Deep in the heart of Osaka, the Shitennoji Temple is the oldest Buddhist Temple in Japan. While the temple site has been around for just under 1,500 years, the temple and its buildings have been re-built many times over the period. Let’s explore the Shitennoji Temple and its surroundings together.

Shitennoji Temple - The Oldest Buddhist Temple in Osaka

The Traditional Shitennoji Temple

The Traditional Shitennoji Temple

Built in 593, the Shitennoji Temple has withstood the test of time. While buildings, structures and artifacts have been lost through the ages, the main areas have been restored as recently as 1963. These three areas are the Treasure House, the inner temple complex and the Gokuraku Jodo Garden.

Those three areas are a part of the inner section of Shitennoji Temple. The inner section and five-storied pagoda have an admission fee of 300 yen to get into. The Treasure House is an extra 500 yen to enter and the Garden costs an extra 300 yen to enter on top of the first admission fee.

The outer grounds and garden of the Shitennoji Temple is free to be enjoyed during opening hours. Throughout the year, the temple opens at 8:00 AM and in the summer closes at 4:30 PM. In the winter time, the temple closes 30 minutes earlier at 4:00 PM.

On the 21st of the month, the temple is open for an extra 30 minutes to celebrate Kobo Daishi, a Buddhist monk from the 9th century.

How to Build a Shitennoji Japan Temple

How to Build a Shitennoji Japan Temple

Knowing how to build a Shitennoji Japan Temple is the job of Kongo Gumi, one of the oldest companies in the world. The Kongo Gumi company was first established in 578 to build the Shitennoji Temple and have been restoring it ever since. The company also helped build Osaka Castle in the 16th Century.

Who Built the Shitennoji Temple in Japan

Who Built the Shitennoji Temple in Japan

The man who built the Shitennoji Temple in Japan was Prince Shotoku. Prince Shotoku was a renowned Buddhist in Japan when the religion was only starting to gain a foothold in the country.

Prince Shotoku commissioned the Shitennoji Temple from skilled workers that were hand-picked by the prince himself. They decided to start the Kongo Gumi company and have been one of the prominent Buddhist Temple builders in Japan since.

The prince was the son of the 31st Emperor of Japan, Emperor Yomei and served under the 33rd Monarch of Japan, his Aunt. During his time in power, he brought together the first government of Japan and spread Buddhism to the masses.

Prince Shotoku passed away in 622 and was enshrined in a statue of Kannon. This statue is now situated in the Shitennoji Temple pagoda’s Main Hall. The rest of the pagoda can be ascended for a view of Osaka from an observation deck.

Shitennoji Temple Osaka Flea Market

The grounds host the Shitennoji Temple Osaka Flea Market on the 21st and 22nd of every month. The flea market has the biggest range of truly authentic Japanese antiques for affordable prices. While there is a lot to see, the best bargains are snapped up just as the market opens at 8:30 AM.

You’ll be able to pick up anything from old Japanese swords to retro vinyls and outdated stereotyped toys. The market also boasts local Osaka delicacies such as Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki in the stalls between the merchants. It’s a great way to spend a day soaking in the local atmosphere at one of the oldest spots in the country.

Spot information

  • Spot name: Shitennoji Temple
  • Street address: 1-11-18 Shitennoji, Tennoji, Tennoji, Osaka 543-0051
  • Access: A 7-minute walk from Shitennojimae Subway Station Exit 4