Candidates for a world heritage

Kasuga Village

(撮影:日暮雄一)

Address

Kasuga-machi, Hirado-shi, Nagasaki-ken,〒859-5375

A village along the west coast of Hirado, facing out towards Ikitsuki island. Hirado was on the maritime route which linked Europe with India, China and Japan, and it accepted foreign trade along with foreign missionaries.
Kasuga village has two main settlements, one which consists of terraced rice fields which spread out around the base of Mt. Yasumandake (which is believed to be a holy mountain), and another which consists of two areas of lowland facing the sea.
Kasuga village is comprised of early Japanese Christian cemetery remains that the local residents treat as holy sites, terraced rice fields from of old, houses where nandogami (lit. “gods of the storage closet”) are enshrined, tombstones and small stone shrines built in the Shintō and Buddhist traditions during the era of Christianity’s prohibition, as well as old trails which connect these various things.
The landscape in this area remains virtually unchanged from the time when Christianity was first introduced to Hirado in the mid-sixteenth century. It is still being preserved today in much the same way as it was during the time when Christianity was banned.
When the ban on Christianity was lifted in 1873, Hidden Christians from this area chose not to rejoin the Catholic Church. There is therefore no Catholic Church in Kasuga village.

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