Candidates for a world heritage
Nakae no shima
Shimonakano-chou, Hirado-shi, Nagasaki-ken, 〒859-5144
An unpopulated island located 2km off the northwest coast of Hirado. The island is 400metres long and 50metres wide.
In the early years of the ban on Christianity, the Hirado feudal domain executed a large number of Christians on this island.
Following these executions, Nakae no shima became a sacred place in the Hidden Christian faith as practised in Ikitsuki island and along Hirado’s west coast in places like Kasuga village. Hidden Christians in these locales began to visit the island to perform a special “water-drawing ceremony” (omizutori) whereby they would collect holy water seeping out from the rocks.
The island was called San Juan-sama and omukae-sama by the Hidden Christians, and today this water-drawing ceremony continues to be performed regularly.