About Nozaki Island
An Island with a Story
An otherworldly place that almost seems foreign.

Devoid of human presence, the ruins of dwellings stand frozen in time.
They offer a fascinating look into the lives of those who used to call this island home.

Atop a hill, among the terraced fields, carved into volcanic land,
Stands a church — a symbol of faith.

Hope and determination inherent in the building still linger,
Even with parishioners long gone.

Set deep in an ancient forest, majestic rock formation — a sacred place of worship,
Has long evoked strong feelings of awe and wonder.

An island with a story — close your eyes, and in the stillness,
Hear the coastal wind whisper it to you.

About Nozaki
Nozaki Island is part of Ojika town, which consists of 17 islands, and is located 2 kilometers east from the most eastern point of Ojika Island: the main island bearing the name of the town. Nozaki is relatively large, measuring 6.5 km long (north to south), up to 2 km wide, and 7.36 square kilometers in area. Its shape resembles a peanut with the narrow central part (Nokubi) nested in between broad ends that stand high above sea level. The island has two contrasting landscapes. The red flat terrain on the east coast was formed by volcanic eruptions, much like the mainland Ojika, while the mountainous part was created by a geologic upheaval, in the same way as the rest of the Gotō archipelago.
There used to be three villages on Nozaki Island: Nozaki, Nokubi, and Funamori. At some point, as many as 650 people inhabited the island. Today, however, the island has only one registered resident, who manages the sole accommodation facility. On the practically uninhabited island, you will find the remains of houses and shrines that are being slowly taken over by Mother Nature. The handmade stonewalls of the terraced fields carry the legacy of the hard work and wisdom of the people who used to call Nozaki home.

Nozaki Island is the treasure trove of unique flora and fauna, including the primary forest around Okino Kojima Shrine on the north side and Japanese wood pigeons, one of Japan’s protected species. All around the island, you can see some 400 Japanese wild deer roaming in the wild.

Nozaki, having both majestic nature and unique history is a place for those with deep spiritual values.Nozaki school closed in 1985, has been converted into a simple lodging and rest facility Nozaki Nature Village. The nostalgic building is located right in the heart of the Island, where Nokubi village used to be. Surrounded by wilderness, it stands at the foot of the Former Nokubi Church and is walking distance away from the breathtaking Nokubi coast. Throughout the year, it hosts various visitors such as kids camps, school groups, and travelers from all over Japan and the world, offering an opportunity to learn about conservation.

In 2007, “Remains of the Nokubi and Funamori Villages” (as well as the pathway between them) was added to the Tentative List of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites as a component of “Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki”. In October 2016, the titles were renamed to “Remains of Villages on Nozaki Island” and “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region”, respectively. In July 2018, the property was officially inscribed on the World Heritage List as “Remains of Villages on Nozaki Island”ー one of the 12 components that make up “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region”. Nozaki island is also a part of “Important Cultural Landscapes of the Ojika Island”, designated in 2011 by the Japanese Government.

Abandoning the Island

There were three human settlements on Nozaki Island: the villages of Nozaki, Nokubi, and Funamori. The population reached its peak in the 1950s when 650 people resided on the island. But the local subsistence economy was fragile in the face of contemporary Japan’s rapid economic transformation. As cash became necessary to pay for modern conveniences like electricity, young people left to find work in the city followed by their families, and the island’s population plummeted. In 2001 the last resident of the island, the Shinto priest who was looking after Okino-Kojima Shrine, left the island. Since then, the island is practically uninhabited with one single resident who is in charge of Nozaki Nature Village.
Island of Gods

Two different religions coexisted in Nozaki: Shinto practiced in Nozaki village and Christianity in Nokubi and Funamori. Okino-Kojima shrine sits atop the north mountain with Oe-Ishi, the 24 meter-high torii-like rocks, behind it. It has hosted parishioners from Nozaki, from the mainland Ojika, and all the rest of the Goto and Hirado islands. In the middle of the island, the former Nokubi church looks over the sea as it keeps telling stories of hidden christians and their abiding faith.
Exploring Nozaki Island
Places of Interest

Nokubi Coast
A 300 meter-long white sand beach makes for a breathtaking contrast with the turquoise blue sea. It is a great treat after a steep hill on the way to the church from Nozaki Port. Facing east, the beach also makes a good spot to watch the sunrise.

Okino-Kojima Shrine

After a long hike in the deep forest dotted with megalithic mossy stones, you will come out to the ancient shrine and Oe-Ishi, the giant rock formation behind it. Okino-Kojima shrine (the Sea Kojima shrine) was built so it would face its twin shrine in Ojika Island, Chino-Kojima (the Land Kojima shrine), in 704 A.D. The priest, who was in charge of the shrine was the last person to leave Nozaki Island in 2001.

*The trail to Okino-Kojima Shrine can be tough with unstable rocks, dense vegetation, and few signboards. There are also possible encounters with wild boar. To avoid accidents, please do not attempt going to the shrine without a guide. Thank you for your cooperation.


Behind Okino-Kojima Shrine stands the magnificent Oe-Ishi. The imposing rock formation is shaped like torii (traditional Shinto gate), measuring 24 meters high, 12 meters wide, and the top slab 5 x 3 meters. Whether these stones were placed by humans or naturally formed is unknown. Many local myths and legends revolve around Oe-Ishi, such as the one about Kojima deity appearing on top of Oe-Ishi. Also, some people say that the Shinto ceremonial dance used to be performed on top of Oe-Ishi in the ancient days.

*The trail to Oe-Ishi can be tough with unstable rocks, dense vegetation, and few signboards. There are also possible encounters with wild boar. To avoid accidents, please do not attempt going to the shrine without a guide. Thank you for your cooperation.

Explore Nozaki with a guide.
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The former Nokubi church is currently undergoing major repair works that are scheduled to be completed in June 2025. During the renovations, the church building is covered by scaffolding, and is off-limit to visitors. hank you for your understanding and cooperation.