Jun 29, 2011

Our Lady of Akita at the Chapel of Seitai Hoshikai

Our Lady of Akita is perhaps more widely known among Christians overseas, for Japan is mainly Shinto and Buddhist country. However, the Catholic Chapel in Akita City has been visited by many Catholic pilgrims and travelers who wish to catch a glimpse of the holy statue, which is said to have shed tears 101 times from 1975 to 1981.

The Chapel of Seitai Hoshikai in Akita City, Akita Prefecture.

The chapel of Seitai Hoshikai (聖体奉仕会)is located on a hill in Yuzawadai on the outskirts of Akita City. The church gives you an impression of a shrine or a temple, as it was built in a traditional Japanese style. According to the website, the place was dedicated to Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer) on May 1, 2002.

You are not allowed to take photos nor videos inside of the building. At the entrance of the main building, you are asked to take off your shoes. You will be probably approached by a nun who will show you the way.

Pamphlets, Books, Postcards, Keychains and other goods are available at the store inside.

The Statue of Our Lady of Akita, also known as Statue of Saint Mary in Tears ("Namida-no-Seibozo "), is enshrined in a small alter located in the left hallway; the Statue of Jesus is in the main chapel; and that of St. Joseph is in the right hallway – all of them were hand-carved by Mr.Wakasa Saburo around 1963.

Most of the interior architecture and furniture are made of wood. (You will notice it once you step into the building – it smells really nice!) This is a quite interesting place where you get to see a combination of two different styles: Japanese traditional architectural decorations are carved to express the Western, Christian motifs such as wheat and grapes.

The Garden of Mary

A statue enshrined in the end of the Way of Cross.

The Garden of the Lamb

There is a beautiful garden called the Garden of Mary, which is a Japanese garden dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to a pamphlet, the garden was created in 1976 by the hands of amateurs and with tree donated by friends from different part of Japan. Here, on this day, we saw a group of foreigners enjoying the gospel songs, while gardeners were trimming the trees in Japanese traditional style. Another garden called the Garden of the Lamb is next to the garden. You can walk on the Way of the Cross.

The Chapel of Seitai Hoshikai is open from 9:00 to 4:30 (Closed between 11:30 and 1:00 p.m.) everyday. In winter, it opens from 10 a.m. It welcomes guests for free. You can access from JR Akita Station by a local bus (take one heading for Akita Onsen or Nibetsu Resort Koen) that would take about 20 minutes. The Convent is 10 minutes walk up on the hill from a nearest bus stop.


Anonymous said...

本当にいくつかの日を訪問してみたい !庭園は、豪華な見て !写真を投稿していただきありがとうございます.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am from Indonesia. I am planning a trip to Tokyo in December and I want to visit the chapel. Would you kindly suggest how I can get to there from Tokyo? I would appreciate your reply. Thanks.

Me Food & Travel said...

Hi. We plan to go to visit our lady of akita next year march. How may we contact you, my e.mail is travelsang@yahoo.com
thank you and God bless you

Anonymous said...

hi there,

am going to japan on august. it's been my life-long dream to visit the shrine of our lady of akita.

how do i get there from tokyo? and can i do it as day trip? i will take the shinkansen from tokyo early morning then come back late afternoon?

thank you!

please email me: jay.abalos26@gmail.com

AP said...

I'm trying to find out if there is mass at the chapel and if people aside from the nuns can attend. I've been searching online but I can't find any kind of schedule.

Can you help or provide any information on that?