Oura Church
大浦天主堂 (Oura Tenshudo)

When the Edo shogunate concluded a treaty on free trade with five countries in 1858 Nagasaki became one of the trading ports. This also resulted in the creation of a settlement in the city for foreigners. Constructed for the foreign residents of Nagasaki, this Catholic church is the oldest church in Japan.
The church was dedicated to the recently canonized twenty-six martyrs, executed in 1597. The design of the church was directed by the two French priests Louis Furet and Bernard Petitjean, and the construction was carried out by master carpenter Koyama Hide of Amakusa) present-day Kumamoto Prefecture). Construction work started in 1864 and the church was consecrated two years later in February 1865. Immediately after completion, in March 1865, a group of local “hidden Christians” that had practiced the religion in secret when Christianity was forbidden, appeared before the church and confessed their faith. News of this event, unheard of in the history of world religion reached Pope Pius XI, who declared it “the miracle of the Orient”.
The church was extended in 1875 an 1879, and the plan and exterior design were both altered, with the outside walls being stuccoed in place of the original wooden walls. The main parts of the interior, however, were left much as they were when the church was first built.

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Key information on the cultural property

Designated categoryNational Treasure
Registered dateMarch 3, 1953
Address5-3 Minami Yamatae-machi, Nagasaki City
Proprietary rightsRoman Catholic Diocese of Nagasaki