A church which arrived by sea
Former Gorin church was originally located in a different part of Hisaka island
In 1881, a church was built in the Hamawaki area of Hisaka island. A few years previously, Christians from this area had been kept for several months in a tiny nearby prison known as rouya no sako under exceptionally harsh conditions (the Japanese authorities had been upset to learn, following the Discovery of the Hidden Christians at Oura, that thousands more had also been secretly keeping their faith in defiance of the official prohibition on Christianity). By 1881, however, these people were free to worship, with the ban on Christianity having been officially lifted in 1873. They were very poor however, and so could only afford to construct a simple wooden church. After 50 years (in 1931), severe damage from the sea breeze meant that rebuilding the church had become unavoidable. The old church was dismantled and sent to Hisaka’s Gorin district, whose Christians had lived for many years without their own church.
The Gorin district is located on the east side of Hisaka island. The isolated village to which the dismantled Hamawaki church was sent sits below steep cliffs in an area so remote that these dismantled materials had to be transported by raft (the most convenient way to access the village being to approach it by boat from the sea). The church thus began a new life in Gorin, where it was loved and treasured by the Christians living there.
The church which stands in Hamawaki today also has over 50 years of history. At the time of its construction it was the first church in the Goto islands to be built using reinforced concrete.