Japan's first convent, established in the 19th century
Its museum exhibits photos of people living in the monastery.
The current church is a reconstruction made in 1927. The red-brick contemplative convent was built in a solemn combination of Gothic and Romanesque styles reminiscent of old European castles. The monastery was established as the first convent in Japan by Bishop A. Berlioz from Missions Etrangeres de Paris in 1898. Its official name is "Our Lady of the Lighthouse Trappist (Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance) Monastery."
In the garden, with its holy atmosphere, there are statues of Maria Teresia, Jeanne d'Arc, Archangel Michael and others, and rocks simulating the cave of Lourdes. A meadow spreading around trimmed shrubbery is dotted with facilities including a museum, a travelers' church and a store, where we can learn about the monastery's past and present. Inside the buildings is not open to the public but you can see a large number of photos showing the inside.
Highly recommended to visitors are original sweets. About 80 nuns living a self-sufficient life produce sweets to earn their living. Popular souvenirs include Madeleine cake (1000 yen for 8 cakes) and butter candy (250 yen).
Address: 346 Kamiyunokawa-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
Phone: 0138-57-3331 (store on the premise)
Admission Fee: Free
Closed: Wednesdays (Sundays during winter) and Dec. 30-Jan. 2
Directions: 40 minutes by bus from Hakodate Station (3 hours and 20 minutes from Sapporo) on the JR Hakodate Honsen to the Trappistine entrance. (Car) 10 minutes by car from JR Hakodate Station or Hakodate Airport (a fee is charged for car parking).