National highway 389, which runs through Kumamoto prefecture’s Amakusa islands, is a popular driving course due to its beautiful coastal views and evening sunsets (it is also known as the “Sunset line”). From the famous Shimoda hot springs which are located along this national highway, it takes around 30 minutes by car to reach Sakitsu church. After going through many tunnels, the Gothic-style church will suddenly appear. It is in the middle of a hidden-away fishing village located right by the seashore and surrounded by many houses.

The church’s pointed spire and white cross blend seamlessly into this fishing village’s surrounding natural scenery and certainly don’t look out of place. The church stands in the spot where the residence of the village headsmen was once located, which was where e-fumi ceremonies were conducted (these ceremonies have today come to symbolise the long history of oppression which Japanese Catholics have endured). It was the express wish of Father Halbout, a French missionary priest who was appointed to Sakitsu in 1927, that the church should be built here. It is even said that the altar was deliberately positioned in the exact spot where fumie trampling is said to have occurred. As such, Sakitsu church today stands as a powerful symbol of the resurrection of the Christian faith in Amakusa.