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Kasuga Village and Sacred Places in Hirado
Kasuga Village and Mt. Yasumandake/Nakaenoshima Island（Kasuga Village and Sacred Places in Hirado）
For visitors to the constituent assets
The component property “Kasuga Village and Sacred Places in Hirado” has a base with an information center and parking lot available for visitors.
When visiting, please use such facilities, etc., and please be considerate of parking and traffic manners in the village.（No landing on Nakaenoshima Island.）
- Kasuga Village Kasuga Village Information Center/TEL:0950-22-7020
- Mt. Yasumandake Visitor parking‘Yasumandake Tozanguchi’
Cultural assets, etc. included in the constituent assets.
|Designation title as cultural assets||Designation category||Designation year|
|Cultural Landscape of Hirado Island||Important Cultural Landscape selected by the national government||2010|
History of Christianity in the region.
The history of Christianity in the Hirado region can be traced back to 1550.
Francisco de Xavier: (1506 – 1552), who introduced Christianity to Japan, visited Hirado in 1550 with Cosme de Torres (1510 – 1570), Juan Fernández (1526?-1567)and Bernardo of Kagoshima, visited Hirado.
After the baptism of Koteda, a chief vassal of Takanobu Matsuura, in 1557, Christianity spread throughout the Hirado area.
Yasumadake, located in northwestern Hirado, has been considered a sacred mountain of Shintoism and Buddhism, with the Shirayamahime Shrine (built in 718) at its summit and the Saizenji Temple（Not extant.） built at the same time.
Therefore, when Christian missionary work began in the region, hostilities developed between the respective religions.
Shigenobu Matsuura, who became lord of the domain in 1568, was a believer in the Shingon sect of Buddhism, so he stepped up his suppression of Christianity, and Shirayamahime Shrine and Saizenji Temple once again grew in power.
After the Christian ban of 1614, the Christians of the region continued their Christian faith in secret.
However, as the absence of a priest became more prolonged, the belief in Mt.Yasumandake and Christian faith and reverence gradually merged, due to ancient Japanese religious sensibilities and other factors, and a unique form of faith was formed.
On the other hand, Nakaenoshima Island was the site of many Christian executions from around 1622, and was revered as a place of martyrdom.
At Nakaenoshima, a sacred site for the Christians, a ceremony called “Omizutori” was held to collect holy water for use in baptisms and other rituals.
Changes in the Forms of Belief
Due to the long absence of priests after the Christian ban, the Christian faith in the region gradually merged with the old Japanese form of faith.
Mt.Yasumandake, the highest peak on Hirado Island, was called “Oyamasama” and was the object of worship.
It is believed that the Christians of the Kasuga and Kokasuga areas continued their own unique form of faith, a fusion of Christianity and indigenous Japanese beliefs, centered on the organization of the Mercy Group (Confraria de Misericordia).
Mt.Maruoyama, where a ritual called “Okomori” is performed by priests, and this event is believed to have been influenced by Shintoism.
Although each had its own Kakure-Kirishitan organization, the organization was disbanded in the Kasuga area in the 1960s and in Koharuhi around 1997, and events gradually ceased to take place.
Surroundings and location
Kasuga Village and Mt. Yasumandake are located in the northwestern part of Hirado Island. At 530 meters above sea level, Mt. Yasumandake is the highest mountain on Hirado Island.
The above-mentioned Saizenji Temple is no longer in existence, and the remains of a garden and numerous seal pagoda Hokyointo remain at the site.
On the summit of the mountain, a stone pagoda and a stone shrine, which are believed to have been the object of worship of the Kakure-Kirishitan, still remain.
Nakaenoshima is located 2 km offshore from Hirado Island and Ikitsuki Island, respectively, and is an uninhabited island about 400 m long and 50 m wide.
Nakaenoshima is an island where hidden Christians used to bring their boats close to the island to draw holy water, but now it is not allowed to land.
|Address||Shimonakano-cho,Hirado City, Nagasaki(Nakaenoshima Island)/Kasuga-cho(Kasuga Village)/Shushi-cho i(Mt.Yasumandake)|
|Parking area||Visitor parking(Terraced rice fields in Kasuga)/Visitor parking(“Yasumandake Tozanguchi”)|