priest. These people had been secretly practising Christianity since the late 16th Century. I posted earlier about what was done to some of these hidden christians as Christianity was still banned in 1865.


The stained glass was installed in the early years of the twentieth Century, and while the church survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, most of the stained glass did not. However it has been replaced with glass from the same period.

Oura Church is the only western building to be listed as a National Treasure.


Oura Church served as the model for the Catholic Church in Tsuwano.

There is a 300 yen entrance fee to enter the church, and photography inside is banned, but I guess my camera accidentally took some pictures all by itself without my knowledge.



  1. It's a nice church, but the only time I can recall having to pay to enter one.

  2. ... also I found it strange that there was a constant commentary from the speakers....

  3. I'm glad your camera took those pictures. I love that church!

  4. Actually the fact that you have to pay is a step toward religious equality-- you have to pay to get into many famous temples and shrines, right?

  5. Actually I cant remember anytime I had to pay to get into a shrine......

  6. I love the stained glasses of this church, it's really astounding see this incredible combination of colors.