Osaka's premier Shintō shrine is without contest the Sumiyoshi Taisha, the head shrine for all the Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan ("Taisha" means "Grand Shrine" ; see also Fushimi Inari Taisha). It was founded by Tamomi no Sukune in 211. Upon its 1800 years of history it is one of the country's oldest institution. The legendary Empress Jingū (c. 169-269 CE) is said to have visited the shrine on her return from Korea and is also enshrined at Sumiyoshi. Her son, Emperor Ojin, was deified as Hachiman, the god of war. Sumiyoshi Taisha is therefore regarded as the head shrine of all Hachiman shrines in Japan as well.
Sumiyoshi used to be a coastal shrine, like Miyajima. It is entirely landlocked nowadays due to the expansion of Osaka harbour through land reclamation. In Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji, the shrine is used as an important stage in some chapters concerning the Akashi Lady. In the folktale "Issun-bōshi" (the Japanese equivalent of "Tom Thumb"), an old couple who had not been blessed with children prayed at Sumiyoshi Taisha.
The shrine has four stations for itself : Sumiyoshi and Sumiyoshi-torii-mae in the Hankai Tramway from Ebisuchō (between Namba and Tennōji), or Sumiyoshi-taisha and Sumiyoshi-kōen on the Nankai Main Line from Tennōji.
Opening Hours & Admission
The shrine is open everyday from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm (from 6:30 from October through March). Admission is free.
How to get there
Sumiyoshitaisha Station is on the Nankai line, a 9 min ride from Namba station. Coming from Osaka station (35-40 min) you will need to change at Namba or Shin-Imamiya Station.