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A unique church

Ono church’s structure resembles that of an ordinary house. Other notable architectural features include its "de Rotz walls" and its brick window frames, as well as the windbreak in front of the entrance.

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Candidates for a world heritage

Ono church Ono church
Ono church

Ono church was designed and executed by Father de Rotz. He produced many buildings which today possess historical significance, such as the Former Latin Seminary and former Archbishop's residence next to Oura Cathedral (which is itself a national treasure). After designing the Former Latin Seminary he was appointed to Sotome, where his many great achievements still remain today.
The cost of building Ono church was covered by Father de Rotz, as well as by parishioners’ own contributions. It cost 1000 yen in the money of the time. Parishioners themselves also participated in the church’s construction.
Ono church's most distinctive characteristic is its "de Rotz walls", which were made using basalt from Mt. Ono. When building a wall, people in the local area had traditionally used a mix of red soil and straw in order to fasten the stones together. This mixture wasn't very suitable however, because when it rained it would run out and easily break.
When Father de Rotz arrived in Shitsu, he slightly altered this local masonry technique. Instead of using this mixture, he dissolved red soil in water to form a muddy liquid before working in caustic lime and sand. He then fastened the stones together using this mixture instead. Thanks to this, people began to be able to make walls which were robust. This way of building walls started to be used in many places across the local area, and these walls became known as "de Rotz walls".
Ono church’s uneven stone walls, together with its arch-shaped brick window frames, give it a somewhat European atmosphere. Although the “de Rotz” wall in front of the church’s entrance was built as a windbreak, the little cloister it has created is very charming in its own right.
Ono church is a church rich in local flavour, a fusion of East and West, a harmony of design and function, as well as a place where you can witness the architectural skill of Father de Rotz.