Sapporo Japan Temple
The first Mormon missionaries arrived in Sapporo, Japan in 1905. The mission had closed by 1924, leaving only a handful of members, most of whom could not be located after World War II. When the mission reopened in 1948, missionaries returned to Hokkaidō, and the Church began to grow. Hokkaidō members held to a belief that a temple would be built among them one day as early as the 1960's. Elder Koichi Aoyagi of the Seventy, in a reflection of his own missionary experience there remarked, "I was a missionary here in Hokkaidō 46 years ago. The members in the Sapporo Branch back then said to me, 'Someday we will build a temple in Sapporo.' I am happy that this day has come."
The first prophecy regarding the temples of Japan was made on 17 July 1949 during the dedicatory services for the old Tokyo mission home which is now the site of the Tokyo Japan Temple. Elder Harrison Ted Price, a missionary serving in the Northern Far East Mission, recorded in his journal, "In this prayer, he told of countless blessings from the Lord that have been enjoyed here to date, and went on to prophesy—'there will someday be many church buildings—and even TEMPLES built in the land."
On Saturday, 22 October 2011, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, President of the Asia North Area, and a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, presided at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sapporo Japan Temple accompanied by his counselors, Elder Michael T. Ringwood and Elder Koichi Aoyagi, both of the Seventy, and their wives. Tents, umbrellas, and plastic raincoats were in abundance as wind and rain showered over the services. Elder Stevenson commented, "I am thankful for this historic groundbreaking—even in this downpour. Everything today was wet with rain, but the spirit of the saints was not dampened at all. They came with their hearts open and with complete joy as they saw the image of the temple at the groundbreaking ceremony. You could see that their eyes and hearts were just filled with joy to know that they are going to have a House of the Lord on the island."
The former prime minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, was a special guest at the groundbreaking. He flew to Sapporo to participate in the ceremony, and in his brief remarks, he pointed out the contribution of the Church and its members to the people of Tohoku, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck in March 2011. "You have made many social contributions in a spirit of service. I cannot express my feelings toward the quiet service you have rendered with kindness on behalf of the people." Prime Minister Hatoyama joined in the ceremonial turning of ground, and as he left, he paused to wave to the crowd. The congregation erupted into spontaneous applause as a reflection of gratitude to this former leader of their nation who honored them with his presence on a wet, but special day.
The goal to qualify for a temple on Hokkaidō was five stakes (groups of congregations).
This will be the third temple built in Japan, which has 29 stakes and 14 districts. Sapporo is Japan's fifth largest city and is located on the northern island of Hokkaidō.
Sapporo Japan Temple Site and Design
On 2 May 2010, the location of the Sapporo Japan Temple was announced as a large parcel of land on the Atsubetsu River, adjacent to the campus of Hokusei Gakuen University. The site for the Sapporo Japan Temple is at 1-620-5 Ohyachi-Nishi, Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan. The site is 9.8 acres. A charming, well-known pedestrian bridge decorated with colorful circles and supported by a soaring, graceful arch—known locally as "Rainbow Bridge"—crosses the river at the north edge of the temple site. The land was once occupied by the Shin Sapporo Golf Center and offers convenient access from the Hokkaidō Expressway and the Ooyachi Subway Station.
The Sapporo Japan Temple was designed with inspiration from Asian architecture. The temple will anchor a complex of supporting buildings including an Arrival Center, a Patron Housing Facility, a Temple Missionary Housing Facility, a combined home and office for the Japan Sapporo Mission, and space for a future meetinghouse. The grounds will feature distinctive trees and plants, large landscaping stones, and a pond and waterfall spanned by a pedestrian bridge.
A Picturesque Tour of the Sapporo Japan Temple
Open House for the Sapporo Japan Temple
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that the open house would be held for the Sapporo Japan Temple commencing on Friday, 8 July 2016 and continue through Saturday, 23 July 2016. An open house was not conducted on Sunday, 10 and 17 July. More than 13,000 people attended the public open house.
Japan's History and Church History in Area Honored During Cultural Celebration
On Saturday evening, 20 August 2016, the youth of the Church in the area performed in a cultural celebration honoring Japan’s history as well as the history of the Church in the country.
During the celebration, President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles commented, "We have the exciting privilege of being part of this latter-day work, when the gospel will go to every nation and those people of Japan particularly now will be able to have all the blessings of the temple."
The Sapporo Japan Temple is Dedicated
President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints formally dedicated the Sapporo Japan Temple in three dedicatory sessions on Sunday, 21 August 2016. He was accompanied by Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Larry Y. Wilson of the Seventy and Assistant Executive Director of the Church's Temple Department. All sessions were broadcast to meetinghouses throughout Japan, enabling thousands of Latter-day Saints to participate.
The Sapporo Japan Temple is located at 620-50 1 Chome, Ooyachi-Nishi, Atsubetsu-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan. It will serve more than 8,000 Latter-day Saints who live on the island of Hokkaido and in Aomori, the northernmost prefecture of the main island of Honshu. It is the Church’s third temple in Japan and the 151st operating temple worldwide. The two other temples in Japan are located in Tokyo Japan (dedicated in 1980) and Fukuoka Japan (dedicated in 2000).