OWL Magazine Korea

Tokyo’s Byzantine-style Cathedral – Nikolai Cathedral

In the heart of Tokyo, you can encounter a building that you might not expect to find in Japan. This is Nikolai Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox cathedral. Officially named ‘Tokyo Resurrection Cathedral,’ it is known as ‘Nikolai Cathedral’ due to its association with St. Nikolai, an apostle-like figure who visited Japan to spread Orthodoxy.

“The Russian Orthodox Church has a presence in various countries, including Japan.”

The Russian Orthodox Church has organized branches in different countries, and in Japan, there is the Japanese Orthodox Church (Japan Haristos Orthodox Church). Nikolai Cathedral serves as a central point among around 60 churches throughout Japan. The architectural style follows the Byzantine tradition with thick walls, small windows, and a central dome. The cathedral is a place for baptisms, Orthodox liturgy, daily prayers, weddings, funerals, and other significant life events, attracting many worshipers daily.

“Nikolai Cathedral, a unique Byzantine-style architectural gem in Japan.”

The structure was completed in 1891 based on Shchusev’s original design and Conder’s construction plans. Unfortunately, the dome and bell tower collapsed due to the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. However, in 1929, it was reconstructed based on the design by Shinichiro Okada.

“Nikolai Cathedral’s Visiting Hours”

I, unfortunately, arrived earlier than the official opening hours, so I couldn’t explore the interior. Additionally, an admission fee is required to enter the cathedral, with an adult fee of 300 yen per person.

“Visiting Hours”

  • (April – September) 13:00 – 16:00
  • (October – March) 13:00 – 15:30

“Admission Fees”

  • General: 300 yen (approximately 3,000 won)
  • Middle School Students: 100 yen (approximately 1,000 won)
  • Elementary School Students and below: Free

“Nikolai Cathedral is located near Ochanomizu Station.”

You can find Nikolai Cathedral near Ochanomizu Station, precisely situated between Ochanomizu and Shin-Ochanomizu Stations. After exploring the book alley near Kanda Jinbocho, I leisurely walked in the direction of Ochanomizu Station.

While it might not be a popular destination for typical Tokyo tourists, Nikolai Cathedral offers an exotic view with its unique architectural style. It’s impressive to find a Western religious building in Japan, a country often associated with indigenous Shinto beliefs.

“Tokyo, Byzantine-style Cathedral, Nikolai Cathedral”

  • Address: 4-1-3 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0062, Japan
  • Phone: +81 3-3295-6879
  • Website: http://www.orthodoxjapan.jp/annai/t-tokyo.html
  • Visiting Hours: (April – September) 13:00 – 16:00 / (October – March) 13:00 – 15:30