Goto Islands | Historical tour of Fukue and its Churches

Like most of Japan, Goto Islands had their castles and samurai. You can still find remanence of the past near the city center of Fukue. 

First is Fukue Castle which was built in 1606 and is now being used as school grounds for children. Right nearby you will find the Bukeyashiki road, which is where the samurai used to live. Along this cobble stone road lined with stone walls are various museums that will teach you about the people, history, and art of Goto Islands. A must visit is Furusatokan (武家屋敷通りふるさと館). It exhibits local crafts and arts and even has a café where you can rest. More importantly, they offer many hands-on experiences for you to make something that is famous in Goto for you to bring a piece home. 


If you don’t already know, most of Japan practices Shintoism and Buddhism. Shinto Shrines can be recognized by their red torii gates, whereas Buddhist temples are often marked with wooden gates (mon). You will find all sorts of shrines and temples as you drive around Fukue Island. Two temples that I recommend to visit are: 

  • 明星院 Myojoin: known for their many rows of buddha statues 
  • 大宝寺 Daihoji: run by a kind monk and the main hall is decorated with incredible carvings 

(The 2 photos above are from Myojoin)

(The 4 photos below are from Daihoji)

During the Edo period (1603-1865) when the Tokugawa shogun ruled Japan, Christianity was banned for over 250 years. As a result, many of them fled to Goto Islands since it is remote. Hidden Christianity was therefore what Goto became famous for. After the ban was lifted in the late 1800s, churches started to be built everywhere and can be found throughout the islands. They are now a designated UNESCO heritage sight listed under the “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region”. 


Some of the churches are still being used by believers today, and with permission you can see the inside as well. There are signs in various languages to teach you about the origin of each church. 


Here are some of the key ones that I was able to visit: 

  • Kaitsu Church 貝津教会  
  • Imochiura Church 持浦教会  
  • Dozaki Church 堂崎教会 

(Photos above is of Imochiura Church by New Pandora restaurant)

(Photo above is from Dozaki Church)

In part 3 of this series, I will dive into how to enjoy and get close to the nature of Goto Islands with activities. 

Below is a map of locations mentioned in this series of blog posts:



Follow me on instagram for more tips on travel in Japan

No comments:

Post a Comment