Face your fears at Namba Yasaka Shrine (難波八阪神社), Osaka
Have you been to the bustling street of Namba? Then you’ll know that this is one of Osaka’s main city areas. Famous for its entertainment, dining and shopping options you can expect every day of the week to be fun, busy and bright. We’ll take a trip together through Namba another time but for today I want to take us away from the crowds to go monster hunting.
No, I’m not playing Pokemon.
Instead, I’m looking for the lesser known Namba Yasaka Shrine. Just a short eight-minute walk from Namba station you’ll find this temple tucked away. I love visiting this shrine, not only because it is unique in its features but also because of it is nice and quiet (for the most part).
A welcome break from the nearby crowds!
The Namba Yasaka Shrine was built in 1975 and is one of a kind. Now, everyone will say that the pièce de résistance is the open-mouthed lion-shaped stage. To be honest, to me it looks much more like a monster. A big scary, gobbling monster.
So, you may be wondering why it is a lion?
Well, it is believed that the lion will swallow all of the evil spirits and bring good fortune. In fact, at 12 meters high and 11 meters wide, you’ll feel like it could swallow you up as well.
This temple is particularly popular with students and businessmen alike. You can expect to see students before the exam period queuing up to wish for good results. While businessmen may be asking for a blessing on business ventures and proposals.
Considering that it is such a unique shrine, I am always surprised that there are normally very few tourists around. Whenever I’m attacking (and yes I do mean attacking) Dotonbori Street I always make sure I find time to take a rest at Namba Yaska Shrine.
So, next time you’re in Namba (also known as Minami) head to the Namba Yaska Shrine and get some perfectly scary Inst-shots.
Oh, insider tip, if you’re in the area on the third Sunday of January be sure to witness the shrine’s annual festival. There is a huge, symbolic tug-of-war that takes place. This day represents the myth that the Shrine’s deity once killed a giant snake that was rampaging the area and bought peace to the peace.
I wonder which team will win next year?
Opening hours: 6:00-17:00
Address: 〒556-0016 2-9-19 Motomachi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka City
Admission fee: Free