Public tours have started at the Tokyo Japan Temple following an extended closure for major renovations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced.
The church hosted a media day for invited guests to kick off traditional open house events in Tokyo on May 30, according to a news release.
“This is a special opportunity to come and see the temple in the great city of Tokyo,” Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in the news release. “It is a sacred place for us because we consider it the ‘House of the Lord.’”
Temples are an important part of the culture in Japan, Elder Stevenson said.
“I have admired how Japanese people are templegoing people. Important days in their lives are celebrated by visiting a temple or shrine,” he 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.”
Is the Tokyo Japan Temple open?
An open house with public tours at the temple will begin Friday, June 3, and continue through Saturday, June 18, except for two Sundays during that period — June 5 and June 12.
A youth devotional is scheduled for Saturday, July 2.
President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, will preside at the rededication, with three sessions scheduled for Sunday, July 3, at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.
The three rededication sessions and youth devotional will be broadcast to meetinghouses located in the Tokyo Japan Temple District.
The Tokyo Japan Temple renovation
The Tokyo Japan Temple was closed to undergo extensive renovations on Sept. 29, 2017.
Here’s a list of what was upgraded or repaired during the renovation:
- The temple’s water and electrical utility systems for energy efficiency were upgraded.
- A four-story annex was added to the temple to house a visitors’ center, a chapel, area and mission offices and a family history center.
- Perhaps the biggest improvement was made in the baptistry. “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,” said Elder Takashi Wada, a General Authority Seventy and president of the church’s Asian North Area. “Now we have a spacious chapel in front of the baptismal font. It gives reverence and a nice feel to it.”
- Although limited in size, crews made several improvements on the temple grounds. New landscaping was added around the property and a wall was removed to create an open space that complements the vegetation of the nearby Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park.
- Inside the temple, the Japanese style of Shibui — a feeling of quiet elegance — is reflected in the furniture and other features.
- 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 are found in the carpet designs in several rooms, including the bridal room.
Tokyo Japan Temple timeline
The Tokyo temple was the first temple built in Asia.
President Spencer W. Kimball announced plans to build the temple at the Nappon Budokan Arena for an area conference on Aug. 9, 1975.
“The congregation broke into spontaneous applause before President Kimball and his translator finished the announcement,” according to the church’s newsroom.
President Kimball returned to dedicate the temple — the church’s 18th — on Oct. 27, 1980.
The church announced the closure of the Tokyo Japan Temple, as well as three others, for extensive renovations in April 2017.
How many Latter-day Saint temples are in Japan?
In addition to the Tokyo temple, the church has operating temples in Fukuoka and Sapporo. A fourth temple is under construction in Okinawa.
There are more than 130,000 Latter-day Saints attending 260 congregations in Japan, according to the church’s newsroom.