Welcome to Hirosaki Church, United Church of Christ in Japan
Address: 48 Mototeramachi, Hirosaki-city 036-8355 TEL: 0172-32-3971
Pastor Hiroshi Muraoka

Open: regularly 9:00~ 16:00(except Mon,Wed9:00~12:00,Sun9:00~12:00,Church's Ceremony)

I History
In 1874, the 1st principal Yoitsu Honda at To-o Gijyuku, former Tsugaru Clan school invited the missionary John Ing as an English teacher while he was assigned to Japan by the Methodist Church in the USA. 22 students at To-o Gijyuku inspired by John were baptized into the Christian faith. John as a central figure, the very first Protestant Church in Tohoku region was organized on October 3, 1895. The first Japanese pastor at the church was Yoitsu Honda.Since then, Methodist Churches were founded around Tsugaru area. Those Christians contributed to modernize Tsugaru area and preached Christianity were later called “Hirosaki Band”. It is on an equivalent basis with the three most famous protestant bands (Yokohama, Kumamoto, Sapporo). Also To-o Gijyuku adapted the Christian education, and sent many talented people out into the world.

At the Christmas ceremony, the missionary Ing prepared apples sent from his hometown, Indiana State, USA as presents for young Christians. Those young Christians were impressed with the taste, and asked Ing to order the apple nursery trees from the States. Later the young Christians founded a growing apple company “Keigyosha” which became the pioneer of growing apples around Tsugaru area. Pastor Honda collaborated with a politician Taisuke Itagaki, to develop the democratic movement in Tsugaru area, and later worked as a chairman of Prefectural Assembly. Also he advocated the necessity of women’s education,and founded Hirosaki Girls School in the Japanese-style room of Hirosaki Church. The church elder, Kikuchi Kurou founded To-o Nippo Daily Newspaper to enlighten people in Tsugaru area. Also the church opened Samuel Preschool for orphaned children in the cold-weather damage, which is still operating with its brother school, David Preschool.Hirosaki Church has contributed to produce more than 200 Christian missionaries and people who worked for the development of Tsugaru in this way.  

Ⅱ Building (Prefectural Important Cultural Property)
Designed by: Komagoro Sakuraba(Church member) Constructed by: Isaburo Saito
Completed: December 1906 Lumber: Aomori Hiba Cypress
Size: length/16m, width/22m, height/15m, Height of towers/ 20m

This church was built after the model of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.Inside the building was assumed to be filled with the aroma of Aomori Hiba Cypress at the time of completion. Wooden building with twin Gothic towers was very rare at that time in Japan. Inside the building features a Japanese-European hybrid style, as the Japanese sliding doors are installed at the back of the chapel, and the room on the 2nd floor(tour available) is a tatami room, comparable in size to 30 tatami mats. Both places are still in use for the Sunday services. Recently the side wall of the building was einforced with a steel frame because of decaying. According to the specialist, making extensive repairs of the building is needed in the future.

Ⅲ Ritual Implements
There are 3 chairs at the end of the chapel. The chair in the center is called “Christ’s seat”, which symbolize the Christ’s presence. During the service a preacher sits on the left side, and a celebrant sits on the right side.There is a pulpit in front of the chair, and a priest teaches the bible at the service. There is a large print bible on the pulpit. The bible contains 66 books, from the old and new testament which are the words from the God, and is the solo authority in matters of the soul for the Protestant Christianity.There is a communion table in front of the pulpit. The bread and wine, which are pictured as the body and blood of Christ are placed on this table. Table tops of the pulpit and communion are both made with Tsugaru Lacquerware, one of the traditional local crafts of Aomori. 5 offering baskets are placed on the communion table. The black one is akebi vine basket, which is also a local craft of Aomori. Congregates put freewill offerings in the baskets. The sign hanging in the back of the chapel is written by Pastor Honda. The sign was found from the former church after burnt down, and the trace of the fire is visible on the surface of the sign.