The renovated Tokyo Japan Temple is opening its doors to the public for the second time in its history.
The temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be open for a limited time to host public tours. All are welcome to visit this sacred space of worship.
“This is a special opportunity to come and see the temple in the great city of Tokyo,” said Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “It is a sacred place for us because we consider it the ‘house of the Lord’.”
A Media Day kicked off open house events for invited guests on Monday, May 30, in Tokyo.
“To be able to participate with our friends in the temple open house and the forthcoming rededication is just the greatest blessing,” said Elder Stevenson, who is in Tokyo to host invited guests during the first week of the open house.
Elder Stevenson pointed to the shared value Latter-day Saints and Japanese people place on temples and shrines.
“Temples are such an important part of the culture in Japan. I have admired how Japanese people are temple-going people. Important days in their lives are celebrated by visiting a temple or shrine,” Elder Stevenson said. “It has a striking similarity to what we as Latter-day Saints hold as one of our sacred rites and customs as being able to go to the temple.”
The public open house begins Friday, June 3, and runs through Saturday, June 18, except for Sunday, June 5 and 12.
The Tokyo Japan Temple will be rededicated on Sunday, July 3, 2022, in three sessions—9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. A youth devotional is scheduled for Saturday, July 2.
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency will preside at the rededication. The three rededication sessions and youth devotional will be broadcast to meetinghouses located in the Tokyo Japan Temple District.
Japan is home to more than 130,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in approximately 260 congregations.
In total, four temples are currently in operation or under construction in Japan. There is one operating temple in Fukuoka and another in Sapporo. A fourth temple is under construction in Okinawa.
The Tokyo Japan Temple closed on September 29, 2017, to undergo extensive renovations.
Upgrades were made to the temple’s water and electrical utility systems for energy efficiency.
A four-story annex was added then to the temple. It houses a visitors center, a chapel, area and mission offices, and a family history center.
Those who visited the temple prior to its closure will notice the biggest improvement in the baptistry area.
“The baptismal font downstairs used to be such a small space, especially in the chapel. It became easily congested, making it difficult to maintain a spirit of reverence. Now we have a spacious chapel in front of the baptismal font. It gives reverence and a nice feel to it,” said Takashi Wada, President of the Asian North Area.
Several improvements are evident on the temple grounds. Though limited in size, the grounds were optimized with new landscaping around the entire property. A wall was removed to create an open space that complements the vegetation of the nearby Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park.
Inside the temple, furniture and features reflect the Japanese style of Shibui—a feeling of quiet elegance—to create a sense of reverence.
New light fixtures are inspired by traditional Shoji lanterns, with glass that looks like rice paper. As the rooms progress in importance, the light fixtures get more ornate and include crystals in the ordinance rooms.
Traditional kimono patterns inspired the elegant carpet designs in several rooms, including the bridal room.
History of the Temple
In 1980, the Tokyo Japan Temple became the first temple built in Asia.
Plans to build the temple were announced by Spencer W. Kimball, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to thousands of Latter-day Saints gathered at the Nappon Budokan Arena for an area conference on August 9, 1975. The congregation broke into spontaneous applause before President Kimball and his translator finished the announcement.
President Kimball was present for the temple’s original dedication. The temple was the 18th temple built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Latter-day Saints consider temples to be the “house of the Lord” and the most sacred places of worship on earth. Temples differ from the Church’s meetinghouses (chapels), where Sunday worship services are held. All are welcome to attend Sunday services and other weekday activities at local meetinghouses. Temples are set apart for the highest sacraments of the faith; only those actively participating in the Church may worship inside the temple after its dedication.
The primary purpose of temples is for faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ to participate in sacred ceremonies such as marriages, which unite families forever, and proxy baptisms on behalf of deceased ancestors who did not have the opportunity to be baptized while living.
For more information or to make a reservation to tour the temple, please visit http://tokyojapantemple.jp.
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