Where to Go in Shinkamigoto



Shinkamigoto refers first to a single municipal territory, expanded in recent years to cover the islands of Nakadori and Wakamatsu. Set at the tip of the Goto chain, the islands share with their southern neighbors the same rugged landscape, stunning views, fascinating history—with a few special spots that you should not miss.

  • 01

    Stop by Hamaguri Deck for Clams and Coffee with an Ocean View

    Tucked into the big bay on the northern half of Nakadori Island, Hamaguri Beach is a great spot to swim in the summer. Unlike some fairly remote and underserved beaches in the chain, there has been an effort to develop the beach as a site for tourists from Kyushu and beyond to visit. The population of Shinkamigoto has fallen by more than half over the past half-century, making endeavors like the Hamaguri Deck very important. Enjoy a cup of pour-over and some local seafood with a view of the ocean, and then rent one of the transparent kayaks to paddle around the bay or an electric bike to cruise around the hills.

  • 02

    Visit Nakanoura Church, the Prettiest Chapel in the Islands

    The Christians that escaped from coastal Kyushu in the wake of the persecution of Christians beginning in the 1500s found a home on these islands, where they could practice their religion in secret. Not far from what is now Narao Port, a community of Christians survived until the situation improved, and set about in the 1920s building a handsome church. The chapel, set on a picturesque cove, is still worshipped at by local people but also attracts many visitors to appreciate the floral-decorated interior and snap an iteration of the church-reflected-in-cove picture, particularly impressive when the tower is lit up during the Christmas season.

    Nakano Ura Church
    Nagasaki Minamimatsuura-gun Shinkamigoto Cho Shukunourago 985
  • 03

    Commune with Nature at Narao’s Banyan Tree Shrine

    Not far from Narao Port, on the southern peninsula of Nakadori Island, where ferries arrive from Nagasaki and Fukue, sits the most famous tree on the island. The banyan tree rises like a natural tori gate on the approach to a shrine—and a shrine has been installed in its base. The tree has been dated to the 14th century and has become a noted "power spot," to use the language of Japanese tourist guides.

    Narao Shrine
    Nagasaki Minamimatsuura-gun Shinkamigoto Cho Naraogo 334-2
  • 04

    Visit One of Shinkamigoto’s Best Beaches at Takaitabi

    A couple miles up the coast from Narao Port and its banyan tree, the beach at Takaitabi calls to surfers during typhoon season, but is also a fun spot for a swim or as a destination for a short drive or bike ride up from the port. Hugging the coast, the village of Takaitabi with its school and a Catholic church set near the beach provides a quaint backdrop to the white sands beach and calm waters.

    Takaitabi Beach
    Nagasaki Minamimatsuura-gun Shinkamigotocho
  • 05

    Go off the Beaten Track on Kashiragashima Island

    Shinkamigoto’s Kashiragashima is a small island off the northeast tip of Shinkamigoto, home to a small village and an airstrip, and linked to Nakadori Island by a bridge. The village church was built by the formerly clandestine Christian community resettled from elsewhere in the island chain; the sandstone was quarried from the island itself to replace the wooden chapel built shortly after Christians could once again emerge from the shadows; and it has been included with other Goto Island churches as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. The rugged, mostly untouched landscape of this rocky islet is truly unique.


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