Shitenno-ji Temple, Osaka

Shitenno-ji is located in Osaka, Japan. It is the first Buddhist temple to be built by the state, specifically under the direction of Prince Shotoku. The Prince had a significant hand in promoting Buddhism in Japan during the 6th Century. The architecture is similar to Nara’s Horyuji Temple with a main gate, lecture hall, five-story pagoda, golden hall, and other structures. Unlike Horyuji, which holds the world’s oldest wooden building, Shitenno-ji has been rebuilt several times. Still, the grounds are an interesting and historic diversion if you are visiting Osaka or the Kansai region. The outer grounds are free, but there is a small fee for entry to the interior grounds. Here’s a few pictures from a trip I took there.

Here’s the outer view of Shitenno-ji with a stone Torii Gate marking the boundary.

Past the gate is the statue of a monk. I’m not sure, but I think it is a blind monk. Many old Japanese stories tell of the blind surviving as wandering monks and beggars, often in similar clothing.

Like most Japanese temples, Shitenno-ji also has a large gate guarding the approach to the inner garan. This is teh West Gate or Sei-Mon gate.


As with Nara’s Todai-ji Temple, two Nio guardian statues protect the temple grounds. On the left is Agyo with his mouth open, and Ungyo on the right. These two statues are actually to the south and are enclosed in the Inner Gate which you can see here.

Past this gate there is an open area that leads around the garan, the main temple. To enter past the small gate and see the inner grounds, you have to pay a small fee.

I’ll have the second half of this post ready to go for you on Friday, till then, see if you can guess what I found lurking on the Temple grounds. Here’s a hint:

Guess correctly (you have to be specific!) in the comments by Friday and I’ll send you a full-res photo with permission to use it for non-monetary purposes via email.

Be sure to checkout Part Two of my photo tour!