As it has always maintained a strong connection with the Osaka development both historically and geographically, the Higashinari Ward is a residential area rich of historic spots and cultural sites. Throughout the ward there are indeed many small-size temples and shrines that, even though they are not a popular tourist attraction, have a special bond with people residing in the area.
The east part of the ward, next to Higashi Osaka, is famous for its manufacture industry. This began formerly with the production of sugegasa or Asian conical hat during the Nara period (710 – 794 CE) and continued with the diffusion of foundries during the Edo period (1603 – 1868 CE). During Meiji (1868 – 1912 CE) and Taisho (1912 – 1926 CE) periods the establishment of many factories made the Higashinari Ward develop as one of the Osaka most representative industrial areas.
- Himekoso Shrine – 3-8-14 Higashiobase, Higashinari-ku
The shrine is dedicated to a important god (Engishiki Daimyoujin Taisha) and is listed in the engishiki book of shrine names. Four gods are worshipped, including Shitateruhime no Mikoto. The origin of the shrine is very old as Shitateruhime no Mikoto was worshipped on Akume Mountain in 28BC. In 607, when the figure of the god was moved to the main shrine, the Emperor honored the ceremony with his presence. In 859, the rank of the shrine was raised. Due to the fires of the Battle of Ishiyama in 1570, the shrine moved to its current location. It houses the guardian deity of the old Kohashi Village, and owns many cultural assets.
- Yasaka Shrine – 4-8-20 Nakamichi, Higashinari-ku
This shrine houses the guardian deity of old Nakamichi Village, dedicated to Susanoo no Mikoto. It originated when Fujiwara no Michinaga established a second house in this place and worshipped here. They say that local people rebuilt the main hall of the shrine in 1166 and moved it to its current location in 1584. The original name of the shrine was Gozutenno Hakusangongen, but it was changed to Yasaka Shrine in 1872.
- Hachioji Shrine – 4-2-48 Nakamoto, Higashinari-ku
Enshrining the guardian deity of old Honjo Village, this shrine is dedicated to four gods, including Hachioji Ookami. The shrine is said to have been created in the third year of Emperor Ojin’s reign (around 4th century), and Emperor Kotoku (early 7th century) presented it with a pair of stone guardian dogs. It was known as Hachioji Inari Shrine, or “Tsubaki no gu” (the camellia shrine). In 1872, its name was changed to Kudara Shrine. In 1909, it incorporated Yatsurugi Shrine, which housed the guardian deity of old Nishiimazato Village, and became Hachioji Shrine.
- Kumanodai Shrine – 4-16-48 Oimazato, Higashinari-ku
Home of the guardian deities of old Oimazato Village and dedicated to two gods, including Izanagi no Mikoto, this shrine is said to have originated in 587. At the time of the Battle of Ishiyama (1570), fires destroyed the shrine, but it was rebuilt and since the Genna Era (early 17th century), the shrine was customarily visited by castellans for Osaka Castle when they were inaugurated and inspected their territory. It was formerly called Kumanogongen, but in 1872, the current name was instituted. In 1911, it incorporated Yatsurugi Shrine, with the guardian deity of old Higashi-imazato Village.
- Fukaeinari Shrine – 3-16-17 Fukaeminami, Higashinari-ku
This is the guardian shrine of old Fukae Village, dedicated to three gods, including Uga no Mitama no Kami. It is said to have been created in the early 8th century and Toyotomi Hideyori is believed to have remodeled the shrine pavilions in 1603.
- Myoho Temple and Keichu Relics – 4-16-50 Oimazato, Higashinari-ku
This temple is said to have been founded by Shotoku Taishi (574-622). The precincts of Myoho Temple were designated as a cultural property of Osaka Prefecture in 1949. Keichu, the founder of the study of ancient Japanese thought and culture, was a resident priest of Myoho Temple for 11 years from 1679 to 1690 and exerted himself in his studies. His father was Shimokawa Zenbei Motokane, who served the then feudal lord of Amagasaki, Aoyama Taizo Kosuke Yukimasa with 250 koku (a unit of measurement of capacity used in former days) stipend. Keichu was born in 1640 as the third child of his family in Amagasaki. When he was 11, he entered the priesthood and later studied at Mount Koya. After he became the resident priest at Myoho Temple, he devoted himself to study of ancient Japanese thought and culture. Included among his writings were the well-known “Manyo Daisho-ki” (commentary to “Manyo-shu,” the oldest collection of waka poems in Japan), commissioned by Tokugawa Mitsukuni, then feudal lord of Mito clan, and many other texts.
In 1690, after his mother’s death at the temple, Keichu moved to Enjuan in current Esashimachi in Tennoji-ku and died at the age of 62 in 1701. Myoho Temple temporarily declined around Horeki Era (1751), but after Hakuchu Hoten took the position of the resident priest, he advocated the faith of Daikokuten (the god of wealth) to improve the tide of the times. It was widely known, as demonstrated by the saying, “In the south, there is Ebisu God in Imamiya, and in the east, there is Daikoku God in Imazato” and many people visited there.
In the precincts of Myoho Temple, there is a tower erected for the repose of Keichu, and his mother’s tomb.
- Homyo Temple and Ganzuka – 3-16-28 Fukaeminami, Higashinari-ku
Homyo Temple was created in 1318 by the holy priest Homyo, who revived the Yuzu Dainenbutsu (invocation to Buddha) Sect. The well known two stone pagodas called “Ganzuka” stand in the precincts of Homyo Temple. One is marked with the year 1262 and the other with 1339. There is a legend related to these pagodas. Once upon a time, the archery master Kiyohara Keibunojo Masaji went hunting with his men, but unfortunately, they did not have any luck. On the way back, they saw a group of wild geese and shot the one in the front. Mysteriously, the head of the goose was missing. They looked around, but could not find it. Next winter, they shot a female goose. Under her wing was the dry head of the male goose. When the priest Homyo heard this story, he was so deeply impressed by the love of this pair of geese that he made a pair of four-story pagodas to pray for them. This, they say, is the origin of Ganzuka.
Other tourist attractions
- Nobeha no Yu Tsuruhashi Hot Springs Onsen – 3-13-41 Tamatsu, Higashinari-ku
Located within walking distance from JR Tsuruhashi Station and about 20 minutes by foot from the Hostel Taichi House, the Nobeha no Yu Onsen is well-maintained bath house perfect for relaxing after a long day of walking throughout the city.
- Ikuno Korea Town
Just outside of JR Tsuruhashi Station there is the largest Korean town in Japan, also known as Little Seoul. Here you can find shops selling all possible Korean goods, ranging from fresh fruit and food dishes to Korean skin care products.
Tsuruhashi, in Ikuno-ku, is well known for its massive Korean population. Korean expats, Zainichi Koreans, and Japanese citizens of Korean descent have made Tsuruhashi their home. The residents hail from all over the Korean peninsula from many different eras.