Shitennoji Temple

Shitennoji temple and the surrounding area is a great example of the the contrast between old and new, the serene and busy. Located within just a few minutes walk from Japan's tallest building, the 300m (984ft) Abeno Harukas, nearly a millenia and a half separates these areas in time.

Originally built in year 593, Shitennoji Temple is often recognized as the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan. The buildings have been torn down and rebuilt many times over, most of the current buildings are from 1950-1970's after having being damaged in the second world war and by natural disasters.

The five story pagoda stands out as the main visual but it is only a small part of the temple which covers a large area and consists of many buildings and gardens. If you break up the name Shitennoji, you get the number four(shi), heavenly kings(tenno) and one of the Japanese words used for temple(ji).

With its four institutions, the temple was meant to honor four Buddhist gods commonly known as the Four Heavenly Kings. The four institutions represented things that would elevate Japanese society: religion and education, welfare and healthcare.

It is one of the most visited temples in Osaka and if you happen to be there on the 21st or 22nd of any month, one of the most famous flea markets in the city will be attracting both tourists and locals looking for great finds and bargains.