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Updated: April 2, 2018
Situated between the Kanda River and the Imperial Palace, Catholic Kanda Church is one of the oldest Catholic churches in Tokyo. The stone walls, stained glass windows, and cross-ornamented façade feel strangely out of place considering that the vast majority of Japanese come from Shinto and Buddhist backgrounds. In fact, the church’s founding dates back to a historically significant period in the 1870s when Japan opened up to western trade and institutions. Both the exterior and interior of the church are worth seeing if you’re in the area, with the stained-glass windows particularly beautiful.
Dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, French missionaries established the church in 1874 shortly after the government abolished its long-standing prohibition of Christianity. Though the present-day structure was rebuilt after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, it managed to survive the firebombing of WWII. Services are offered Friday at 10:30 a.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
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