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.