The Jewish Community of Japan is a warm and vibrant congregation. We welcome everyone who wants to join us for services, events or any other activity regardless of their Jewish affiliation.

We provide for the religious, educational, and social needs of our members. We also provide a place for visitors to Japan who want to participate in Shabbat services and enjoy kosher meals in a congenial atmosphere with fellow Jews. Our center offers a large range of religious, cultural and social activities and events.

We look forward to enrich with Jewish experiences your visit or your stay in Japan.
Jews have been living in Japan since at least the 1860s, perhaps much, much longer. The first settler we know of in modern times arrived in Yokohama in 1861, and synagogues were later established in Nagasaki (1889), Kobe (1937), and finally Tokyo (1953).
The site on which our facility now stands was acquired in late 1952, and was opened on May 3, 1953, with a black tie party attended by Prince and Princess Mikasa. That same property is still the address for our community home, our synagogue, our school, our kitchen, our mikveh, our social space, our library, and our office–in short, all the assets that physically anchor our Jewish life here. We hope you will come and use them with us, temporarily if you are just visiting, as members if you are staying longer.

Our community was formally chartered in 1953. We are open and accommodating to all Jews whatever their place in the spectrum of Jewish views and wherever they may come from.

Forty years ago, the Jewish Community of Japan was described by one of its lay leaders as “…a microcosm of the cosmopolitan world living at peace…” In that spirit, welcome to all who enter our gates! In the words of our rabbis, let us all “Judge every person in a favorable light.” (Avot 1.6). The 1953 structure was torn down in 2008 and in September 2009 a new modern building, designed by Maki and Associates, was inaugurated.

Our Building

Mr. Fumihiko Maki is a world-class architect, winner of the Pritzker Prize (the “Nobel Prize” of architecture), the Wolf Foundation of Israel prize for architecture, the Praemium Imperiale, Japan’s highest accolade for architecture, plus many other prestigious awards. One award of particular note for a Japanese architect is the BCS Award, which recognizes a combination of high construction quality, good design, and client satisfaction. Maki and Associates has been fortunate to be honored with this award 14 times, starting in 1983 for the Dentsu Osaka Headquarters building, and continuing through 2002 for Fukushima Gender Equality Center.

His work includes Steinberg Hall (1960) and the Sam Fox Building (2006), both on the Wash. U. campus in St. Louis, the office tower adjacent to Freedom Tower that he is designing for Larry Silverstein as part of the development replacing the World Trade Center, and the addition to the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Maki has built extensively in central Tokyo — the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Hillside Terrace in Daikanyama, the Austrian and Danish embassies and the TV Asahi Building that abuts Roppongi Hills are all fine examples of his work. He also designed the Children’s Home adjacent to Auschwitz that would have been dedicated to Dr. Janus Korzac, pre-war Poland’s Dr. Spock, had it been built.
Maki’s design style is difficult to categorize, but it comes closest to classic modernism known for its clean lines and timelessness — Maki buildings are not subject to the vagaries of architectural fads and trends. In contrast to the 30-year life span of most construction in Japan, Maki buildings are made to last. Maki chooses durable materials and pays close attention to detail and construction technology.
Like many architects in Japan, Maki often opens a site office where they can tailor their design very precisely to our property and other prevailing conditions. We have had the enormous benefit of being located a very short distance to their office in Daikanyama. Maki and Associates takes a very comprehensive “soup-to-nuts” approach to every project. His design for the new JCC includes everything from landscape to interiors.

Video by JCJ member Kent Ichikawa