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Christian Cave Cruise

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

Enjoy a refreshing tour around the Wakamatsu-seto Strait Marine Park, the Christian cave and other points of interest that can only be accessed by boat. Explore the deep teal, clear waters of the Marine Park, which belongs to Saikai National Park, and observe large table coral up close. Kiri Church looks majestic from the water as well.

bright blue-green water with trees and shore in the background seen from on top of a boat
table coral seen from above the surface of the water
table coral
"Hari no Mendo" - Eye of the Needle

Before reaching the Christian Cave, passengers will see a cliff with an opening that looks like the silhouette of the Holy Mother holding the baby Jesus. Locals call this “Hari no Mendo” which means “eye of the needle.” The entrance to the Christian Cave is on the opposite side of the cliff.

About the Christian Cave

During the early Meiji period, when Christianity was suppressed in Japan, approximately eight Christians from Satonoura in Wakamatsu hid inside of this cave, which is not visible from the water or shore. Eventually, a passing fisherman noticed smoke from their cooking fire and the Christians were discovered and tortured after four months of hiding. Once the ban on Christianity was lifted, this place came to symbolize the hidden Christians and became a destination of religious pilgrimages. In 1967, a 3.6-meter-tall statue of Jesus Christ and a 4-meter-tall cross was placed on the cliff top above the entrance. Every autumn, a Mass is held on a flat rock near the cave to honor the faith of those who hid here.

Companies that offer the cruise

Shofuku Maru: 0959-44-1762

Seto Shio: 0959-46-2020

Asuka: 0959-46-3631

For details, please send an inquiry to the Shinkamigoto Town Tourism Association.

Details (may differ depending on boat company)

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Hours & Availability: year-round, weather permitting (excludes August 13th through 15th and December 29th through January 3rd).

  • Reservation Deadline: 5:00 p.m. the day before.

  • Meeting Point: Wakamatsu Port (varies)

  • Price:¥8000 for one person;¥4000 per person for 2 people;¥3000 per person for 3 people

  • Comfortable shoes and windbreaker jackets are recommended.

white statue of Jesus Christ and the cross in front of boulder with trees on top

Notes about access to the cave: There will be white statues of Jesus and the Cross on the side of the cliff near the entrance to the cave. The captain will momentarily park the bow of the boat on a flat area of the cliff to allow passengers to disembark. From here, head towards the statue and climb down the boulders where the entrance of the cave will come into view.

፠ There is no maintained path to the cave entrance and the captain will not be able to guide visitors down to it and through the cave area. Visitors must be physically capable of bending down and stepping over large boulders. Sneakers or athletic shoes are recommended. Visitors should exercise best judgment to determine their physical condition is adequate to get in and around the cave area.

፠ Enter the cave and look up to the right to see traces of what appears to be a relief in the making. The cave is about 50 meters deep and 5 meters wide and tall. Take some time to explore this area where eight people lived for four months.

oval-shaped carving inside rock wall of cave
inside of cave with a person taking a photo

flat, rocky area next to ocean with islands in the distance
Gathering place for Mass

፠ The exit to the cave (separate from the entrance) has low clearance so be careful on the way out. Immediately after exiting, there will be a wide, flat area to the left. This is where approximately 100 people gather for Mass every October. Cross the boulders to the right and return to the boat and finish the voyage.

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