Established in 593, Shitennōji is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan. As is often the case with historical buildings in Japan, most of the present-day buildings are modern concrete reconstructions.
The oldest part of the temple is the stone torii gate, which hasn't changed since 1294 and is the oldest of its kind in Japan. The irony is that torii gates are an element normally exclusive to Shintō shrines, not in Buddhist temples, so the oldest part of the temples comes from another religion. This gives Shitennōji an unusual hybrid character.
Opening Hours & Admission
The temple is open everyday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm (until 4:30 pm from October through March). Admission is ¥300. The Gokuraku-jodo garden and treasure house have the same opening hours, but with frequent closing days. Admission to each is respectively ¥300 and ¥500.
How to get there
Tennōji Park, adjacent to the temple, is the main green area in central Osaka. It is home to the Tennōji Zoological Gardens and the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art.
Access to Tennōji is untroublesome thanks to the abundance of metro/subway stations surrounding it. The nearest are Tennōji, Dōbutsuenmae; Imamiyaebisu and Teradachō. It is at walking distance from the Namba district and Nipponbashi.