Sumiyoshi Taisha in Osaka is one the oldest shrines in Japan. Built to be the main Shrine for all the Sumiyoshi Shrines in Japan, the Sumiyoshi Taisha is surrounded by natural beauty that is upwards of 1,000 years old.

The Grand Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Osaka

The History of Sumiyoshi Taisha

The History of Sumiyoshi Taisha

Sumiyoshi Taisha, also known as the Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, was founded in 211 A.D. and is the second oldest Shinto Shrine in Japan. Pre-dating the introduction of Buddhism to Japan, the shrine was founded by Tamomi no Sukune and commissioned by Empress Jingu.

Located in the Sumiyoshi Ward, the shrine is popular with locals. During the New Year celebrations of Hatsumode, where people visit the shrine for the first time that year to pay respects, over 2.5 million people cross the Sumiyoshi Taisha bridge to purify themselves for the new year.

Sumiyoshi Taisha is actually a sea-based shrine, despite its land-locked nature. In years past, before the reclamation of land became popular in Japan, the shrine was positioned on the bay. While now the shrine has no sea connected to it, the sea gods that are enshrined here are still worshiped.

Like most old structures in Japan, the Sumiyoshi Taisha has been torn down and rebuilt many times. The last time this occurred was in 1810 when they restored all the buildings to their former glory. While the buildings were rebuilt, they were designed in the exact same manner as they were in the 3rd century, without the later influences of Asian design on Shinto shrines.

Purify Yourself Over the Sumiyoshi Taisha Bridge

Purify Yourself Over the Sumiyoshi Taisha Bridge

Once upon a time, the Sumiyoshi Taisha Bridge crossed a stream coming from the sea to get to the inner area when it was built 400 years ago. Now, due to the land reclamation, the water that the bridge crosses is nothing more than a small pond.

The bridge itself is quite large, Yasunari Kawabata in 1948 exclaimed that it was more frightening to go down the bridge than up it. This large arch was built to remind people of the rainbows that connect the sea and the sky.

Sumiyoshi Taisha Gods

As the main shrine, the Sumiyoshi Taisha Gods that are enshrined here are quite revered. There are three gods attached to the Sumiyoshi Taisha, each representing a certain part of the sea. Each of the deities have shrines that line up together.

These gods are Uwatsutsu-no-mikoto, the god ruling above the water, Nakatsutsu-no-mikoto, the god of the ocean, and Sokotsutsu-no-mikoto, the god of the deep ocean and seabed.

There’s a fourth shrine on the grounds, next to the three gods, but facing away from them. Enshrined here is Empress Jingu, who was protected by the Sumiyoshi Taisha Gods on her trips to Korea and the Asian mainland. Thanks to these stories, her historic is deeply link to those deities that live at Sumiyoshi Taisha.

Information on Sumiyoshi Taisha

You’ll need some information on the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine to know how to get to the spot and when it’s open.

Get the Train to Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine

Getting the train to Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine is easy with so many stops close to the area. On the Hankai Line, the Sumiyoshi-tori Mae stop is just outside the entrance to the shrine. For the Nankai Main Line, it’s only a 3-minute walk from Sumiyoshi Taisha Station. From Sumiyoshi Higashi Station on the Nankai Koya Line, it’s only a 5-minute walk.

All Four Sumiyoshi-Taisha Shrine

All four of the Sumiyoshi-Taisha Shrine are side by side and each house one of the three different gods enshrined on the grounds and the Empress. All four of the shrines are designated as National Treasures in Japan and are held up as historic icons.

What Are the Sumiyoshi Taisha Hours?

What Are the Sumiyoshi Taisha Hours?

The Sumiyoshi Taisha hours don’t vary much through the year, only changing due to the season. In the summer months, from April to September, the shrine opens at 6:00 PM and closes at 5:00 PM. In the winter months, from October to March, the only time that changes is the opening time, which is pushed back to 6:30 AM in the morning.

Do be aware that the times can change for festivals and matsuri that occur throughout the year, like New Year’s where operation times are extended to accommodate all the people.

Spot information

  • Spot name: Sumiyoshi Taisha, or Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine
  • Street address: 2-9-89 Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka 558-0045
  • Access: A 1-minute walk from the Sumiyoshi-tori Mae on the Hankai Line tram