Photo By: MIXTRIBE
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Osaka
Population
8,804,806

Imamiya Ebisu Shrine

Don’t miss out on one of Osaka’s most exciting New Year's festivals at this beloved shrine.

  • Toka Ebisu Festival: Jan. 9 to 11 annually. Main parade is on Jan. 10.
Osaka may be known more for fortified castles and spirited nightlife than tranquil shrines, but luckily it’s the kind of city that has everything. Known locally as Ebessan, Imamiya Ebisu Shrine has endured as an Osaka staple for centuries. It’s also the site of the Toka Ebisu, one of the city’s most colorful festivals in January.

Toka Ebisu Festival at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine in Osaka Japan

Photo by: peter-rabbit Crowds of people flock to the shrine during the Toka Ebisu Festival in January.

The shrine is a peaceful place of worship beloved by Osakans but often overlooked by travelers. It’s just down the road from attractions like Namba Parks and Den Den Town making it an easy and worthwhile spot to add to your itinerary.

Toka Ebisu Festival

If you think all the revelry in Japan dies down after New Year’s, think again! Just one week after busy Japanese New Year celebrations subside comes the vibrant Toka Ebisu Festival.

Toka Ebisu Festival at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine in Osaka Japan

Photo by: KengoHorii The shrine is decorated in all kinds of Ebisu motifs. Buy one for good luck in the new year!

Held annually from Jan. 9 to 11, Toka Ebisu is an exciting tradition celebrating the Shinto deity Ebisu. You may recognize this jolly god of luck from the Yebisu beer logo. He is thought to be especially lucky in the avenues of fishing and business. Imamiya Ebisu Shrine is his home base in Japan thanks to Osaka’s status as a prosperous merchant city.

The major night of celebration during Toka Ebisu is Jan. 10. Over one million people flock to the shrine on this day to pray, party and watch the lively parade procession.

Toka Ebisu Festival at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine in Osaka Japan

Photo by: Tetsushi Kimura Be sure to get a lucky bamboo branch from the shrine’s “lucky daughters!”

People visit the shrine primarily to wish for good luck for the new year, but it’s also worth going just to view the spectacle. People crowd the shrine grounds zealously purchasing fukuzasa (lucky bamboo branches), ofuda (good luck charms) and kiccho (small gifts provided by the shrine).

These goodies can also be acquired from the famous fuku-musume or “lucky daughters” who can be seen wearing tall, golden eboshi hats. The fuku-musume are important shrine representatives during the festival and only 50 women are chosen out of more than 3,000 applicants every year!

Toka Ebisu Festival at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine in Osaka Japan

Photo by: peter-rabbit Get some tasty eats from the street stalls while you’re at it.

Yatai (street stalls) are set up in the shrine and the neighboring streets to fuel the fervor and provide further entertainment. Catch a goldfish, snack on freshly grilled takoyaki and okonomiyaki, or simply walk through and enjoy the exhilarating sounds and smells.

Imamiya Ebisu Then & Now

Imamiya Ebisu was established in what is now the Naniwa Ward of Osaka in 600 C.E. It was constructed as the guardian shrine to Shitenno-ji Temple but eventually became famous on its own for its thriving local market.

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Namba Yasaka Shrine in Osaka
Over time, the god Ebisu became associated more with commerce than fishing thanks to this flourishing marketplace. The market no longer occurs, though popular fish markets such as Kizu and Kuromon remain nearby.

A visit to the shrine on any day outside of the festival will be a quiet one. Wander the grounds and observe the lovely shrine buildings at your own pace, enjoying the calm atmosphere. Though relatively unrecognizable, the peaceful solitude presents its own charm!

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Trivia

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Things To Know

Opening hours

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours are extended until 9 p.m. during the Toka Ebisu Festival. For more information, check the shrine’s official website (in Japanese only).

How To Get There

Address

1-chōme-6-10号 Ebisunishi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka, 556-0003, Japan

By train

Imamiya Ebisu is accessible on foot from Imamiya Ebisu Station on the Nakai Koya Line, Ebisucho Station on the Osaka Metro, and JR Shin Imamiya Station. Alternatively, take the tram on the Hankai Railway to Ebisuchuo Station which is just next to the shrine.

Where To Stay

Apartment in Ebisunishi MHE72
  • Osaka-Shi, Osaka 556-0003
  • 9.6/10
  • 0.0 km
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Apartment in Ebisunishi MHE73
  • Osaka-Shi, Osaka 556-0003
  • 5.8/10
  • 0.0 km
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Apartment in Osaka MHE78
  • Osaka-Shi, Osaka 556-0003
  • 0.0 km
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Apartment in Osaka MHE21
  • Osaka-Shi, Osaka 556-0003
  • 8.5/10
  • 0.0 km
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