Tourist Attractions and Experiences

United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ) Naniwa Church

Retro architecture constructed in the early Showa period. Features exterior adorned by gothic steeple windows and yellow/green stained glass windows as well as simple and graceful chapel and sanctuary.

Naniwa Church is on a corner in Kitahama (Osaka City), a district where many retro-design structures stand between modern office buildings. The church is a three-story building, featuring gothic steeple windows and yellow/green stained glass windows as well as an elaborately designed tower. Completed in 1930, the church was designed and constructed by Takenaka Corporation under the instruction of William Merrell Vories. Vories came to Japan in 1905 (mid Meiji period) to teach English at the present-day Hachiman Commercial Senior High School, Shiga Prefecture, and engaged in Christian missionary work as well as social education, publication, medical services, school education and other social contributions based on Christianity. (He is also known for spreading the use of Mentholatum widely in Japan and for designing the Shinsaibashi Daimaru building.) The history of Naniwa Church can be traced back to Naniwa Kokai, Japan's first self-sustaining church voluntarily established by 11 believers in 1877. This may be one reason why the chapel interior exudes a friendly atmosphere comfortable for common people. The chapel on the 2nd floor is tinted by bright, gentle colors of light pouring through the stained glass windows, creating an even simpler and more graceful atmosphere than that expressed from the church's exterior.