Ah, Shingo, the village of Mystery and Romance (or so the sign said). Here you can find what is believed by some to be the burial mound of Jesus Christ and his brother, Isukiri. Oh, you didn’t know?
The legend states that when He was 21 years old, Jesus Christ (イエスキリスト) came to Japan and studied theology for 12 years. He came back to Judea at the age of 33 in order to preach, but people there rejected His teachings and arrested Him to crucify Him.
However, it was His little brother Isukiri (イスキリ) who took His place and ended his life on the cross. Jesus Christ, having escaped crucifixion, resumed His travels and finally came back to Japan, where He settled in this village, Herai, and lived till the age of 106.
In this holy place, the tomb on the right is dedicated to Jesus Christ, while the tomb on the left commemorates His brother, Isukiri. All of this is written in Jesus Christ's testament (which He wrote Himself and can be seen in the museum located beyond the burial mounds). You can read more details about the Tomb of Christ here.
When you first arrive you are greeted by the calming rush of a small waterfall. From there, it is a 220 meter walk to the site. You will notice a Japanese style graveyard. This is for the Sawaguchi family, the owners and, according to the story, descendants of Christ.
We did not enter the museum (pictures weren’t allowed anyway) but did go into the entrance where they have mobile wooden sculptures of daily life during the time Jesus was in Shingo. They also sell Dracula garlic flavored ice cream.
At the Jesus’ and Isikiri’s gravesites there are baskets to throw in a coin and say a prayer.
There isn’t much to do at this location but it is a pretty drive and interesting place to talk about. Whether or not the legend is true it’s always nice to stop somewhere in quiet meditation and prayer.
Directions: Drive west to Route 4 in Towada, then turn left and head south about 20 miles to Route 454. Head west on Route 454 for 9 miles and look for the “Tombs of Christ” sign in Shingo.
Hours: The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through October.
Admission: 200 yen for adults, 100 yen for children.
Information: Call (0178) 78-2111.