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  • Nagasaki

Hinoe Castle Ruins

The Hinoe Castle Ruins are all that remains of the castle of Arima Harunobu, a Christian daimyo (feudal lord) of the Warring States Period. Harunobu was the founder of the Arima Seminario, the first European secondary education institution in Japan. (A seminario, or seminary, is a school of Christian theology. The Arima Seminario was equivalent to today's junior high schools.) The members of the Tensho Embassy, a group of Japanese youth who were sent to Rome, were selected from this school. Artifacts that have been excavated from the castle ruins include porcelain and china ware, which are evidence of trade, and gold-leafed roof tiles, which indicate a connection with Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

When Arima Harunobu became lord of his province in 1571, he was not initially favorable toward Christianity. However, as his land faced increasingly fierce attacks from the Ryuzoji clan, he was baptized in 1580 and received aid of food and funds from the Society of Jesus. Further, with reinforcements from the Satsuma Shimazu clan, he finally defeated the Ryuzoji clan in the Battle of Okitanawate. Having overcome this crisis, Harunobu donated part of his land, the village of Urakami, to the Jesuits and, after the death of influential Christian daimyos, Omura Sumitada and Otomo Sorin, he continued to offer refuge to the missionaries, even after the 1587 Edicts Against Christianity were issued.

Hinoe Castle was the residential castle of the Arima family. It faced the ocean and was known as a beautiful castle with views of the sunrise over the water. A 1590 report by the Jesuits contains a description of the castle, whose rooms were "all adorned with items of gold and elegant, resplendent paintings". The report's author stated that he had never thought that buildings of such splendor existed in Japan. In the Edo Period (1603 - 1868), the Arima family lost its exalted status and transferred its residence to Shimabara Castle. Hinoe Castle Ruins was designated as an Historical Monument of Japan in 1982 as an early central site in the history of Christianity in Japan.


Name Hinoe Castle Ruins
Web Sites (In Japanese) https://himawari-kankou.jp/learn/000517.php
Address Kita Arima-cho Bo, Minami-Shimabara-shi, Nagasaki
Business Hours Open year round
Inquiries TEL:0957-65-6333 (Minamishimabara City Tourist Association)

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