St Francis Xavier Memorial Church 山口サビエル記念聖堂
A charming church dedicated to the man who brought Christianity to Japan
The white walls and dramatically sloping roof of St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church set it apart from the surrounding buildings, as do its angular walls and modernist stained glass. However, the historical legacy the church represents is what makes it a fascinating place to visit.
The exhibition of religious items in the church
Take a close look at the stunning stained glass
The church is not far from Yuda Onsen
How to Get There
The church is easily accessible from JR Yamaguchi Station.
Just over one kilometer from Yamaguchi Station, St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church is a 20-minute walk or five-minute taxi ride away.
Honoring St. Francis Xavier
Francis Xavier (1506–1552), a Roman Catholic missionary and Jesuit priest who was the first Christian missionary to reach Japan in 1549, spent a year in Yamaguchi. This church, built in 1952 on the 400th anniversary of Xavier's death and then rebuilt in 1998 after a fire, is dedicated to his memory.
Kakure Kirishitan and Yamaguchi
When Francis Xavier introduced Christianity to Japan in 1549, many people initially followed his teachings and adopted the new religion. However, the feudal lords resented this outside incursion. Although Christianity was outlawed, the practice continued in secret, and those found guilty of Christianity were cruelly persecuted.
You can still find many sites in Yamaguchi associated with kakure kirishitan, or hidden Christians, such as graves around Mt. Shibuki near Hagi City.
After church, take a bath
Relax after your visit by taking a trip to Yuda Onsen, an area of downtown Yamaguchi renowned for its hot springs and footbaths, located two kilometers away. Rent a bicycle for the day from outside the station to get around easily.