Shitennoji and Isshinji temples are located in the Tennoji district of the Japanese city of Osaka. They are two Buddhist temples, but the differences between the two cannot be greater. Therefore, our recommendation is to visit both in the same morning. So you can appreciate their differences and the personality of each one of them.
Shitennoji Temple, among the oldest in Japan
The Shitennoji temple is not only one of the oldest in Japan, at least as far as the Buddhist religion is concerned. Further, it is the first that of that religion was built with the impulse of the emperor.
And is that this Shitennoji temple dates from the sixth century and it was a work promoted by Prince Shotoku Taishi. In this way, Buddhism was given an official character.
The walk through the Shitennoji templeShitennoji Temple
As usual in many other Japanese temples, the buildings have suffered attacks, fires and destruction over the years. And even more so those that are as old as this Shitennoji temple, which has more than 1400 years of history.
But nevertheless, after each one of those destructions they rise again. And it is done scrupulously following its original appearance. That is part of the spiritual magic of this country.
In this way, the sacred enclosure of the Shitennoji temple maintains the original structure. In it, the main buildings are a first pavilion called Kodo, a second one called Kondo and a five-story pagoda. This, as a singular fact in the case of this temple, is visitable.
This pagoda is supposed to serve to safeguard Buddha's relics They have been lost. Actually, Buddha is omnipresent in the whole Shitennoji set. In the Kodo we see it in the form of sculptures. Meanwhile, in Kondo we are told about his life with wall paintings.
The gardenTemple Gardens - Mith Huang / Flickr.com
The tour of the Shitennoji temple ends in the area of his garden, Jodo-Gokuraku. It is a small paradise in the metropolis of Osaka. Here we are waiting for a pond with lotus flowers, a stone garden, the ocher tones of the arches or the cherry trees that mark the beginning of spring with its flowering, the famous sakura.
Anyway, It is a delicacy that you can taste with calm and also with respect, since we are in a sacred space, one of the first Buddhist temples in Japan. In fact, the prince who promoted its construction ended up canonized by that work of establishing this religion in the country.
Isshinji Temple, much more modern
All the aura of antiquity and legend that is breathed in the Shitennoji temple becomes modernity in Isshinji's. Something that already shows in the main access door. And, although it is true that this sanctuary originated in the twelfth century, the truth is that the most interesting of the enclosure refers us to much closer times.
Sculptures of human remainsIsshinji Temple
The most characteristic of the temple are its 14 Buddha sculptures made with the remains of deceased Buddhists. Now we explain it. It is said that it was always a place where the remains of the faithful were taken, but that in the mid-19th century a famous local actor was buried in this place.
After that, many other people wanted to rest here forever. And it ended up creating an important space problem. So a solution was sought. The thousands of urns with human remains they took advantage in the form of ash and resin to create a statue of Buddha.
That is the origin of the Okotsubutsu of this temple As we say, there are currently 14, since a statue is made every 10 years. For this, the ashes of more than 150,000 people are used.
A most relaxing experience in Osaka
As we say, using a morning to approach the Tennoji district and visit the temples of Shitennoji and Isshinji is a highly recommended activity during a trip to Osaka. It is a magnificent opportunity to know part of the history of this town and also his spirituality and his most ancestral traditions.