Photo By: Stephen Kelly
Largest City

Namba Yasaka Shrine

This secret shrine is Osaka in a nutshell.

  • Catch this shrine's festival annually on the 3rd Sunday of January.
While the Namba area is known for many things; eating, drinking, shopping and karaoke to name a few – shrines and temples aren’t exactly at the top of the list. However, explore just a bit beyond the noise and neon and you’ll discover something that’s dazzling in an altogether different way.

A mere 8-minute walk from busy Nankai station, the Namba Yasaka shrine is the home of the Namba’s guardian deity and part of a once flourishing complex of Buddhist temples that were burned down in wartime air raids.

Namba Yasaka is famous for its lion-shaped stage, which stands out as a unique piece of architecture, especially compared with the austere temple beside it. It’s not hard to draw a parallel with Osaka’s kaleidoscopic mix of traditional, retro, modern and futuristic, distilled at this secret shrine smack in the center of the city’s bawdiest entertainment district.

Namba Yakasa Shrine

The shrine buildings of Namba Yasaka are post-war reconstructions. Photo by melanie_ko.

The lion’s head stage was built in 1975 and has a delightfully retro feel, as striking as something you might find in Las Vegas or a theme park. It stands 12 meters tall and 7 meters deep. It’s believed that the huge lion’s mouth swallows evil spirits and thus brings good luck, especially for those looking to do well in school and business. Because of this many people visit the shrine during exam time or the start and end of the financial year.

The 3rd Sunday of January marks the shrine’s annual festival, during which a huge tug-of-war competition is held. This is to simulate the myth that the shrine’s deity once killed a giant snake that brought peace to the people of what is now the Namba area. The ritual is Osaka city’s first designated intangible folk cultural property.

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Things To Know

Opening Hours

6:00 – 17:00. Admission free.

How To Get There


2 Chome-9-11 Motomachi, Naniwa-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 556-0016, Japan

By train

Namba Yakasa is about a 7-minute walk fromDaikokucho Station and an 8-minute walk from Nankai Namba Station.

Where To Stay

Apartment in Naniwa 555143
  • 3 Chome-2-26 Motomachi Naniwa Osaka Osaka Osaka-Shi, Osaka 556-0016
  • 0.0 km
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Apartment in Naniwa 555150
  • 3 Chome-2-26 Motomachi Naniwa Osaka Osaka Osaka-Shi, Osaka 556-0016
  • 0.0 km
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Apartment in Naniwa 555152
  • 3 Chome-2-26 Motomachi Naniwa Osaka Osaka Osaka-Shi, Osaka 556-0016
  • 4.2/10
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Ostay Namba Motomachi Hotel Apartment
  • 浪速区元町3-2-26 Osaka-Shi, Osaka 556-0016
  • 7.8/10
  • 0.0 km
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