Goto Islands A Vacation of Pilgrimage



For more than 200 years during the 17th-19th Century period, Japan isolated itself from the outside world and outlawed Christianity. Thousands of Christians consequently relocated to the Goto Islands in the East China Sea, in particular to Fukue Island, where they continued to practise their faith in great secrecy. When the Meiji government lifted the ban in 1873, the Japanese Christians remaining on the Goto Islands began to build churches all over these islands. Although some of the churches may look a little shabby from the outside, inside they are extremely well-maintained. They are quiet and beautiful places of reflection, where the island’s faithful believers come to pray.

We head to the ferry and begin our journey across a serene and beautiful sea, to the Goto Islands. It’s a mesmerising trip to Fukue, the island that we will call home it welcomes us with a beautiful sunset. We feel so lucky to be here.
It is amazing how there are so many Catholic churches in Goto. Goto’s Church is special because it is in a very remote location, hidden in nature. It was an adventure getting there and we got a little lost in the car. We reward ourselves by relaxing on beach. We sunbathe on the white sand and swim in the clear and turquoise water. We also play with our food! We ended the morning fishing noodles out of a tiny pool surrounded by this beautiful
As we drive to the airport, we recall every place and every person we have met on these islands. We think about its fasci- nating history, as the place where Japa- nese Christians settled, about the beau- tiful churches they built and how they left some of my European culture in my newly beloved Japan. It is so wonderful.

Getting there

The air carrier ANA has direct flights to Japan from London, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich. The journey from Europe to Tokyo takes between 10 and 12 hours. The Goto Islands can be reached in two ways from Tokyo. Visitors either take a two-hour flight to Nagasaki and then a 30-minute flight or 85-minute ferry to Fukue Island or take a two-hour flight to Fukuoka and then a 40-minute flight or 40-minute ferry to Fukue.