Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nagoya : Osu Kannon Temple and Shopping Arcade

A tour of Nagoya is considered incomplete without a visit to Osu. Any local will recommend a visit to Osu, the reason being, Osu is to Nagoya what Harajuku and Akihabara are to Tokyo.
Osu Kannon Temple is a popular Buddhist temple located in central Nagoya. The temple was originally built in the Kamakura period and was located in Osu Village, Mino region of the neighbouring Gifu prefecture. It was relocated in the year 1612 to its current location by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. The reason cited behind the relocation is that the old location was prone to repeated floods and the temple was destroyed on several occasions. It also suffered great damage in a fire and all that prompted the temple's relocation to Nagoya. 
The current buildings of the temple are a 20th century reconstruction. 
The main deity of the temple is Kannon-sama, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. 
The deity's wooden statue was carved by Kobo Daishi.
Below the main hall is located the Shinpukuji Library where Japanese and Chinese texts of Buddhism are kept. 
The temple is also popular among the locals for the traditional "Hatsumode", the year's first visit to a temple or shrine as part of the New year customs

Visitors also purchase an "Omamori", a good luck charm or an "Omikuji", a written oracle which predicts what the year ahead would turn out like. 

On the 18th and 28th of every month, a flea market is held on the temple ground. Bargain hunters can find souvenirs, antiques, clothes and used stuff. 

Entrance fees: Free

Closing days: Open 365 days.

Address: Nagoya, Naka-ku, Osu 2 chome, 21-47

Phone: 052-231-6525

Parking : Paid parking lots are available in the Osu area. 

Just outside the Osu Kannon temple is a "Karakuri Ningyo" a mechanical doll show that is held at specific times during the day. 
Karakuri Ningyo or mechanical dolls were introduced in Nagoya and there are few other such displays around Nagoya. 

Beside the Osu Kannon temple is the entrance to the covered shopping streets that comprise the Osu Shopping Arcade, Nagoya's answer to Akihabara ! 
More than 400 stores in this shopping arcade sell electronics (duty-free shops included), cosplay, anime and idol goods, clothes, accessories and souvenirs. A number of restaurants and food joints are also part of this shopping arcade. 
On weekends, locals especially youngsters and foreigners living in Nagoya visit this area to eat as a variety of cuisines including Brazilian, Italian, Japanese, Thai, Turkish and middle Eastern food are available here. The Shopping area can be crowded on weekends and holidays. The area is best visited on a weekday morning !

A popular meeting spot in the Osu Shopping arcade is the Fureai Plaza, where a Beckoning Cat image welcomes visitors to Osu area. 
There are few other smaller shrines and temples in the area surrounding the Osu Kannon temple and Shopping arcade. One of them is the Fuji Sengen Shrine which dates back to the 15th century. 

The other is a small shrine dedicated to Migawari Fudo. 
Colourful lanterns around this shrine give it a serene atmosphere.

Osu Kannon temple is a short walk from the Osu Kannon Station on the Tsurumai Subway Line. Alternatively Kamimaezu Station on the Tsurumai and Meijo Subway Line can also be used to access the temple, but this is a 5-10 minute walk through the shopping arcade.

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