Welcome to Nagasaki Prefectural World Heritage Registration Promotion Division

Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region

Unique Architectural Styles

 The church architecture of Nagasaki is part of the heritage of an exchange of values in the field of architecture, born from the meeting of Europe and Japan. The churches are representative examples of architecture created under the combined influences of Christianity and Japanese culture, and also display the technological aspects of the exchange between Europe and Japan. At the time when churches first started to be built in the Nagasaki region, traditional Japanese architectural techniques were used under the direct guidance of European missionaries. After that, through the work of the residents of each area, a diverse variety of churches were built, employing Western architectural techniques and materials such as wood and stone. These churches show us the process of the development of ecclesiastical architecture through technical exchange.
These examples of church architecture include designs and styles of European origin, but also the characteristics of Japanese architecture. One example is the design of interiors to fit the Japanese customs of removing shoes and sitting on the floor. In addition, the use of Japanese decorations like those in the shape of camellias, and materials unique to the Nagasaki region like Arita ceramics, is a characteristic not found in churches in other regions. These aspects show the rich exchange of ideas which occurred between the realms of European architectural design and Japanese culture.
In this way, the church architecture of the Nagasaki region, while simple, is full of the rich characteristics and diversity of the region, and is a representative example of East-West exchange in the field of architecture from the 19th century onwards.