Photo By: m-louis
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Osaka
Population
8,804,806

Tenma

A neighborhood where Osaka’s lively personality is always on full display.

By day an energetic shopping district and by night a backstreet maze of quirky bars, Tenma is a lively Osaka neighborhood steeped in history. Get to know an authentic side of the city in this neighborhood known for a historical shrine, massive annual festival, and one-of-a-kind nightlife.

Osaka Tenmangu Shrine and Tenjin Matsuri

Tenma gets its name from a thousand-year-old shrine called Osaka Tenmangu, the heart of the bustling district. Osaka Tenmangu was founded in 949 for the deity of scholarship, Sugawara Michizane. Also known as Tenjin, Sugawara was a Heian era (794-1185 AD) scholar, poet, and politician. Shrines around Japan are dedicated to his legacy, but Osaka Tenmangu is his headquarters. Students often venture here to pray for good grades on their exams. The shrine is a peaceful and relaxing place to pray or enjoy the plum and cherry flowers blossoming every spring.

Photo by: シュウ Osaka Tenmangu Shrine is beautiful in all seasons.

However, things get crazy once a year during the Tenjin Festival. The festival, celebrated annually on July 24 and 25, commemorates Tenjin, whose spirit is paraded around Tenma in a mikoshi (portable shrine). On day one, religious ceremonies are held at the shrine. Marching bands, fireworks, and a massive boat procession on the second day bring together spectators from around the nation. The festival draws hundreds of thousands, making it Osaka’s largest festival and one of the top three in all of Japan.

The Tenjin Festival mikoshi

Photo by: Chi (In Oz) The Tenjin Festival is one of the top three festivals in Japan!

Endless shopping at Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street

In the 17th century, a small fruit and vegetable market was established to serve travelers making the pilgrimage to the ancient shrine. This became Tenjinbashisuji, a thriving shopping center which now claims to be the longest shotengai (covered shopping street) in Japan. The 2.6 km (1.6 miles) stretch of shops is known for insanely good bargains. Mainly local businesses catering to residents line the road, making the vibe more old-fashioned than glitzy tourist traps like Namba and Shinsaibashi. Buy or rent a cheap kimono, test your haggling skills over unique souvenirs, or simply grab some street food and snack while you stroll, taking it all in.

Tenma after dark

Photo by: m-louis Eat like a local at Ura Tenma’s hole-in-the-wall joints.

At night, the nondescript back alleys near Tenma station become an exciting bar-filled labyrinth known as Ura-Tenma. The area directly outside the station’s north exit is populated with hole-in-the-wall eateries brimming with character. Tiny yakiniku, sushi, and tempura restaurants thrive next to dive bars with standing room only. Osaka’s salarymen and women flock here after work, making it a great place to eat like a local. Meander the winding, lantern-lit streets and pop into any spot that sparks your interest.

Kansai Rainbow Festa and more

Kansai Rainbow festa

Photo by: HOTEL GRANVIA KYOTO Rainbow goodies from the 2017 event.

Adjacent to Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street, the interactive exhibits at the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living transport visitors back to the Edo era (1603-1867) with a life-size recreation of what Tenma looked like 200 years ago.

Though not Osaka’s most well-known, Ogimachi Park is spacious and full of cherry blossoms in spring. In October, the park hosts the Kansai Rainbow Festa, the city’s annual LGBT pride celebration.

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Things To Know

Hours and Fees

Osaka Tenmangu is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Shops on Tenjinbashi-suji have varying operating hours, but it’s typically lively between 10 am and 9 pm.

How To Get There

Address

4-chōme-4-20 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka, 530-0041, Japan

By train

Tenma is easily accessible via JR Tenma Station on the Osaka Loop Line. It exits directly onto Tenjinbashi-suji. Tenjimbashi-suji Rokuchome station also provides access to the neighborhood via the Tanimachi, Sakisuji, and Hankyu-senri Lines.

The stations closest to Osaka Tenmangu Shrine are Minami-morimachi station on the Tanimachi and Sakaisuji Lines and Osaka Temmangu station on the JR Tozai Line.

By foot

Tenma is about a 20-minute walk east of Osaka station.

Where To Stay

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