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Hirado city

HiradoMap of central Hirado Hirado city is located in the northwesten part of Nagasaki Prefecture, and the central area is about 35 km northwest of Sasebo city.
Most areas of the city is in Hirado Island, and the central area is located at the north part of the island.
It faces narrow channel between the island and the mainland, and Hirado-Ohashi bridge connects them.

The central area in Hirado city is located about 3 km northwest of the bridge.

In 1549, Francisco de Xavier (1506-1552) of the Society of Jesus came from Portugal to Kagoshima, and he introduced Christianity first to Japan.
Then he came to Hirado on the following year, and missioned the people here.

Since that, the trading ships from Spain, Holland, Britain and China came here often. And the merchants built their trading offices here.
In 1641, the base of trading with foreign countries was moved to Dejima in Nagasaki city.

Hirado had had a castle since the early 17th century.
So after the foreign offices were left, Hirado had developed as a small castle town.

In Hirado city, we can enjoy the moods of the former Western taste and Japanese taste.
The following spots are in the central Hirado, and we can tour around them on foot.

Main popular spots in central Hirado city

  • Hirado Castle /1/ : The castle on a hill located south side of Hirado Port.
    First, a castle was begun to build in 1599, but it was demolished just before the completion for political reasons in 1613.
    After the nation had become stable, the new castle was built in 1707.
    After the end of feudal Edo Period (1868), the castle was demolished again, and some buildings including the castle tower were restored in 1962.
    Now the castle tower has a museum and an observatory.
  • Saiwaibashi bridge (Dutch Bridge) /2/ : A stone bridge across Kagami River built in 1702.
    To built this bridge, the technology to construct Dutch Trade House was used. So the nickname "Dutch Bridge" was given.
    It is designated as a national important cultural property.
  • The view of a Catholic Church and Buddhist Temples /3/ : Hirado's most popular place on a street.
    We can see two Buddhist temple (Komyoji and Zuiunji) and St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church at one view.
  • St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church /4/ : A Catholic church built in 1931.
    After the government lifted the ban on Christianity in 1873, the hidden Christians appeared around Hirado and many of them came to central Hirado city.
    So this church was built for them.
  • Great Cycad /5/ : A great cycad tree.
    It is said that the tree is about 400-600 years old. This tree should have seen the period when many Europeans came here.
    Now, it is too big to stand without support.
  • Hexagon Well /6/ : A Chinese-style hexagon well.
    It was built by a Chinese merchant allowed to live in Hirado in the 1540s.
  • Matsuura Historical Museum /7/ : Matsuura family had been the lord around Hirado area since ancient times.
    This museum introduces Matsuura family and the history of Hirado.
  • Ruins of Dutch Trade House /8/ : The ruins of Dutch Trade House of East India Company located on the seaside to the east of Hirado Port.
    The site had been enlarged from 1612 to 1639.
    But it was moved to Dejima in Nagasaki city in 1641, and the buildings were demolished.
    Since 1987, the remains has been investigated, and the trade house is resoring.
    Now, we can see the remains such as stone walls, well, pier and an eternal light.
Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By railroad and route bus

  1. From Hakata to Sasebo, by JR limited express "Midori", about 1 hour 50 minutes to 2 hours.
    From Nagasaki to Sasebo, by rapid train on JR Omura Line, about 1 hour 40 minutes.
  2. By route bus, about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Sasebo station to Hirado Pier.

Hirado-Ohashi bridge Hirado Castle
Dutch Bridge The view of a Catholic Church and Buddhist Temples
St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church Great Cycad
Hexagon Well Matsuura Historical Museum
Restoring ruins of Dutch Trade House Dutch wall
Dutch well Eternal light by the sea

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Spots in Nagasaki city and Prefecture

Shinchi Chinatown
Confucius Shrine
Oura Catholic Church
Glover Garden
Megane Bridge
Martyrdom Memorial
San'no Shrine
Hypocenter Park
A-Bomb Museum
Peace Park
Urakami Cathedral
Mount Inasa

Mount Unzen
Kuju-ku islands
Fukue island