Touching history Visiting Churches

Oura Cathedral

Nagasaki City, Nagasaki
Not advance notice required
Oura Cathedral(Former Oura Church)

For visitors to Oura Cathedral

A Catholic church founded in 1864 by French priests of the Paris Foreign Missions Society, a new church was built in 1975, and the current “Oura Tenshudo” is open to the public for a fee as a facility and historical site that conveys history, along with the adjacent cultural properties on its grounds.
The “Oura Church Christian Museum,” consisting of the Former Latin Seminary and the Former House of the Archbishop of Nagasaki , offers various related exhibits.
*For information on opening hours, prices and group bookings, please call.

Cultural assets, etc. included in the constituent assets

Cultural Properties NameDesignation categoryDesignation year
Oura CathedralNational Treasure designated by the national government1933
Former Latin SeminaryImportant Cultural Property designated by the national government1972
Precincts of Oura CathedralHistoric Site designated by the national government2012
Minamiyamate Preservation District for Groups of Traditional BuildingsImportant Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings selected by the national government1991
* Other cultural assets
Cultural Properties NameDesignation categoryDesignation year
Former House of the Archbishop of NagasakiTangible cultural property designated by Nagasaki Prefecture2011
History of Christianity in the region.

Few documents remain that shed light on the history of Christianity in the area prior to the construction of the Oura Cathedral in 1865.
After the opening of Japan’s five ports in 1858, the Roman Curia sent French priests from the Paris Foreign Missions Society to Japan.
On March 17, 1865, about a month after the dedication ceremony of the Oura Cathedral, built for the foreigners in the settlement, Christians from Urakami mixed with the visitors and visited the church.

One of them approached Father Petitjean, who was praying in the cathedral, and told him that he too was a Christian. Thus, Father Petitjean came to know of the existence of Christians who had been hiding in Japan for more than 250 years under the ban.
This event, a worldwide religious miracle, brought Oura into the limelight of history.

History of Oura Cathedral(Oura Church)

Construction of the cathedral began in January 1864, was completed on December 29, and the dedication of church was held the following year on February 19, 1865, with Father Girard(Prudence Seraphin Barthelemy Girard:1821 – 1867) officiating.
When the ban on Christianity was lifted in 1873 and the faith became tacitly accepted, the church became too small for the growing number of believers and had to be enlarged and remodeled.

The expansion and renovation work begun in 1879 doubled Oura Cathedral’s original size and gave it a whitewashed exterior.
It was completed on June 30, 1952, after repairing the damage caused by the atomic bombing on August 9, 1945, as well as parts that had deteriorated over time.
It was designated a National Treasure on January 23, 1933, and redesignated a National Treasure on March 31, 1953.
In 1975, 110 years after the dedication, a new Oura Church was built across the street from the Oura Cathedral, and the daily liturgy and role of the church were taken over by the Oura Church.

Surroundings and location

Located in the former foreign settlement area created in 1860, it was built on a cleared hillside on the northern slope facing Nagasaki Port.
The road leading from the Matsugae area to Minamiyamate is paved with stone pavement, and stone steps are provided from the main entrance to Tenshudo.
the Former Latin Seminary is built on the upper level where the second floor of the Former House of the Archbishop of Nagasaki in the middle of the stone staircase is grounded.

The back (south) side of the Tenshudo is cut off as steep cliff land, so the front faces north, resulting in pointing in the direction of the Twenty-six Saints of Japan.


Prior notice:Not required.
Address:5-3 Minamiyamate-machi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki
Masses/religious events:Please call us for more information.
Oura Cathedral +81-95-823-2628 / Christian Museum +81-95-801-0707
Visiting Hours:8:30-18:00(Last entry is at 17:30) *Winter 8:30-17:30
Parking area:None.(Please use a nearby toll parking lot.)
Related data:Priority areas for the prevention of littering【PDF file(Approx. 300 KB)】

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