Touching history Visiting Churches

Former Gorin Church(Villages on Hisaka Island)

Goto City, Nagasaki
Advance notice required
Former Gorin Church(Villages on Hisaka Island)

For visitors to Former Gorin Church

In the area where the Former Gorin Church Hall stands in the component property “Villages on Hisaka Island,” there is the Catholic Gorin Church belonging to the Hamawaki parish.
The Former Gorin Church has ceased to function as a church, and regular religious services are held at the nearby Catholic Gorin Church.
The building used as the former Hamawaki Church was moved to this area in 1931 and served as the Gorin Church for almost 50 years.
In 1985, the dilapidated Gorin Church was scheduled to be demolished for reconstruction.
A local preservation movement saved the Gorin Church from demolition, and it was restored as a cultural asset owned by Goto City.
The building was spared demolition due to a local campaign for its preservation, and Goto City became the owner and carried out restoration work.
The municipality and local residents work together to accommodate visitors.

Cultural assets, etc. included in the constituent assets

Designation title as cultural assetsDesignation categoryDesignation year
Cultural Landscape of Hisaka Island in GotoImportant Cultural Landscape selected by the national government2011
Former Gorin Church/GotoImportant Cultural Property designated by the national government1999
History of Christianity in the region.

In 1562, Uku Sumisada, lord of the Goto domain, was cured of a fever by Luis de Almeida (1525?-1583), a Jesuit missionary licensed as a physician.
Feeling indebted to him, the feudal lord invited Almeida and the Japanese monk Lorenzo Ryosai (1526-1592) to the Goto Islands in 1566.
Almeida and Lorenzo carried out Christian missionary work in the territory, and the lord supported them.

At one time, the congregation reached more than 2,000 believers, but after the prohibition in 1614, persecution of Christians spread to various parts of the Goto Islands.
Although some continued their faith in secret during the period of the prohibition, the hidden Christians in the Goto region were not as organized as those in the Sotome and Hirado regions.
It is believed that the Christian faith in the Goto region gradually declined.
In 1797, the Goto and Omura clans signed an emigration agreement regarding the development of agricultural land in the Goto Islands, and emigration spread to Hisaka Island.
In the Goto Islands, a large-scale persecution of Christians called the “Goto-kuzure” occurred in the early Meiji period (1868-1912), and the persecution on Hisaka Island was particularly horrific.
Two hundred people were confined in a 6-tsubo (about 213 square feet) jail for eight months, and the Rouya-no-sako Martyrs Church of the Prisoners was built on the site where 42 people were martyred.

History of Former Gorin Church

The current Former Gorin Church was originally built in 1881 as Hamawaki Church in the Hamawaki area.
On Hisaka Island, churches were built in the districts of Eiri Church, Zazare Church, and Akanita Church, beginning with Hamawaki Church in 1881.
When Hamawaki Church was newly built in 1931, the old building was moved to the Gorin area and used as Gorin Church.

In 1985, half a century after its reconstruction, the decision was made to rebuild the Gorin Church and demolish the old building due to severe damage from the years and the sea wind.
However, after discussions, it was decided to preserve the building, and it was donated to Fukue City (now Goto City), which undertook extensive restoration work.
The three-aisle chancel has a rib vaulted ceiling in both the nave and side aisles.
The starting point of the ribs in the side aisles is lower than in the nave, which makes the ceiling in the nave appear higher.
Although it is a small wooden church, the interior wood surfaces and plaster walls create a sense of serenity.
In 1999, it was designated a National Important Cultural Property.

Surroundings and location

Hisaka Island, which belongs to Goto City, is located between Fukue Island to the south and Naru Island to the north.
The Former Gorin Church is located in the eastern part of Hisaka Island, facing Naruseto, and stands on a very narrow site near the shore of an inlet, with a forest to the south.
To get there by land, visitors must walk about 500 meters from the parking lot along a mountain road and a road along the sea.


Prior noticePrior notice required for both individuals and groups.
Address993-11 Warabi-cho, Goto City, Nagasaki
Masses/religious eventsNone
Visiting HoursEvery Tuesday through Sunday8:30~12:00/13:00~16:30(The church is staffed with attendants.)
*The staff is not available on Mondays and the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month.The church is not locked and may be visited.
Parking areaVisitor parking
*Please note that the road to the Former Gorin Church is not paved.
Related dataPriority areas for the prevention of littering【PDF file(Approx. 30 KB)】

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