Places of Worship

Places of Worship in Japan

Christian Churches, Islamic Mosques & Other Places of Worship in Japan

Nikolai-do, Tokyo.

Japan is home to thousands of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. However, besides the indigenous religions, Japan is home to a number of places of worship from other faiths including Christian churches and Confucian temples. The latter two date from the 15th century in Japan when the country was visited by increasing numbers of Chinese and western traders.

No churches remain from the period before the shogunate expelled Christian priests and banned Christianity in the early Edo Period, though the Museum for the Former Site of Santo Domingo Church in Nagasaki, is the archeological site of a former Iberian-style Dominican church.

More recently Islamic mosques, Jain and Hindu temples and Jewish synagogues have been built or established in Japan to cater to people of those faiths residing in the country.

Below is a listing of places of worship other than Japanese Buddhist temples and shinto shrines.

If you are responsible for a place of worship in Japan and wish to list it with us, please contact us.

Oura Catholic Church, Nagasaki, Kyushu.
View from the entrance towards the sea, Oura Catholic Church, Nagasaki
Kagoshima Cathedral, St Xavier Church, Kagoshima, Kyushu.
Pipe organ, Xavier Church, Kagoshima, Kyushu

Listing of places of worship in Japan

Christ Church in The Bluff/Yamate district of Yokohama is an Anglican Church with its origins going back to the early days of the Foreign Settlement in the city.

The Confucius Shrine (koshi-byo) in Nagasaki was built in 1893 by Chinese residents of the city with financial support from the Qing government and is said to be the only Confucius shrine outside China built by Chinese labor.

Kagoshima Cathedral St Xavier Church - built in 1999 to honor the 450th anniversary of the Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier's landing in Kagoshima.

Kawaramachi Catholic Church - in Kyoto dates from 1967 and is the Catholic Cathedral for a diocese that includes Kyoto, Shiga, Nara and Mie prefectures.

Mosques in Japan, see a listing of Islamic places of worship and congregation in Japan.

Kobe Mosque was the first mosque to be built in Japan and opened in 1935 in the Kitano-cho district of the port city.

Nikolai-do, aka the Holy Resurrection Church in Ochanomizu, Tokyo, is the major cathedral of the Japanese Orthodox Church in Japan.

Oura Catholic Church  (Oura Tenshudo) in Nagasaki is said to be the oldest church in Japan. It was first constructed in 1863 by two French priests, Fathers Louis Furet and Bernard Petitjean, after the opening up of a number of treaty ports in the last years of the Edo Period of Japanese history (1603-1867).

St. Agnes Church in Kyoto was constructed in 1898 and was part of Heian Jogakuin which is now Heian Women's University. St. Agnes Church is a member of the Nippon Seikokai, established in 1887, a part of the Church of England.

St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church in Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture, was originally built on a different site in 1913, but was reconstructed at its present location in 1931. One of the sites of the town is "the view of temples and church" which can be had halfway up the lane leading up the hill to the church.

St. Mary's Cathedral in Bunkyo ward in Tokyo was designed by Kenzo Tange and opened in 1964. The original church, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tokyo, was burnt down in World War II and only rebuilt in the 1960s with funds raised by churchgoers in Cologne, Germany. The modernist, stainless steel design is in the shape of a cross with eight hyperbolic parabolas rising up from the structure. The 60m-tall bell tower is separate from the main church.

Sofukuji Temple in Nagasaki is not a Japanese temple, but a Chinese temple, and not only that, it is also one of the best examples of Ming Dynasty temple architecture remaining anywhere, even within China.

Tabira Church, aka as Setoyama Church in Hirado, was designed by Tetsukawa Yosuke and completed in 1917. The church is known for its wonderful views of the Hirado Strait and its fine stained-glass windows.

The Chikaramachi Catholic Church is an historic church located in Higashi ward in Nagoya. The church was built in 1904 with the priest's residence added in 1930. The bell tower was first built in 1890, demolished in 1965 and rebuilt in its original style in 1990. The bell was made in France and imported.

The Church of Resurrection at the junction of Horikawa and Kitaoji in Kyoto is a familiar landmark. The church is an Anglican Episcopal Church (Nippon Seikokai) in the Diocese of Kyoto.

The Memorial Cathedral of World Peace in Hiroshima grew from the ashes of the Noboricho parish church that was destroyed in the atomic bombing of August 6, 1945. The German pastor of the church, the Reverend Hugo Lassalle, was wounded in the bombing but determined to rebuild his church as a memorial to world peace.

The Yamaguchi Xavier Memorial Church was completed in 1998. Located on a hilltop overlooking central Yamaguchi city, the striking modern design replaced an earlier church built in 1958 that mysteriously burned down in 1991.

Urakami Cathedral (St. Mary's Cathedral) in Nagasaki was originally built in brick in Romanesque style from the 1890's to its completion in 1925 when it was reputedly the largest church in Asia. It was constructed to serve the many kakure kirishitan (Hidden Christians), who had retained a version of their faith during the times of persecution under the Tokugawa regime. Urakami Cathedral was destroyed in the atomic bombing of 1945 and totally rebuilt by 1959.

The Yamaguchi Xavier Memorial Church.
The Yamaguchi Xavier Memorial Church

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