The reason behind Kashiragashima’s stone church.
A lengthy process of quarrying and construction, carried out not only by masons but by local Christians themselves, too.
Why was Kashiragashima’s church built out of stone? This is due to the wide local use of sandstone as a perfect building material. But not only this; by using local stone one can keep construction costs low. The stone used in the building of the church can be found almost in front of one’s nose, on the nearby island of Rokurojima and the western part of Kashiragashima’s Shirahama coastline, known as Ugora, and Dennoura, which spreads out below Kamigoto airport. The stones were quarried and broken up, but also, when the weather was fine or the tides were low or weak, were carried from the sea. The local Christians would transport these rocks 2 to 3 times a day, slowly but surely constructing the building. If one looks closely at the walls of the church, one can make out kanji numerals such as “495” or “395”. It becomes clear that the same numbers appear again and again. That’s because the numbers are indicating lengths, such as 4 foot, 9½ inches. If one measures them, the lengths indeed match up.
By using this locally quarried stone, the church blends in perfectly with the greens of the mountainsides and the blues of the sea. Gathering the money for construction costs from household budgets, the church was built slowly over a long period of around 10 years, and thus itself acts as a symbol of faith.