One of the few places in Japan where Christianity and Catholicism are practiced is in Nagasaki prefecture. For many years Christianity was banned in the country, forcing believers to hide their faith for decades. It was with the advent of the Meiji era in 1868 that this ban was lifted and followers were able to express themselves freely.
With much effort, Catholics and Christians came together and built the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Nagasaki, also known as “The Cathedral of Urakami”, which from its foundation in 1914 until its destruction in 1945, was the main cathedral built in brick in the Romanesque style of Asia.
It had two Angelus bells from France on the front pair of towers. It was conceived as an imposing structure.
Unfortunately, while a mass was being celebrated due to the proximity of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, on August 9, 1945 at 11:02 a.m., 500 meters from the largest church in all of Asia, the second atomic bomb dropped exploded. against Japan by the American army, scorching everyone present in an instant, and the church was totally destroyed.
Later, despite having been a very strong blow to the believers in Nagasaki, in 1959 the cathedral was rebuilt and, in 1980, they finished the structure that now looks like the original cathedral.
One of the two Angelus bells survived the impact of the bomb and is currently running, telling the time three times a day. Near the precincts of the church are some of the statues of saints that survived the explosion but were marked by the heat. There is also the other bell that was destroyed by the bomb.
Today, the Cathedral is a symbol of the Christian faith of some of the people of Nagasaki City, and it is a very beautiful place. It is a European-style basilica that functions like any other sanctuary, only this one has a survival meaning. One of the statues of the Virgin Mary that withstood the heat generated by the explosion is on display at the United Nations.
Still near the epicenter of the bomb, a wall of the original Cathedral is preserved. The other surviving parts are displayed in the Nagasaki atomic bomb museum.
For people interested in the history of Nagasaki, the atomic bomb or the Christian faith practiced in Japan, this is a place that is recommended to visit during your stay in Nagasaki Prefecture.