Photo credit: Northern Asia-Pacific Division

Northern Asia-Pacific

Tokyo Welcomes Its First Urban Center of Influence

The ambiance makes more palatable the invitation of church planters to non-Christian friends to participate in worship, Bible studies, social events, and even community service

Japan | Jason Meder

Yanagi Adventist Community Center, the first Adventist center of influence in Japan, opened its doors on September 26, 2023. Located in Nakano, Tokyo, which is known for its anime and manga stores, this center offers far more than do the iconic Japanese comic genres in the area. Its mission is to provide a friendly space for young Adventist church planters and be a blessing to the surrounding community, establishing connections and becoming a focal point for community service, as well as mental, social, and spiritual health.

The Urban Center of Influence (UCI) is an integral part of the Mission Unusual Tokyo project, a joint initiative of the General Conference, the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, and Japan Union Conference to foster a church plant movement among the Japanese lay leaders in Tokyo.

Situated near Nakano Broadway, a nexus for subcultures in Tokyo, the UCI is central to the strategy of propelling the church-plant movement in the city. This strategy encompasses church-planting residency, coaching for planters, and creating new resources to aid the Japanese in their mission to connect with non-Christian friends.

One challenge faced in church planting in Japan is the non-Christian’s hesitation to enter Christian worship spaces. Additionally, securing locations for these gatherings can take time and effort. Positioned near two subway stations, the UCI provides a space for church-plant initiatives needing a venue. Its welcoming and neutral ambiance makes it easier for church planters to invite non-Christian friends for worship, Bible studies, social events, and even community service in the area. During the week, the UCI offers activities like English conversation clubs, mental health workshops, leadership sessions, game nights, movie nights, cooking classes, and more.

The original version of this story was posted on the Northern Asia-Pacific Division website.