A Message from the Christian Churches of Nagano

The City of the Winter Olympic Games 1998

Mt. Myoko in Early Spring - Photo: Shuichi Fujita (1995)

Welcome to Nagano! Nagano is famous for one of the largest and oldest Buddhist temples in Japan. Indeed, it is called a Buddhist city.

But in Nagano and its surrounding areas, there are also many Christian churches. In the midst of the many gods and complicated religious traditions of this country, we Christians worship one true God, believing in the love of the Almighty Father, salvation by grace through Jesus Christ, and the living and active power of the Holy Spirit.

Due to historical circumstances, the worldwide church of Christ is divided into many denominations, but before God the Father there is only one church. So we think that seeking the path of unity, love and cooperation in the worldwide church is important. Especially in a mostly non-Christian country, such as Japan, when evangelism is caried out, cooperation is needed.

Now is the time when we must go beyond national boundaries and understand each other, make peace, and realize a fellowship of love. In a time like this, the effort that the church must make in that direction is important. As people from around the world meet here, the church can help to deepen both the unity of faith and each person's understanding of their own joy. The church can spread Christ's love in the world and increase prayer for the Kingdom of God which brings all things into unity.

So please, visit us at the Christian churches of Nagano while you are in Japan. We would love to welcome you.

The Christian Conference of Northern Nagano Prefecture

A Poem of Genzo Mizuno, the Blinking Poet


In the great hand of God,
the snail crawls as a snail should,
the spider walt blooms as the spider walt should,
the green tree frog croaks as the green tree frog should.
And in the hand of God, I live as I should.

Genzo Mizuno was born in Sakaki Town, near Nagano City, in 1937, and died in 1984 at the age of 47.

When Genzo was nine, a high fever from dysentery left him paralized and unable to speak. At the age of twelve, he first came into contact with the Bible. When he was thirteen, he was baptized as a Christian. He learned to write poems, by choosing one-by-one the Japanese characters by blinking his eyes, as his mother moved her pencil over the 50 character table.

Genzo Mizuno's faith, his poems full of humble thanks and joy, his troubles and struggles, and life of victory in a paralized body are continuing to spread ripples of influence as people's hearts respond in Japan and internationally. In the non-Christian country of Japan, it seems that the good news of Jesus Christ is putting down roots, making flowers bloom, and becoming a remarkable sign to people.

The History of Christianity in Japan

Christianity was first preached in Japan in 1549 by Francis Xavier, a Catholic Jesuit priest. That was an age when Japan was full of internal strife and war, but in 53 years it is said that almost half a million Japanese becamse Christians.

But when, after a time, Japan entered an age of more unity, Christian teaching was prohibited, the country entered a period of isolation, and many Christians were killed for their faith.

The next time Christianity was preached in Japan was after the country was reopened to the outside world in 1859. During the 19th century foreign missionaries came to Japan from the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and from various Protestant denominations, telling the good news about Jesus and establishing churches.

But, after 1890, the Emperor became the holy head of state in Japan, the country strove to become rich and prosperous, and Japan followed a path to unified control of ideology and education. And then, during World War II, the church was forced to cooperate with the state.

In 1945, with defeat in war, a new era of religious freedom came to Japan. From Europe and North America many missionaries came. The Japanese churches recovered the essence of the Gospel and reformed the relationship between church and state. But in spite of the fresh start, today, with traditional religion and custom in family life and public observances, Japanese evangelism is difficult, and Christians do not exceed one percent of the population.

Currently the Japanese church is also involved in education and social welfare, and sends missionaries all over the world. Recently, as many foreign workers have come to Japan from Southeast Asia, Middle East and South America, the Japanese church's international resposibility has become more important. Also in recent years, our Christian interdenominational mutual understabding and cooperation have flourished. To foster that, the Christian Conference of Northern Nagano Prefecture was established in 1985.

Member Churches of the Christian Conference of Northern Nagano Prefecture

Anglican-Episcopal Churches
Nagano Church6, Nishi-Nagano, Nagano City026-232-6043*
Inariyama Church198 Haruta-machi, Nagano City026-273-2051
Iiyama Church2278 Fukuju-maci, Iiyama City0269-62-3078
Obuse Chapel851 Obuse Town026-247-2033
Catholic Churches
Nagano Church1491-12 Nishi-tsuruga, Nagano City026-232-6949*
Nagano Yoshida Church1-16-24 Yoshida, Nagano City026-241-7702*
Shinonoi Church625-2 Fuse-takada, Nagano City026-292-0549
Nakano Church2-6-4 Chuo, Nakano City0269-22-3503
Suzaka Church967-1 Harukimachi, Suzaka City026-245-2353
Church of Christ in Japan2099 Tsuruga-tamachi, Nagano City026-235-6692
Church of Resurrected Christ416 Nishinagano, Nagano City026-232-0900
Korean Church of Japan407 Kurita Higashi-bamba, Nagano City026-243-1012*
Lutheran Church4-29-7 Uematsu, Nagano City026-241-3781*
Reformed Church2019-4 Yanagihara, Nagano City026-244-6597*
Salvation Army1906 Higashi-tsuruga, Nagano City026-232-2901*
United Church of Christ in Japan
Nagano Church477 Agata-machi, Nagano City026-232-3808
Nagano Agata-machi Church525-17 Agata-machi, Nagano City026-232-0733*
Nagano Hongo Church3-10-11 Miwa, Nagano City026-241-4362*
Shinonoi Church671 Ai, Shinonoi, Nagano City026-292-1270*
Shinshu Church1045 Nanase-Nakamachi, Nagano City026-226-1841*
Matsushiro Church167 Tonomachi, Matsushiro, Nagano City026-278-2041*
Ueda Shinzancho Church2-1-3 Ote, Ueda City0268-22-1977*
Sakaki Church378-1 Amikake, Sakaki Town0268-82-8044*
Suzaka Church405 Higashi-Yokomachi, Suzaka City026-245-2262*
Shinanomura Church369-2 Kashiwabara, Shinano Town026-255-2075*

* shows that information about the Church is available in English.


Created by Yoshi Mikami and other folks at the Nagano Seikyushu Kyokai on Feb. 3, 1998. Last update on Feb. 4, 1998.