Hakodate is famous as the first place in Hokkaido to develop as a port for international trade. Many buildings such as churches that blend Japanese and Western styles still remain, with some retro buildings scattered around the Motomachi area.
The Motomachi Roman Catholic Church stands in front of a narrow stone-paved road called Cha-Cha Nobori on the Daisan-zaka slope, and many Christians still attend the church today. A rooster stands atop the 33-m-tall octagonal tower, serving as a guardian. You can enter the church; must-sees are the magnificent altar presented by Pope Benedict XV as a token of sympathy after a fire, and the beautiful stained-glass windows.
At night, the churches in the area light up, creating romantic scenery to soak up as you stroll through the streets.
Please remember that photography and video recording are prohibited inside the church, and visitors are requested to remain quiet.
From Hakodate Airport, take the Airport Shuttle Bus for 20 minutes and get off at JR Hakodate Station. Walk for 3 minutes to Hakodate Ekimae Tram Station, take a tram for 5 minutes and get off at Jujigai Tram Station, then walk for 10 minutes.
Admission is free of charge
History of the Motomachi Roman Catholic Church
Spanish Missionary Francis Xavier first introduced Christianity to Japan in 1549, and it spread mainly within western Japan until the start of the 17th century, when shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu issued the Edict against Christianity in 1612. Christianity was then subject to persecution for over 200 years until the Meiji government abolished this edict and officially permitted Christian activities.
The Motomachi Roman Catholic Church started when the French missionary Mermet de Cachon, when visiting Hakodate in 1859, said mass for foreign nationals. A temporary church hall was built in 1867, and the first church was built later by priest Fr. Marin when visiting in 1877. Destroyed by fire in 1907, the wooden church was rebuilt with bricks, but was damaged again in another fire in 1921. Repair works were made by mortaring the remaining brick walls, and the building as it stands today was completed in 1923. The bell tower, standing 33 m tall, was added during this reconstruction work.
Historic Buildings and Tourist Attractions near the Motomachi Roman Catholic Church
It only takes around three and a half hours to tour all the main attractions, starting at Jujigai Tram Stop. There are some hills along the way, though it is possible to get around by foot.
- Hakodate Orthodox Church
- Hakodate St. John's Church
- Former Public Hall of Hakodate Ward
- Former British Consulate of Hakodate
- Cemetery for foreign nationals
15-30, Motomachi, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido, 040-0054
- Nearest Station
･ Hakodate Tram Line 5
- Phone Number
0138-22-6877Available languagesonly in Japanese
10:00am - 4:00pm
Sunday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Entry is prohibited when the church hall is being used and during prayers
- Public Site
- Official Site
Recommended Spots in Area
Hakodate St. John’s ChurchHakodateOther Museums
Hakodate Tourist Information CenterHakodateTourist Information Centers
HACHIMAN ZAKA SLOPEHakodateLandscapes
Old Public Hall of Hakodate WardHakodateOther Architecture
Former British Consulate of HakodateHakodateOther Architecture
Mt. Hakodate ObservatoryHakodateForests & Mountains