Russian Orthodox Church, Hakodate City (Hakodate-shi)

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Many buildings in and around Motomachi have been designated as landmarks. Thus, the district attests to the history of Hakodate. The Old Public Hall of the City, built in 1910, is a two-story wooden building characteristic of Meiji era architecture. It is in the Colonial style, a classic English style of architecture. It has a symmetrical facade, and was designated by the national government as an important cultural property for its excellent architectural and technique in design. The building is open to the public and has a living room, bedroom, and stately dining room.

The Russian Orthodox Church is also known as Gan-Gan Dera (clang-clang temple), from the six large and small bells in its bell tower. Built in 1859, it was the first Greek Orthodox Church in Japan as a cathedral attached to the Russian consulate. The church burned down in the great fire of 1907. The present building dates from 1916 and has been lending a solemn atmosphere to the area, with its Byzantine tower and paintings in the interior.

The Bay Area (the Suehiro district) and the Motomachi district are known as sightseeing spots. Reclamation began around 1801 to 1804 in this area, which used to have a shipyard and a foreign settlement. It developed as a warehouse district from around 1879. The redbrick Kanamori Warehouse, which still remains, was constructed in 1909, and now houses Hakodate History Plaza, Hakodate Beer Hall and an imported gift shop.

A priest named Nikolai first introduced the Russian Orthodoxy to Japan when he visited Hakodate in 1861. This elegant Byzantine style Curch was rebuilt in 1916. The bells at the Nikolai Hall of Kanda, Tokyo were moved from here in 1928.

Fifteen minutes walk from Jujigai Street Car Stop. It’s easy to find if you walk up the Daisanzaka-slope. It is affectionately called “Gangan-dera (Ding-dong temple).”

Donations (200 yen) is required for sight seeing.

Hours Monday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Sunday: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Closed: Irregular

Address: 3-13 Motomachi, Hakodate city, Hokkaido 040-0054 Access: 10-minute walk from Jujigai Station of Hakodate Shiden line Tel: +81-138-23-7387 Fax: +81-138-23-7939

Website: http://orthodox-hakodate.jp/


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