I got down at the Osu Kannon Station and walked up the stairs to the Osu Shopping Center. The place was covered in red paint such as the wood on the ceilings and columns and a giant Waving Cat on top of a booth. Since it was too early, around 8 am the stores were barely open and there were few people walking around.
I tried looking for anything historical on the area but didn’t find any. So I followed my GPS and reached the side of the Osu Kannon Temple. The official name was Kitanosan Shinpuku-ji Hōshō-in, popularly known as Ōsu Kannon, where there was a pagoda with a bell enclosed in it. There was also a signage of the temple with the map and probably the history of the temple. Unfortunately, it was written in Japanese so I couldn’t understand any. So here is the history from the net.
“The temple was originally built in about the year 1333 in Ōsu-gō, Nagaoka village, in Owari Province, which is currently known as the city of Hashima in Gifu Prefecture. Construction was sponsored by the Emperor Go-Daigo, who appointed Shōnin Nōshin as the first head priest. Nōshin had a dream of Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion, known as Kannon in Japanese. Hence, the name Ōsu (from Ōsu-gō) Kannon.
Due to repeated flooding, the temple was moved to its present location in 1612 by Tokugawa Ieyasu. In the 1820s, large parts of the temple were destroyed by fire, and after some damage in World War II, the temple was rebuilt in the 1970’s as a modern replica of its original form.”
After that I went to the main entrance and take a picture of the gate and to the main temple. I noticed there were plenty of plum trees around the area and as what I have learned the crest of the ‘plum blossom’ is the symbol of the Tenjin-sama. It has been used as the crest of our temple for this reason. Also beside the main gate was the principal image of Osu kannon, the statue of Kanzeon-bosatsu. It was carved by kobo-daishi who was a priest during the Heian era.
“Kanzeon-bosatsu is commonly called kannon-sama(the goddess of mercy,the salvation goddess). It is the most popularly worshiped Buddhist saint in Japan. People believe that Kannon-sama would grant their wishes. Its facial expression is tender and gentle.
After that Osu kannon Temple expanded its territory to have Ichiman-koku (It is mean that the territory makes the rice of about 1,800 kiloliters)and became a branch temple of 335 Shingon-Buddhism sects. It is said that 428 priests participated in the Buddhist service of one-hundred kaiki, a Buddhist memorial mass.”
There were people walking around and praying in the main temple so I followed behind them. There were plenty of tourists too who were taking pictures so I joined in and asked one of the people there to take a picture of me.
“The main hall has a very large, red paper lantern hanging from the ceiling where worshipers can tie small paper notes with wishes to the holding wires. The large temple has a number of prayer flags at the front and a huge red lantern where worshipers can attach a wish written on a piece of paper. Huge incense burners stand outside the Honden or main hall. The grounds have attracted a large flock of pigeons, kept well-fed by the devout.
The current temple is home to a large collection of books. It houses about 15,000 classic Japanese and Chinese works. Among these is the oldest hand-written copy of the famous Kojiki, which describes the ancient mythological history of Japan. The library also has many other books designated as national treasures and important cultural properties.”
After that I went down and look around the premises, not knowing which was accessible to public or not so I tried to limit my exploring. Ending my brief tour of the temple was a little trivia about its statue.
“The temple’s wooden statue of Kannon – the goddess of mercy – is said to have been carved by Kobo Daishi (aka Kukai) – an important figure in the development of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism.”
Then I went out from the other side of the temple and walked to my next destination. I didn’t learn a lot during my visit from the temple because everything was written in Japanese. But it was still an adventure to see another famous temple of the city.
Osu Shopping District
Later that day Mafe and I came back to Osu and walked around the shopping area and she was a bit disappointed when I told her I already been the temple. So we just looked at the shops and talk. Here is a little history about it.
“The Osu Shopping District has flourished since the Edo period (1603-1868) as commercial streets centered on the gates of Osu Kannon, Banshoji, and other temples. Unlike Sakae, Nagoya’s downtown business district, Osu retains a hint of the ambience of traditional working-class neighborhoods. The area now boasts more than 1,200 businesses, ranging from establishments of very long standing to shops that are brand-new, and is a popular sightseeing destination.”
So that’s it for my adventure in the Osu District. That was all I can say for now for there are more things to see.
Here are the links for more information: