Uemachidaichi: A Trip to Ancient Osaka
A very long time ago, most of the Osaka City area was covered by sea. The Uemachi Plateau connected to Sumiyoshi from Osaka Castle protruded into the sea like a peninsula. From its north end, numerous islands, large and small, were floating. The Morinomiya-jin, the ancestral roots of Osakans, lived in the Uemachi Plateau. Various items of culture were brought in from mainland China and the Korean peninsula by sea. Back then, Naniwazu was very prosperous as a big base of international trade. The Grand Naniwa Palace was opened, and flourished as the center of Japan. Now stories are quietly sleeping here and there in the Uemachi Plateau covered with greenery. This tour allows you to discover ancient Osaka.
|JR Tamatsukuri Station|
|1.||6 min walk||Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine|
|2.||10min walk||Morinomiya archeological site|
|3.||20 min walk|
|4.||A short walk|
|5.||Get off at Tanimachi 9 chome Station → 5min walk|
|6.||Get off at Shitennoji Yuhigaoka Station → 5min walk|
1. Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine
First start at JR Loop Line Tamatsukuri Station. Go north along Tamatsukuri-suji Street. Take a left in the residential area. There is Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine before Tamatsukuri Elementary School. So many "Tamatsukuri" like tongue twisters, but in fact, there was "Tamatsukuri (beads production) around here in ancient times. The name came from "magatama (kidney shaped bead)". Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine was established in the autumn of B.C. 12. When Prince Shotoku fought against Moriya Mononobe, he placed his army here in Tamatsukuri Oka and prayed for victory. In Toyotomi era, it was worshipped as the guardian of Osaka Castle. A Stone Torii dedicated by Hideyori remains in back of the quiet shrine. There is "Naniwa Tamatsukuri Museum", right of the Torii. Inside the unique building as if ancient space is left only there, ancient beads, original stones and beads collected throughout Japan, history and production process of beads, etc, are introduced and displayed (reservation required for admission). Ancient beads may be sleeping right underneath the ground where you are standing.
2. Morinomiya archeological site
Go down the slope from Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine and walk for about 10 minutes. Go back in time and reach the Jomon Period. Inside Apio-Osaka, B1 of Morinomiya Piloti Hall is the exhibit room of Morinomiya archeological site. According to the survey, people began to live here in Morinomiya in the mid-Jomon period, about 5,000 years ago! Since human bones were discovered in the third survey accompanying the hall construction around 1974-75, human bones of "Morinomiya-jin No.1", stoneware, earthenware, etc, are displayed here. The ancestral roots of Osakans "Morinomiya-jin No.1" is estimated to have been a female in her 30s, about 148cm tall.
3. Naniwa Palace Historical Site Park
Climb up west on the slope of Chuo Odori from Morinomiya Archeological Site, arrive at greenery-filled Naniwa Palace Historical Site Park. Emperor Kotoku transferred the palace to Naniwa at the time of the Taika Reform in 645. He built the grand Naniwa Nagara Toyosakino Miya in this thriving place with an international port Naniwazu. Emperor Shomu built a new palace to revive the burned down Naniwa palace in 726. Foundation of Daigokuden (council hall) of that time is restored in the center to the north of the approx. 90,000m2 Historical Site Park. Do take a break on the stone foundation. If you listen carefully, you may hear the murmur of the ancients.
4. Osaka Museum of History
Diagonally across from the northwest corner of the intersection of the Naniwa Palace Historical Site Park, two tall buildings stand side by side. The one in front is Osaka Museum of History. Inside the 10-story building, Osaka from ancient times to today is depicted by restoration models, computer images, and many other items. Especially magnificent is the restoration of Naniwa Palace Daigokuden on the 10th floor. Among the 70 cm-diameter columns painted in vermilion, life-size officials are lined up to give a feeling of grandness. Guided tour of the excavated archeological site is available underground (6 times a day, first 40 people every time).
|Admission||Adults ￥600, Senior high school and University students ￥400, Junior high school students and under, Osaka residents over 65 years of age, person with notebook for the disabled (including one assistant) free.|
5. Kouzu Gu Shrine
5 minutes walk from No.1 exit of Tanimachi 9 chome Station of Subway Tanimachi Line, the beautiful greenery (cherry blossom is also beautiful in spring) of Kouzu Park is an urban oasis. This place is connected with Naniwa Takatsuno Miya which Emperor Nintoku opened who is said to have learned of the poverty of commoners by the smoke coming up from the cooking stove and saved them. It is also known as the place of classic comic story telling "Takatsu no tomi (Lottery of Takatsu)". Vaudeville theater titled "Kouzu Gu Tei/Kuromon Theater" is cheerfully held every month.
|TEL||06-6762-1122 (Registration: 9:00-16:30)|
A subway ride from Kouzu Gu Station to the next one, Shitennoji mae Yuhigaoka Station. Get off the train, walk the approach for 3-4 minutes andreach the destination of our ancient tour, Shitennoji. It is the oldest temple in Japan, built by Prince Shotoku about 1,400 years ago, in 593. The temple buildings are positioned in "Shitennoji Style", the Middle gate, a 5-storied pagoda, the main hall and lecture hall stand in one line from south to north, surrounded by a corridor. In the sound of ringing bell and sutra-chanting, men and women holding slivers of paper-thin wood with sutras written on them are shrouded in the smoke of incense. Commoners worshipping, unchanged for thousands of years, is still alive here.
|Admission||Center temple Adults ￥300, Senior high school and University students ￥200. Treasure house Adults ￥200, Senior high school and University students ￥100, Main garden Adults ￥300, Senior high school and University students ￥200 (Joint pass Adults ￥700, Senior high school and University students ￥400)|