Golden Week Day 1: OSAKA
Nearest station: Shitennoji-mae-Yuhigaoka station
admission: Y 300 (main Garan only), Y 700 (combo ticket)
Built in 593 AD, Shitenno-ji is the oldest Imperial temple in Japan. Shitenno refers to the four Buddhist Heavenly Kings. The temple is said to be built as Prince Shotoku’s thanksgiving for helping him defeat the Mononobe clan. The temple grounds have actually been reconstructed several times. In spite of this, the different structures in the temple complex still reflect the original Buddhist architectural style of its time.
I arrived so early (I had to wait for a couple of minutes before they could let me in), that the vendors selling different goods (from food to used books) were still busy setting up their stalls at the entrance. I also found it difficult to have my picture taken because there was no one else there. But I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way. Exploring the temple grounds in solitude really refreshed my mind.
The complex consists of the Gojunoto (5-story pagoda), Kondo (Golden Hall), a turtle pond, Roku-ji do(Worship hall), and the garden of Gokuraku-jodo (which represents the Buddhist paradise). There is also a treasure hall that houses ancient works of art, but I wasn’t able to visit it anymore.