Building Bridges of Faith


A Pilgrimage made by Japanese & American young adults

4 to 20 August 2004

A project of the Religious Freedom Young Adult Network (RFYN)
part-funded by
Fund for International Unitarian Universalism 

Japan Liaison Committee of the IARF

23 young adults from IARF member organisations (Unitarian Universalists & Jewish Reconstructionists in the USA, and Shintoists & Buddhists in Japan) took part in an educational tour, or pilgrimage, visiting sites of spiritual interest in both countries.

Project outline
An educational tour that began in Japan & ended in the US. Learning about each spiritual tradition took place through experiential learning & discussions.

There were 11 young adults from Japan & 12 from USA – and they came from several spiritual traditions: Unitarian Universalists, Reconstructionist Jews, Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhists, Ittoen (a spiritual community) and Shinto groups Tsubaki Grand Shrine & Konko Church of Izuo.

The pilgrims with the High Priest of Tsubaki Grand Shrine, Guji Yukiyasu Yamamoto
The pilgrims with the High Priest of Tsubaki Grand Shrine, Guji Yukiyasu Yamamoto

Illustrated account of the pilgrimage, with photos


Broad Aim – To promote respect & harmony between people of different spiritual & belief traditions, in order to ensure freedom of religion & belief in both present & future.

Purpose – To build bridges of international interfaith understanding between young adults of faith communities in Japan & the United States which belong to the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF).

Some objectives:

  • That the young adults would have enjoyable & profound experiences that will affect their future lives.
  • That this project would encourage responsible national & international citizenship in today’s world, based on the values inherent in the different belief traditions.
  • That the participants would gain a deeper understanding of the value & implications of each other’s faith traditions.
  • That the participants would become more familiar with the objectives & work of the RFYN (Religious Freedom Young Adult Network), a programme of the IARF.
  • That the young adults may be motivated to work actively for freedom of religion and belief.


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