Pickup Now ! Vol.10

Amakusa - Exploring Heaven’s Grass

Known as "Heaven's Grass", the islands of Amakusa combine splendid natural beauty with a deeply-woven religious history that certainly does their name justice.

The churches of Oe and Sakitsu

When Christianity first reached Japan in Kyushu, the Japanese were very tolerant and many even converted to the new religion. This peaceful time of coexistence came to an end when the shogunate closed the nation to all foreigners and banned Christianity. Far from shogunate interference, Amakusa soon became a refuge for Christians, where they practised their belief in secret until the ban was eventually lifted two centuries later. The churches in Oe and Sakitsu are the oldest examples of exchange between the West and the East after the ban. Today, these Western-style churches give off a mystique atmosphere taking you back through time and, it seems, space.

1782 Oe, Amakusa-machi, Amakusa-shi / 574, Sakitsu, Kawaura-machi, Amakusa-shi
9:00-17:00 on Tuesdays to Saturdays; and 11:30-17:00 on Sundays
Access from Hondo Bus Center:
Local bus to Shimoda Onsen where you need to transfer to the bus bound for Kawaura kōkōmae. The bus will pass Oe first but also goes to Sakitsu so you can take the same bus later.
Dolphin Habitat

Surrounded by clear blue waters and an abundance of small fish, Amakusa is a welcoming environment for wild bottlenose dolphins. Over 300 of these kind and majestic creatures inhabit the waters off the shore of Tsuji-shima, and hopping on a local boat to see the dolphins is a dream come true. The dolphins are as curious about you as you are about them, and happily approach the boat to greet you!

Tsuji-shima, Itsuwa-machi, Amakusa-shi
Access from Hondo:
Local bus to Tsujishima.

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Writer:Bjorn Koolen

Although he has lived in both Tokyo and Kyoto for quite some time now, Bjorn continues to explore Japan's less well-known corners for the country's endless beauty and delicious local dishes. By sharing his experience he hopes to inspire others to create their own cherished memories of Japan.

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