Amakusa, the Islands of Prayer Kumamoto's Amakusa, a World Heritage Site: Experience Hidden Christianity, Culture, and Nature

Amakusa consists of 120 islands of different sizes. Experience these historical “islands of prayer”.

Believers known as the "hidden Christians" lived here during the 200-year Edo period (1603-1868) in which Christianity was suppressed. This is why Amakusa came to be known as the islands of prayer. We invite you to experience history on these islands that have been nurtured by nature and culture.

(map) Amakusa Amakusa

Amakusa Christian Museum

This is the place to visit if you want to learn about the history of Amakusa and Christianity. Exhibits that tell of historical events are on display and include weapons used by Christian peasants in the Shimabara-Amakusa Ikki (the Shimabara-Amakusa Rebellion), as well as one of the three world's great religious flags.

Amakusa Dolphin Pia

This is a tourist spot where you can learn about dolphins. Amakusa is home to more than 200 wild dolphins, and dolphin watching can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Nishibira Tsubaki Park

The Nishibira Tsubaki Park boasts around 20,000 camellia bushes. The best views can be enjoyed every February and March, when the mountain slopes are covered with blooming camellias. The observation platform that overlooks the seas of Amakusa is also an ideal viewing spot to catch one of Japan's top 100 sunsets. Do not miss the park's giant ficus tree, which stands 20 meters high.

Hotel Alegria Gardens Amakusa

The hotel is large onsen spa resort overlooking the Ariake Sea. Amakusa's beautiful seas can be viewed from any spot in the hotel, which stands atop a hill in the heart of Amakusa. The ocean view guest rooms and natural hot springs will soothe your mind and body.

The birthplace of Haiya

The folk song "Ushibuka Haiyabushi" is said to have originated in Ushibukamachi, one of Amakusa's port towns. It spread from port to port, with various arrangements added in each region, until it came to be sung throughout the country. Enjoy the lively Haiya dance every April, when the Ushibuka Haiya Festival takes place.

Sakitsu Village

This is a fishing village where Christianity has continued to coexist with Buddhism and Shintoism since the Christian suppression. The Christian believers of Sakitsu revered seashells as sacred, as the patterns on the shells' interior resembled the Virgin Mary.

Amakusa Traditional Crafts Experience

Famous traditional Amakusa crafts include clay dolls, temari (traditional toy balls), Brahman kites, oshi-e (a pictorial craft), and pottery. During the ban on Christianity, the hidden Christians saw the clay dolls as an allusion to Virgin Mary embracing the Infant Jesus and thus worshiped it in secret.

Itinerary Map

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  • Approx. 2 hours 40 minutes by car
  • 1 Approx. 20 minutes by car
  • 2 Approx. 1 hour by car
  • 3 Approx. 1 hour 15 minutes by car
  • 4 Approx. 1 hour 10 minutes by car
  • 5 Approx. 35 minutes by car
  • 6 Approx. 45 minutes by car
  • 7 Approx. 2 hours and 30 minutes by car
  • Please refer to the travel time as a guide

How to Get There

To get to the Amakusa area, first visit Kumamoto Airport. From the airport, it takes around 20 minutes by air or 3 hours by car to get to the Amakusa area. If you don't fly or drive there, you can access it by buses, trains, or boats, with some changes along the way. Once there, you can rent a car or use the Amakusa tour bus "Amakusa Gurutto Shuyu Bus (sightseeing bus in Amakusa)" to get around.

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