"Tastes of JAPAN by ANA" is a regional vitalization project that collaborates with the different prefectures in Japan to present the Land of the Rising Sun in all of its diverse glory.
In June 2018, hidden Christian sites in Nagasaki and the Amakusa region became a World Heritage Site. It consists of 12 heritage sites, including the Hara Castle Ruins, Nakaenoshima Island, Kasuga Village, and Mount Yasumandake.
Sacred places and the village in Hirado (Kasuga Village and Mount Yasumandake) are communities in which Christians secretly maintained their faith by adhering it to natural things such as mountains and islands amidst Japanese ancient nature worship. Religious items were handed down in rooms called the "Nando" of the teacher's house and worshipped at sacred places such as Mount Yasumandake on Hiradoshima Island and the Christian cemetery that existed before Christianity was prohibited. The sacred places are still worshipped at, thus maintaining the unique landscape of the era of the persecution of Christians in Japan.
Sacred Places and the Village in Hirado (Nakaenoshima Island)
Nakaenoshima Island, where records of the execution of Christians in the Hirado Domain from early in the era of the persecution of Christians remain, is an uninhabited island with a length of about 400 meters and a width of about 50 meters, located 2 kilometers off the northwest coast of Hiradoshima Island in the northwest of the Nagasaki region. Those Christians secretly worshipped on this island as the place for martyrdom. It is also revered as a sacred place where the Omizutori ritual to collect holy water that seeps from the rocks was performed. The island still retains a distinctive form of religious belief from the era of persecution.
Hara Castle Ruins
This castle site was the setting for the Shimabara Rebellion, in which Shimabara and Amakusa Christians rose up in the beginning of the era of persecution. The Christian rebellion had a great impact on the Edo Shogunate and after that it established a system banning maritime activity that lasted for over two centuries, forcing Christians in the absence of foreign missionaries to continue their faith on their own. A large amount of human bones and religious tools, etc., were unearthed at the site of the Hara Castle Ruins, showing the brutality of the oppression during the era of persecution.