Summer of Nagasaki: Hirado

Castle town with a view of temples and a church, which was the oldest base for international trade with Europe - Hirado City, Nagasaki

St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church and a statue of St. Xavier

This is a representative view of Hirado, where St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church, Komyoji Temple and Zuiunji Temple can be seen at the same time. Located in the northwest part of Nagasaki Prefecture, Hirado is a historic castle town on the westernmost overland route in Japan. 446 years ago in 1550, Hirado was the first Japapnese port to trade with Europe by receiving ships from Portugal. Takanobu Matsura, the feudal lord of the Hirado Domain, welcomed the ships and activley promoted international trade with Portugal. Imported items include guns and gunpowder, as well as silk, silk fabric, spice and chemicals, while silver, swords, lacquerware, etc. were exported. Around the same time, trading ships from the Ming Dynasty in China also came to the port. Merchants from Kyoto and Sakai visited Hirado for the exotic items that could be found in the port, and the vibrant atmosphere in the town earned it teh nickname of the "capital in the west." Later, trade with Holland and England began. Hirado has buildings and historical sites that represent the cultural exchanges and history between Japan and Western countries.

Inside of the church

Restored Dutch trading house

Takashi Matsura, the fifth lord, launched a reconstruction work of Hirado Castle in 1704. The current castle was restored in 1962.

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