By Daniel Vesey
Nestled amongst large apartment and office buildings, typical Japanese housing and shopping areas a few minutes from the centre of Nagoya City, conspicuous by it’s twin belfries topped with latticework spires is the Nunoike Cathedral, the main church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nagoya, with parishes located throughout Aichi, Gifu, Toyama, Fukui and Ishikawa Prefectures. The official name of the church is the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, and is located in Aoi, in Nagoya’s Higashi Ward between the subway stops and suburbs of Shinsakae Machi, Chikusa and Kuramichi. Located right next door to the cathedral is the English language school, St. Mary’s College.
The elegant cathedral was built in 1962 in a Gothic Revivalist architectural style. The spires reach a height of 50 meters and the belfries contain four large bells, two of which are rung every Sunday morning calling the faithful to masses, conducted mostly in Japanese, however for the large Philipino community regular Tagalog services and even English masses are celebrated. Since 1993 The Most Reverend Father Augustine Jun’ichi Nomura has served as Bishop of Nagoya, and often leads mass, which is particularly full at Christmas and Easter times.
The interior is pretty much like most Catholic Churches the world over, long and wide, lined with honey colored wooden pews below heavenly high arched ceilings, and the focal point being the magnificent stained glass windows depicting the crucifixion behind and above the alter. More modern-styled stained glass windows surround the main hall. On either sides of the alter stand statues of the cathedrals namesakes, the Saints, Peter and Paul in elevated arches.
Nunoike Cathedral is a popular venue for weddings and even Non-Catholics are welcomed. The Cathedral offers yearly vow renewal ceremonies which seem very popular and have been acknowledged as the savior of many marriages. The front of the church, with it’s long wide steps makes for the perfect wedding photo location, with the soaring spires rising behind the happy couple, friends and family.
Evenings provide a great photo opportunity with the spires lit up, and the light from inside the church illuminating the large colorful stained glass windows depicting Mother Mary above the street side entrance.
Church services in Japanese are conducted every Sunday at 7 and 9:30am, and on the first and third Sunday of every month at 6pm. Weekdays at 7am, and on the first Friday masses are celebrated at 7 and 10am, and 6:30pm.
English mass is held on the forth Sunday at 6pm, and in Tagalog every second Sunday at 6pm.
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Chris Glenn is an Australian born radio DJ, TV presenter, helicopter pilot, and advertising copywriter. A follower of samurai culture , he is a member of the Japan Armor and Weapons Research and Preservation Society, has black-belt in Kendo, 2nd black-belt in Chanbara sword fighting disciplines, and currently studies Shinkage and Enmei Ryu techniques. A long term resident of Japan, he is extremely passionate about preserving and promoting Japanese history and culture.