The Jesuit priest Francis Xavier (1503-1552) arrived in the port of Kagoshima in 1549. Xavier was the first Jesuit missionary to come to Japan and he was to spend more than two years in the country.
Xavier Park in Kagoshima commemorates the stay of Xavier and his Japanese disciples Anjiro (Paulo de Santa Fé) and Bernardo in the city, the latter possibly the first Japanese ever to visit Europe.
Xavier Park is actually the remains of the first stone church built in the Meiji Period, which was largely destroyed by World War II bombing.
The space is occupied by a few surviving walls of the original church and statues of Xavier, Anjiro and Bernardo. Across the road is the new Xavier Church, built in 1999, to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Xavier's arrival in Kagoshima. The architect of Xavier Church (Kagoshima Cathedral), Seizo Sakata, chose a striking design influenced by the shapes of the sailing ship that brought Xavier from Canton, and features a 31 meter high bell tower.
Xavier Koen is a stop on the Kagoshima regular sightseeing bus from Kagoshima Chuo Station. Xavier Park and Xavier Church are located on opposite sides of the road at the junction of Nikanbashi Dori and Sengokubaba Dori.
There is another Xavier Park in Sakai near Osaka, a town which Xavier also visited on his way to Kyoto.
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