If someone mentions Osaka there are plenty of favorite classic attractions that come to mind such as Osaka Castle, Doutonbori, Nipponbashi, Osaka Tower or Tempozan with it’s giant Ferris wheel and aquarium.
However what about those places that are off the well worn tourist circuit? The kind of places that don’t make it into Lonely Planet or the top tourist websites.
Fear not as this series will cover many of those places so be sure to note them down for your next visit.
A lot of these places are just as good if not better than the well known hot spots and also you wont be elbowing your way through a mosh pit of camera wielding punters to find yourself at the end of a line that seemingly has no beginning.
Sitting south west of Namba station in the heart of Osaka is Namba Yasaka shine. It is fairly hidden in some backstreets of a quiet unassuming neighborhood that wouldn’t be found unless you’re looking for it.
Yasaka Shrine is visually impressive at first glance owing to the fact that one structure stares back at you in the form of a giant lions head. However it also has a rich and interesting history.
The shrine is said to have been established around the 5th century. The story goes that there was a rampant disease spreading through the Namba district around that time and thus the deity of curing diseases Gozu Tennou was enshrined here to protect the citizens of Namba.
There have been more deity’s enshrined here over time one of which is said to have killed a large very large eight headed and eight legged snake, so the shrine now also acts to help business and ensure a happy married life on top of preventing diseases.
The shrine has been renovated many times over it’s life however it was the bombing of Osaka during WWII that cause the whole shrine and surrounding buildings to burn down. The current standing version was built in 1974.
On the 3rd Sunday of January the shrines annual festival is held which culminates in a tug of war competition.