VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Hirado, Japan

Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi
Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi

VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Hirado, Japan

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Okinawa

Whether you’re working from home, sheltering in place or just staying home, if you’re like us, you’re probably dreaming of open skies, sandy beaches, tall mountains, or perfect powdery slopes. Our travel plans may be on hold, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream up where we’ll go next.

Welcome to virtual vacation video series where we can explore destinations from the comfort of our homes.

Join us as we take a short virtual journey to Hirado, Japan.

 

The great thing about this destination is that it is easily accessible from Tokyo via a short flight through Fukuoka or Nagasaki airports. From Sasebo Naval Base, it’s only 40-minute drive.

Hirado is located on the western tip of Japan, and was Japan’s main international trading port for 90 years until the nation instituted its closed-door policy in 1641. The exotic look created by traditional Japanese homes shadowed by gothic-style cathedrals and Dutch-built stone port facilities, makes Hirado a great attraction.

Some of the must-see spots in Hirado include:

  • Hirado Castle and downtown

Five-storied Hirado Castle offers a panoramic view of the whole town and harbor against a backdrop of blue sea and the Matsura Peninsula. Strolling down stone-paved streets, you can find vestiges of the town’s glorious past. Here you’ll see many Dutch-inspired architecture mixed with traditional Japanese architecture in one spot.

  • Hirado Catholic Church and Buddhist Temples

Also known as Hirado Church, Saint Francisco Xavier Catholic Church is a large and beautiful gothic-like green church, commemorating a saint who introduced Christianity here in 1550. Walking up a sloping stone path, you will see a very impressive view of the spire and cross of the church in combination with the traditional Japanese tiled roofs and grave stones of Komyoji and Zuionji temples, showcasing the merging of Japanese and Western cultures.

  • Neshiko Village and the beach

Neshiko Village is known as home to hidden Christians who still keep religious artifacts under wraps and pray in secret. You can check out their artifacts displayed at the Hirado Christian Museum near the beach. The beach is a holy spot for Christians because this is where, in 1635, over 70 locals were executed when Christianity was banned by the Shogunate government.

While you're there, don't forget to sample “Champon,” a popular local noodle dish, as it has incredibly thick and chewy noodles served in a tasty pork-bone broth with fish, squid, clam and local vegetables.

I hope you enjoyed a look at Hirado through my travel photos and that it's inspired your next trip. Stay safe and get ready to travel with us in our next video. Thanks for watching!

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