Saint Francis Xavier Memorial Church
Did you know that the connection between Yamaguchi and our sister city Navarre goes back 450 years? In the mid-16th century, Saint Francis Xavier, a missionary from Navarre came to Yamaguchi, with permission to practice Christianity. Yamaguchi became a major center of Christmas activity before bans on Christianity spread through Japan.
In 1952, the St Francis Xavier memorial church was built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of St. Xavier’s visit to Yamaguchi. It was very popular with the residents, but unfortunately burned down in 1991. Thanks many people’s generosity, it was rebuilt in 1998, leaving us with the building we have today.
The Xavier Memorial Church is an especially appropriate topic for the holidays, as the first Christmas was celebrated between Francis Xavier and his followers in Yamaguchi. Every December events are held throughout the city with the theme of “Yamaguchi, the birthplace of Japanese Christmas.” You can stop by and visit the church in Yamaguchi City, and learn more about St Xavier in the museum and library.