St. George’s Church on Chichi Island, Ogasawara Archipelago, Tokyo

2013/6/19 St. George’s Church on Chichi Island, Ogasawara Archipelago, Tokyo

1. St. Andrew’s Cathedral Church of Tokyo and St. Alban’s Church

Twin churches of Tokyo.


2. Cathedral to Port of Tokyo

It is a straight path towards the port of Tokyo passing Tokyo Tower, Zojoji Temple, and Hamamatsu-cho Station. On taxi, it takes about 7 minutes. On bicycle, probably around 20 minutes.


3. Ferry: Ogasawara-maru

A ferry connects Ogasawara Archipelago and Port of Tokyo once or twice a week depending on seasonality. It takes a full day (25 hours) journey through Tokyo Bay, Sagami Gulf, Izu Archipelago, and Ogasawara Archipelago. Round trip ticket is about 50,000JPY, children up to elementary school age is about 25,000JPY, and children below 6 is free.

For more information about Ogasawara-maru:


4. Port Futami to St. George’s Church

There is only one main street on Chichi Island which is part of Route 243. From the dock, it takes about 7 minutes walk to St. George. Lodging is concentrated in the same area. Lodging with breakfast and dinner is somewhere around 5,000 JPY per day. Youth hostel without any meal is about 3,500JPY per day.


5. St. George’s Church, Ogasawara, Tokyo

St. George’s is a church with small chapel of capacity about 50 and front yard with bright green grass. It was originally consecrated in 1909 by the Anglican Churches of England and Japan and at that time it was designed by Josiah Conder, an famous English architect hired from London to build variety of modern western buildings in Japan. The first rector was Father Joseph Gonzales whose grand father migrated from Hawaii on British whaling vessel and whose descendant Reverend Isaac Gonzales-Ogasawara now leads this church for open door to all christian denominations.

St. George’s was burnt down during the WWII and consecrated again in 1968 by the Bishop of Hawaii. Today, it is managed as part of Diocese of Tokyo under the deanship of St. Andrew’s Cathedral Church.


As I have attended the communion, it was probably the busiest Anglican church I have seen anywhere in the world (so far) for having people working on Sundays when Ogasawara-maru departs. People rush in and out for prayer and going back to their business which probably gives you an idea of how worshiping was done in chapels near ports in the Age of Exploration.

6. Summary of  History


1543     Spanish galleon San Juan passing by Haha Island
1639     Dutch expedition Engel and Fraft passing by the archipelago
1670     Japanese tangeline merchant vessel drifts to Haha Island
1675     Team of Japanese expedition arrives on Fukkokuju-maru
1727     News of the Japanese expedition reported by Kaempfer in London
1824     British whaler Transit led by American captain arrives
1830     American/British/Kanakas settlers led by Savory migrates from Hawaii
1853     Commodore Perry’s squadron visit Chichi Island
1862     Declaration of territory by Japanese officials on Kanrin-maru
1876     Japanese government officially annexes the islands
1882     Original inhabitants are given Japanese nationality
1909     Consecration of St. Geroge’s by Anglican churches of Japan and England
1927     Emperor Hirohito visits the islands on battleship Yamashiro
1944     Compulsory evacuation of civilians as the Pacific War hardens
1945     Imperial Japanese Force surrenders to Allies on USS Dunlap
1946     Inhabitants of the Western origin returns
1965     Inhabitants of Japanese origin returns
1968     Return of Ogasawara Archipelago to Japan by the US
1994     Emperor Akihito visits the islands as part of Remembrance of Iwojima
2002     Former US President George H Bush visits Chichi Island
2013     Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits the islands

7. Reference

Summary by Daniel Long:

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