A spiritual adventure hidden in Osaka's mountainside
Inunakisan is a temple reserved for travelers who don’t mind trading that brief “intruder” feeling for the chance to see a hidden world.
Navigating your way to the buddhist temple is somewhat difficult, as it is located about halfway up Mt. Inunaki in Osaka. But, with the twisting overgrown path to its entrance, Inunakisan has an ancient, secretive appeal. Just one step inside soon reveals why.
Bustling monks shuffle past and the air seems like a living presence, as it reverberates with the sound of rhythmic chanting over the loudspeaker. The temple, which has no admission fee, is still active and outsiders are welcome to visit, as long as they don’t get in the way.
Travelers will find a significant amount of the temple covered in no-entry and no-recording warning signs. But it still feels like entering into a monk’s home, and that is part of its authentic charm.
One of the main attractions, a nearby waterfall, can only be viewed from a distance but for a good reason. That’s because the water is used in rituals by the monks, so visitors are kept as far back as possible. Even so, travelers can still get some good photos of the fall.
That being said, there are still plenty of parts of the temple that you can go right up to.
For example, near the entry, visitors can explore the large statues of the protective entity Mizuko Jizo. The origins of this particular statue are rather dark and forlorn. The statue is said to look after the souls of prematurely deceased babies to help them if they should end up in hell.
About the location
The full name of the temple complex is Inunakisan-Shipporyuji. It is basically the same temple, but the area with the sacred waterfall is called Shipporyujihondou (七宝瀧寺本堂), meaning the “main hall” of Shipporyuji. This info should help when researching how to get there.
Another seasonal plus is that the hiking course on Mt. Inunaki is also a famous spot to see fall colors. Visiting this sanctuary is a spiritual adventure, full of enchanting statues and scenery.