Welcome to Nagasaki Prefectural World Heritage Registration Promotion Division

Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region

The Value of Nagasaki’s Churches as a Candidate for World Heritage Nomination

Justification for inscription criterion (ii)
The “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region” are heritage sites which tell a story of the exchange of values between Japan and the West over 450 years, an exchange which influenced the village landscapes and cultural traditions which still retain elements dating back to the era of the Anti-Christian Edicts, as well as the development of church architecture in which the architectural cultures of Japan and the West are fused.
Justification for inscription criterion (iii)
The “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region”, through a 450-year process of the dissemination and acceptance of Christianity, are a rare testimony to the formation of religious and cultural traditions which adapted in unique form to the Japanese living environment, natural conditions, and ethnic customs.
Justification for inscription criterion (vi)
The “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region” are directly related to events of outstanding and universal significance, including the expansion of international trade and cultural exchange in the 16th-century Age of Exploration, Japan’s anti-Christian and closed-country policies in the 17th century, and the opening of the country and the revival of Christianity in Japan which took place as a part of 19th-century globalization.

Inscription criteria for World Heritage sites

to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);
to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

(Reproduced from the UNESCO World Heritage website)