Tohoku Seitai Hoshikai – The Institute of the Handmaids of the Holy Eucharist Japanese Name: 聖体奉仕会
Seitai Hoshikai is a small Catholic association for the Holy Eucharist handmaids established by Niigata parish chief Shojiro Ito in 1970.
The church follows the style of Japanese temples and shrines constructed by miyadaiku (carpenters who specialize in construction and repair of shrines and temples). It was dedicated on May 1, 2002.
The church features the Garden of Virgin Mary meant for praying and whoever wants to say a prayer can enter the garden. The left corridor of the church houses the statue of Virgin Mary that shed tears 101 times.
Members of the church make an oath of “obedience, chastity, and honorable poverty” and devote themselves to God. They also live a life of service for the people, following the lives of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
Virgin Mary of Akita
The Virgin Mary of Akita was based on the painting “Mother for All the People” from Amsterdam. The statue was carved from a katsura tree by sculptor Saburo Wakasa of Akita City using a single knife in 1963.
There were shedding tears witnessed frequently from the statue during a period from January 4, 1975 to September 15, 1981. There were cases when the statue shed tears several times a day and there were cases when no tears were shed for several months or years.
The number of people who said to have encountered the sight amounts to about 2,000 people in total.
Garden of Mary
Garden of Mary is a Japanese-style garden meant for praying. It was created as a devotion to the Virgin Mary.
Visitors can take a stroll around the garden with a pond featuring little Japanese islands built with the wish that the grace of God is given all over the country.
Yard of Little Sheep
This was also built for prayer and meditation. Stations of the Cross, where visitors can commemorate the passion of Christ, can be found in the center of the yeard.
April to November: 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. / 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
December to March: 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. / 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
■ Silence must be observed inside the church.
■ Photography is prohibited.
Take a bus on the Akita Onsen route or the Nibetsu Resort Park route at JR Akita Station and get off at Yuzawa.
The church is about a 10-minute walk following the guide plates; about a 20-minute ride from Akita Station by taxi; and a 40-minute ride by shuttle bus from Akita Airport to Akita Station.
If Sky Access service provided by Akita Chuo Taxi has been reserved, a shared taxi takes you to Seitai Hoshikai at the price of 2,500 yen. Call Sky Access at +81-18-823-1525 for more details.
Address: 1 Yuzawadai Soegawa, Akita City, Akita Prefecture