“‘Ishi no Kyokai’ (Stone Church) Kanzo UCHIMURA Memorial Hall” in Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture, has a unique form where stone and glass arches overlap, giving off a mysterious charm.
It is an impressive church with a unique “organic architecture” that perfectly harmonizes with nature and space. A space with a solemn and sacred atmosphere made of stone and glass is like a marriage that supports each other.
As the name suggests, water flows through the churches that are made of stone, and light shines through the gaps between the stones, so you can feel the dynamism of a building as if it were alive.
As you walk along the gentle cobblestones, you can see the “Stone Church” standing quietly in the forest. If you pass through a small door just past a stone arch reminiscent of a majestic tree, you will find a smaller, quieter and more magnificent space than you might have imagined.
“Stone Church” Kanzo UCHIMURA Memorial Hall, next to Hotel Breston Court. This church was born based on “Non-church movement” advocated by Kanzo UCHIMURA, a Christian thinker of the Meiji era, regardless of form or system.
The basement of the church is the Kanzo UCHIMURA material exhibition room, where you can view handwritten books and valuable photos at panel displays. There is a chapel on the ground, and you can freely tour the inside when the wedding is not taking place.
“Stone Church” looks completely different depending on the season and time zone. Spring and summer are full of greenery, autumn leaves and snow in winter. Every season has different goodness. Please enjoy the surrounding scenery together with the church.
Even from the inside of the church, the stone and glass are alternately stacked. Gentle natural light enters inside and you can hear the sound of water flowing on the stone walls, and you can feel the atmosphere that the building is really integrated with nature.
This church can feel a sacred atmosphere that is different from other churches.
Creating a unique atmosphere as if the church were part of nature
Speaking of Karuizawa, it is a popular summer resort with many sightseeing spots in Nagano prefecture. It is also known that there are many churches including “Ishi no Kyokai” (Stone Church). Stone church quietly standing in the nature of the Karuizawa Plateau is an impressive church with a unique and beautiful arch with stone and glass overlapping. Another name is “Kanzou Uchimura Memorial Hall”, a relatively new church built in 1988 based on “non-church movement” proposed by Kanzou Uchimura, a Christian in the Meiji Era. It was the Stone Church that was built on the basis of Uchimura ‘s idea of building a place where everyone can pray equally in beautiful nature. The architectural style of the Stone Church which was created based on such “non-church movement” is “organic building”. In building a church, not destroying and eliminating the surrounding beautiful nature, but by building it all while making full use of them, it is possible to create a unique atmosphere as if the church were part of nature.
Kendrick Bangs Kellogg, a builder of the Stone Church, seems to have chosen the most suitable place for the concept of the church by roaming around Karuizawa’s planned site thoroughly. It is said that the light of the sun constantly touches the interior of the church and the arched shape is designed along the orbit of the sun. As the name stands “stone”, not only inside the hall but also the way to the church are made of stone. These stones seem to have been taken locally at Karuizawa. It is said that Kendrick Bangs Kellogg thought thoroughly based on the concept of “Stone Church architecture” to make it “in harmony with nature”. The way to the Stone Church is surrounded by the beautiful nature of Karuizawa. In the Stone Church, you can appreciate not only the church itself, but also the church while enjoying the seasonal nature of Karuizawa. By appreciating while feeling the nature of Karuizawa you will be able to see the beauty of the original Stone Church.
In honor of “Kanzou Uchimura”
The “Ishi no Kyokai” (Stone Church) was constructed in honor of “Kanzou Uchimura” who was a christian missionary in Meiji and Taisho era. It is the design being used the light, the water, the wood, the stone and the green which are five elements of the Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible.
The figures of the Creation
In the surface of the wall and the ceiling, glass overlaps with a stone, the light coming through the glass of the ceiling, and water flowing on the surface of wall with the natural greenery, that is exactly the figures of the Creation.
You can observe inside freely
When a wedding ceremony does not hold, you can observe inside of the Stone Church freely.
The stone symbolize a man, and the glass symbolize a woman
The unique form which the stone mixed with the glass are the work of American architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg. It is said that the stone symbolize a man, and the glass symbolize a woman.
The stone arch seeing from the inside of it, the murmuring water drifting to the edge of the church, and the green to grow thick are combined and expressed a solemn atmosphere. It is a place of interest of Karuizawa.
|Name:||Ishi no Kyokai (Stone Church)|
|Adresse:||Karuizawa-cho Hoshino, Nagano 389-0195 Japan|
|Access:||Shinano Tetsudo Railway “Naka Karuizawa-eki Station” (5 minutes by car)|
|Price / Charge:||Free|
Note:Admission is not possible if a wedding is being held.