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Here’s Your First Look Inside the Okinawa Japan Temple

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invites the public to visit the Okinawa Japan Temple, the fourth of its kind in Japan. Other temples are in Fukuoka, Sapporo, and Tokyo.

A public open house will be held daily from Saturday, September 23, through October 7, except Sundays. The temple will be formally dedicated on Sunday, November 12, 2023, in two sessions, at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tickets to the open house are available here.

A media day is being held today, Thursday, September 21, at a chapel next to the temple. Elder Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy will address invited guests and journalists before they walk through this new house of the Lord. Invited guests will also tour the Okinawa Japan Temple on Friday, September 22.

The two-story, 10,000-square-foot temple is on a half-acre site at 7-11-32 Matsumoto, Okinawa-shi, in Okinawa-ken, Japan. A patron waiting area has been added to the adjacent meetinghouse that was completed in 2013.

Temple Exterior

The temple exterior derives from traditional Okinawan architecture. The arches over the windows are inspired by portals in traditional stone walls, like those at the Shurijo Castle, Nakagusuku Castle, and Sogenji Temple. 

The decorative floral band that connects the arches alludes to the traditional karamon gate. The structure consists of reinforced concrete with a granite exterior. 

The stone is Sunset Gold Chinese granite from Wenshang, Shandong Province. The art glass design is inspired by Okinawan bingata stencils and patterns. Many native plants adorn the temple, such as fountain palms, sago palms and Chinese hibiscus.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Okinawa

The Church has had a presence in Okinawa and the surrounding Ryukyu Islands since the 1940s. That presence now includes a Japanese-speaking stake and an English-speaking district with more than 5,500 members. Japan is home to more than 130,000 Latter-day Saints in over 230 congregations.

American servicemen in Okinawa shared the gospel with Japanese people long before proselytizing efforts were officially organized. The first Japanese members were baptized on December 25, 1955. Their baptisms inspired the mission president to send the first assigned missionaries to Okinawa on April 17, 1956.

President Russell M. Nelson announced plans to build the Okinawa Japan Temple at the April 2019 general conference. At the groundbreaking of the temple on December 5, 2020, Elder Takashi Wada, Asia North Area President said, “We pray that we, and all those who pass near this site, will feel thy presence.” He continued, “May the inspiring vista bless the entire community, including those not of our faith, and become a cherished landmark for all who live or visit here.”

Latter-day Saint temples differ from chapels and meetinghouses, where members gather for Sunday worship services. Temples are considered houses of the Lord where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through sacred ordinances that unite families for eternity. Inside, members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to serve Jesus Christ and others.

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