A spectacular landmark in Bunkyo, this modernist Roman Catholic church is an architectural masterpiece designed by the renowned Kenzo Tange. The reflective stainless steel exterior is instantly recognisable, but it’s the use of light that really dazzles. Sunlight streams into the nave, which is laid out like a cross, through a skylight and diffuses from the ceiling and across the curved walls to create a magical environment that changes as the day progresses. It’s incredibly atmospheric.
Moreover, Tange replaced the conventional stained glass window behind the altar with thin marble panes to create additional soft lighting. St Mary’s is also home to the biggest pipe organ in a Japanese chapel, and once a month (except in January and August) it holds a free organ concert (second Friday, 7pm-7.40pm), which is called an ‘organ meditation’.