It is on Nishizaka Hill just in front of JR Nagasaki station.
The Society of Jesus sent Francisco de Xavier, a Catholic missionary,
to Asia in 1541.
He came to Japan through India in 1549.
This was the first time when Christianity was introduced to Japan.
After that, the Western missionaries were engaged in missionary work in
the western Japan, on the understanding of the local lords.
They got many believers, and some lords also converted Christianity.
In the 1580s, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598) unified Japan after a
century of war, and became the head of Japan.
He was in favor of Christianity first.
But he heard that the Christian lords persecuted Buddhism, the missionaries ate "cows" (beef), the Westerner sold Japanese people into slavery.
Hideyoshi was angry at the behaviors putting a country into confusion, so he banned the Christianity and trading with Western countries in 1587.
After that, the Society of Jesus had refrained voluntarily from the
Nevertheless Franciscans had been very active.
Hideyoshi had given a tacit approval to moderate missionary work, but he ordered to catch Franciscans in Japan and the Japanese believers in 1596, at last.
And 26 Christians were caught in Kyoto and Osaka.
They were 6 Western bishops and monks and 20 Japanese Christians.
They were dragged through the streets in Kyoto, then they were sent to Nagasaki.
And they were put to death by piercing with spears, at Nishizaka Hill on February 5th, 1597.
They became the Japan's first martyrs.
They were sainted by Pope Pius IX (1792-1878) in 1862.
And Oura Catholic Church built in 1864 faces here.
On this site, Memorial to the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of
Japan was built in 1962, in celebration of the 100th anniverary of
There are a museum, a church and a monument.
In 1981, Pope John Paul II visited here.
About 5 minutes from JR Nagasaki station.
Oura Catholic Church