Tobetsu Trappist Monastery in Hokkaido, Japan
In the midst of a serene forest lies a red-brick monastery that can be seen at the end of rows of beautiful poplar trees. Known as Japan’s first Catholic monastery, Tobetsu Trappist Monastery was established in 1908 by nine French priests from the Citeaux Order. Get glimpses of the lives of Japanese monks, who follow the rule according to strict precept.
They are mostly dedicated to seeking union with God through Jesus Christ. Only males are allowed inside the monastery. Although a large portion of the monastery is restricted, the public can still attend the Sunday service at the monastery.
The cave of Lourdes is located at the back of the monastery. From there you have to hike for 10 minutes to reach the Grotto of Lourdes. The hike going up is worth the view. Upon reaching the top, you will be rewarded with the view of Hakodate port from afar, nestled between the mountains and the forest. The Tobetsu Trappist Monastery is less than an hour away from the town of Hakodate. To get here, you can rent a small car from ¥4,000 to ¥5,000 a day and just pay for the fuel, or take the train from Goryokaku Station to Oshima-toubetsu Station.
Address: Mitsuishi, Hokuto, Hokkaido, Japan
This also appears in Philippine Primer English Magazine’s January issue.