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Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Black and White

I don’t like overcast weather.  A few clouds in the sky is more my style.   A few cumulus clouds make everything look pretty.  That’s exactly what I got when I photographed Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward.  It was a classic building under a perfect sky.

St Mary’s Cathedral
cathedral roof and clouds behind

I think monochrome was a good choice for these photos.  First, by removing the color, the structure stands out.  And second, I added contrast to the sky in Photoshop.  That created more separation between the subject and background.

Here are some “facts” about the building.  Home to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tokyo, it was designed by Kenzo Tange.  Construction finished in 1964, the same year as the Tokyo Olympics.  If you could look down on it from above, you would see the building is in the shape of a cross.  It’s hard to believe it’s now more than fifty years old.  But, as the construction is stainless steel, that should hardly be surprising.


stainless steel roof and clouds

St. Mary’s is a beautiful building.  The shape, the angles, and the materials all combine to make it something special.    I think the architect might have been divinely inspired when he put pen to paper for this project.

St Mary’s Cathedral and clouds
front entrance of St Mary’s Cathedral

The only complaint I can make is that photography is prohibited inside. The interior, especially the altar area, is amazing and you need to see it. It will amaze you. If you enjoy churches or architectural photography, you should visit Saint Mary’s.

Where is Saint Mary’s Cathedral?

The church is near Gokokuji and Edogawabashi Stations (Exit 1a).  Both on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho line.  It is about a fifteen-minute walk from either.  Here is a Google map:

Other photo spots near St. Mary’s Cathedral:

Are public restrooms available?

Yes

St Mary’s Cathedral with clouds
St Mary’s Cathedral belltower
Cathedral ribbed metal roof and clouds behind

Wrapping up

Kenzo Tange must have received some divine inspiration when he designed St. Mary’s Cathedral. It is a wonderful place for architectural photographers. And that roof is incredible. But, before you go, just check the weather forecast to get those nice clouds. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

4 thoughts on “Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Black and White”

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