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13,000 participate in public temple open house in Sapporo, Japan

SAPPORO, JAPAN

More than 13,000 Latter-day Saints and their friends visited the Sapporo Japan Temple this July during its public open house.

Latter-day Saints in northern Japan were excited to share the new temple during the public open house, which began Friday, July 8, and continued through Saturday, July 23.

Located at 1-6-1 Ooyachi-Nishi, Atsubetsu-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan, the 48,480-square-foot Sapporo Japan Temple sits on 9.8 acres. The temple 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.

The Sapporo temple is the Church’s third temple in Japan and, when dedicated, will become the 151st operating temple worldwide. The two other temples in Japan are located in Tokyo (dedicated in 1980) and Fukuoka (dedicated in 2000).

Sister Kanako Yamabuki, the usher sub-committee chair of the open house and temple dedication committee, said many neighbors, who watched the construction, looked forward to the open house. One child commented, “A castle is built here,” she reported.

Some neighbors “liked the beautiful temple building and friendly ushers and tour guides so much that they invited their friends to come,” Sister Yamabuki said.

Others returned to the temple after their first visit saying, “This time I would like to see the pictures more carefully,” or “This time, I came with my friend.”

Other Latter-day Saints commented on the joy in directing groups of their friends from other faiths through the temple. “Each time I did so I felt the Spirit,” said an usher.

Another usher said: “I stood in many different places in the temple as an usher and when I had time I was able to enjoy seeing the pictures hung on the walls in the temple. I also enjoyed seeing the beautiful architecture and decorative work and craftsmanship inside the temple, which I may not have the chance to enjoy once the temple is dedicated.”

Sister Yamabuki said Latter-day Saints in northern Japan are looking forward to the temple’s dedication.

“A volunteer said: ‘I gave shoe covers to the visitors. When I had time I enjoyed talking to the young women. They talked about their future — their dream about temple marriage and how they prepare themselves in the beautiful bride’s room — and I talked about how I would like to serve in the temple, as a temple worker, after its dedication.’ ”

The temple will be formally dedicated on Sunday, Aug. 21, in three dedicatory sessions.

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