Retro Japan: Central Tokyo church built in 1933 still retains its style
TOKYO -- A church in the capital's Minato Ward built in 1933 retains the ambience of the period as it stands in harmony with the surrounding scenery. Tokyo's Azabu district is known as an area with many hilly streets. Here, Azabu Nanbuzaka Church, which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ in Japan, stands on a slope beside the verdant Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park.
The wooden three-story church building designed by U.S. architect William Merrell Vories, houses a kindergarten on the first floor, a chapel on the second floor, and a living area on the third floor. The entrance to the chapel faces the slope, and well-used benches are seen bathed in sunlight upon entry through the door with a triangle arch.
The ceiling of the chapel is supported by beams in a scissors truss, an assembly resembling open scissors. The rigid triangle-shaped framework formed by the beams creates a spacious room without pillars.
Though the church has undergone repair work twice, its exterior, interior and other parts still retain the ambience of the time of its completion. The church's pastor, Yuji Matsutani, said, "This is a building that has a rustic and nostalgic feeling, so I think visitors feel at peace."
(Japanese original by Akihiro Ogomori, Photo and Video Center)
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The Japanese version of this article was originally published on Oct. 31, 2021.
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This series explores Japan's architectural wonders and secrets of yesteryear. Read more Retro Japan articles here.