At first glance, the exterior of the Stone Church (石の教会) in Karuizawa (軽井沢) looks like an entrance of an underground tunnel. There aren’t any decoration or even a holy cross to identify it as a church. Inside the church there are long chairs and a stone altar and not much else.
The simplicity of the church actually came from the principle of a Japanese philosopher, Uchimura Kanzō (内村鑑三) who introduced a Japanese Christian movement called “Non Church Movement“. The key design emphasis of the church is “nature” and there are five elements of nature built into it: Stone, Wood, Green, Sunlight and Water. The picture that I took in the interior actually have four of them and for the fifth (Water), you need a bit of imagination – to hear it.
The church is open to public when there is no ceremony (see below). It’s very quiet there as the church, while located near an resort area, is far from the crowd. I must say the environment is perfect for praying and also for one to do some reflection of life there.
Love this church? Well it actually is a place of wedding ceremony. Getting married in this beautiful and serene place and then have a nice honeymoon in the resort area nearby sounds really good!