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Fukue Island

Fukue IslandMap of Fukue Island Fukue Island ("Fukuejima" in Japanese) is the main island of Goto Islands with about 140 islands, and is located about 100 km west of Nagasaki city.
It is about 30 km from east to west and about 25 km from north to south in width.

From ancient times to medieval times, this island had been the stopping point to China.

In the 7th century, Japanese official diplomatic delegations sent to China during the Sui dynasty (current China) came from Osaka to this island, and ventured to cross the East China Sea from here.

From the 14th to 16th centuries, Chinese merchants came to this islands often as a stopping point between Nagasaki city and China.

Goto Islands including Fukue Island are far away from the mainland of Japan.
So many hidden Christians moved to here, after Christianity was banned in the late 16th century.
After lifting the ban on Christianity in 1873, about 50 churches were built in Goto Islands by them.
It is the most proportion of churches to the population in Japan.
Over half of them are in Nakadori Island at the north part of Goto Islands, and 13 churches are in Fukue Island.

Fukue Island has the mood that is a mixture of nature, traditional Japan, China and Christianity.

The central area (Fukue district) is on the east coast and has a port.
And Fukue Airport is located about 3 km south of the district.
We can visit Fukue Island by airplane or high-speed ship.

To tour around this island, we can use route bus, regular sightseeing bus, rental car or sightseeing taxi.
(This island is mountainous, so it is very hard to tour around by rental bicycle.)

Main spots in Fukue Island

  • Ruin of Ishida Castle /1/ : The ruin of the castle built in 1863 located in the ceneter of Fukue district.
    The first castle was destroyed by fire in 1614.
    For a long time, the construction of the new castle had been allowed, but it was allowed to construct in 1849 because of monitoring the ships from modern strong countries.
    But the feudal period had ended, so this castle was demolished in 1872.
    On the site, there are a historical museum, a library, and a high school.
  • Goto Villa Garden /2/ : Japanese garden in the villa of Goto family in the site of Ishida Castle.
    Goto family is the lord of Ishida Castle, and this garden was completed in 1858.
    It is said that this garden was modeled after Kinkakuji's garden in Kyoto.
    But because the plants in warm regions are used and the stones are made of lava, it is something different.
  • Bukeyashiki Street /3/ : "Bukeyashiki" means "samurai residence".
    It is the street in the area just southwest of Ishida Castle, and the samurai serving the castle had lived in this area since 1634.
    The fences are unique. The base stones are made of lava, and many round stones are put on them.
  • Minjindou temple /4/ : A Chinese temple located about 1 km north-northwest of Ishida Castle.
    In the 16th century, Chinese merchants were allowed to live in Fukue, and they built this Chinese temple.
    The stones are from China, and Chinese carpentars built this temple.
  • Hexagon Well /5/ : A hexagon well located about 200 meters south of Minjindou.
    This well was also constructed by Chinese people who lived around here.
  • Myojo-in temple /6/ : A temple of Shingon Buddhism located about 3 km southwest of Fukue district.
    High preiest Kuukai (774-835) studied in China from 804 to 806, and he came to Fukue Island on the way back to Japan.
    When he prayed here, he saw Venus shining brilliantly in the sky.
    He thought it was a sign of good luck, so he founded this temple. And he gave the name "Myojo-in" to this temple. "Myojo" means "Venus".
    (Later, Kuukai founded Kongobuji temple in Mount Koya around 819.)
    By route bus to Tomie, about 10 minutes from Fukue to Myojo-in Iriguchi stop.
  • Ondake volcanos /7/ : Unique inactive volcanos located about 5 km south of Fukue district.
    In this area, there is a low lava plateau formed by the eruption about 3 million years ago, and the diameter is about 5 km.
    Then thousands years ago, the second eruption occured. And some mountains were formed on the lava plateau.
    Especilally Ondake (315 meters high) is covered with lawn grass, so it has been familiar to Fukue residents.
    On the mountain, there is an observatory.
    Use taxi to this mountain.
  • Douzaki Church /8/ : A church located on a small peninsula about 9 km north of Fukue district.
    Soon after lifting of the ban of Christianity in 1873, a French priest was invited here.
    And the first church was built in 1879, then this church was constructed in 1908.
    By route bus to Togi, about 20 minutes from Fukue to Douzaki Tenshudou Iriguchi stop.
  • Imochiura Church /9/ : A church located about 30 km west-southwest of Fukue district.
    It was built in 1895.
    Japan's first holy spring at Lourdes were constructed in 1899 in this church.
    By route bus to Tamanoura, about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Fukue to Rurudo-mae stop.
  • Cape Oosezaki /10/ : The cape at the southwestern end of Fukue Island.
    The cape is surrounded with the cliffs about 100 to 160 meters high.
    On the tip of the cape, there is a lighthouse.
    By route bus to Tamanoura, about 1 hour and 22 minutes from Fukue to Oosezaki-guchi stop.
  • Mizunoura Church /11/ : A church located about 15 km northwest of Fukue district.
    It was founded in 1880, and current wooden church was completed in 1938.
    By route bus to Miiraku, about 33 minutes from Fukue to Mizunoura stop.
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 airplane

  1. To Goto Fukue Airport, about 40 minutes from Fukuoka, about 30 minutes from Nagasaki.
  2. By route bus, about 10 minute to central Fukue district.

By ship

  • By high-speed ship, about 1 hour and 25 minutes from Nagasaki Port to Fukue Port.

Ruin of Ishida Castle
Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun
Goto Villa Garden
Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun
Bukeyashiki Street
Hexagon Well
Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun
Douzaki Church
Imochiura Church
Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun
Our Lady of Lourdes in Imochiura Church
Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun
Cape Oosezaki
Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun
Mizunoura Church

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