January 22, 2019

JAPAN TRAVEL: Hakodate Orthodox Church

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  • Another must-visit church in the Motomachi District is the Hakodate Orthodox Church.

    Designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan, the Hakodate Orthodox Church plays a significant role as it is the Oldest Russian Orthodox Church in Japan where Orthodox Christianity was first introduced.

    Also read: JAPAN TRAVEL: Hakodate St. John’s Church 

    The history of Hakodate Orthodox Church started in 1858 when the first Russian consulate was established in Japan. A year after, the first Russian consul secured the site to build a church in its current location and in 1860, the first chapel was built. The original chapel was engulfed in fire in 1907, so the present cathedral that you can see now was built in 1916. The present cathedral that you can now see has Russian-Byzantine style as featured in its exterior.

    The church is also known as the Gan-gan Temple, known for its bell sound that is part of the 100 soundscapes of Japan– a list of Japan’s greatest natural and cultural sounds.

    Also read: JAPAN TRAVEL: Motomachi Roman Catholic Church in Hakodate

    Every Sunday, a mass is held at 10 a.m. Although it is open to the public, please observe silence and respect those who are worshipping inside the church. Please note that those who wish to take photos of the church for TV, magazine, or newspaper purposes must request permission from the church via email.

    How to get here
    Take the tram at Hakodate Station and get off at Juujigai Station. From there, it takes 10 minutes to go to Hakodate Orthodox Church.


    Address: 3-13 Motomachi, Hakodate City, Hokkaido
    Operating Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday to Friday); 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Saturday); 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Sunday) *There will be irregular holidays from December 26 to mid-March during winter.
    Fees: ¥200 per person (donation for maintenance of the property)
    Contact: +81 138-23-7387
    Email: nikolaydmitrievviktor@yahoo.co.jp (for photoshoot/coverage)
    Website: http://orthodox-hakodate.jp/

    This first appeared on Philippine Primer magazine’s January 2019 issue.
    Images courtesy of the Tourism Department of the City of Hakodate, Japan

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