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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Wanna see an epic tug of war?
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!