Japan Places of Worship: Kagoshima Cathedral, St. Xavier Church
Kagoshima Cathedral, St. Xavier Church 鹿児島カテドラル・ザビエル教会
On the 15th August, 1549, Francis Xavier (1506-1552), the first Christian missionary to Japan arrived in Kagoshima.
He was accompanied by Anjiro, a Kagoshima native who had fled Japan after being charged with murder and went to Malacca (in present-day Malaysia) to seek out Xavier, becoming the first Japanese Christian and adopting the name Paulo de Santa Fe.
Their ship arrived in the waters of Japan several weeks earlier but they were refused entry at every port until arriving at Kagoshima. Xavier stayed in Kagoshima a little over a year until the Daimyo forbade his subjects from converting to the new religion.
History of Xavier Church
The original stone church in Kagoshima was built in 1908 and was the first stone church in Japan. It was destroyed by air raids during the war, and some of the stones from it are used for the memorial in the park (Xavier Park) across the road.
A new wooden church was built in 1949 to mark the 400th anniversary of Xavier's arrival in Japan, and this was replaced in 1999 by the current building, built in honor of the 450th anniversary.
The architect, Seizo Sakata, chose a striking design influenced by the shapes of the sailing ship that brought Xavier, and features a 31 meter high bell tower.
The cathedral is on the second floor and is bathed in red and blue light from the stained glass. Unusually for Japan, there is a large pipe organ and some artworks. On the ground floor is a small chapel and a shop. Unlike some Japanese churches visitors are actively encouraged.
Access - Getting to Xavier Church
Xavier Church is a stop on the Kagoshima City View Bus route from Kagoshima Chuo Station, the terminus for the Kyushu Shinkansen. Xavier Church is located at the junction of Nikanbashi Dori and Sengokubaba Dori.
The church is open to the public from 10am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 12pm on Sundays.
Mass is held in the chapel at 6.30am and 6.30pm on Monday to Saturday.
On Sundays Mass is at 7am in the chapel, 9am in the main cathedral, 3pm in the chapel, and 7pm in the main cathedral. The 3pm Mass is in English.
13-42 Terukunicho, Kagoshima, Kagoshima 892-0841
Tel: 099 222 3408
Hotels In Kagoshima
The area around Kagoshima Chuo Station has many hotels including the Hotel Gastof, the Hotel Urbic Kagoshima, the Toyoko Inn Kagoshima Chuo-eki Nishi-guchi, the JR Kyushu Hotel Kagoshima Hotel and the APA Hotel Kagoshima Chuo-Ekimae.
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