When you visit Osaka, make sure to stop by this shrine for an amazing photo opportunity!

Osaka may not have as many cultural and historical gems as Kyoto, but it still has some pretty cool attractions for tourists. There’s Osaka Castle and Universal Studios Japan, and soon there’s even going to be a hot springs theme park! Osaka is no stranger to good cuisine either; between takoyaki, okonomiyaki, steamed pork buns, and this two-foot tall parfait, you’ll probably never go hungry there.

But aside from all of the big-name tourist stops, there are also some little-known places that are also worth checking out, like Nambayasaka Shrine. It’s got a giant lion’s head that beckons you with its gaping, toothy mouth! Osaka residents just think of it as a normal, everyday thing, and tourists don’t really seem to know about it, so it’s a quiet hidden gem in Osaka!

Nambayasaka Shrine is in a pretty good location, just a six-minute walk from Namba Station on the Yotsubashi Line and the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line. The path from the station takes you around to the back entrance of the shrine, and when you get there you’ll probably stop, wordless in the street, because the giant lion’s head will be glaring at you from inside the gates.

Even if you’re expecting to see it, you can’t help but be a little taken aback when you do. It is just so big, at 12 meters (39 feet) tall, 11 meters (36 feet) across, and 10 meters (32 feet) deep. The inside is a stage, which is used for dances during festivals and other events. Unexpectedly, there are even speakers in the nostrils!

The large, roaring mouth of the lion is said to invite victory and eat evil spirits, so praying at Nambayasaka Shrine can bring you good fortune in school and work, such as passing exams and having success in business.

The main shrine building is also worth noting. It’s unknown how old the building is, but it seems like it was built in reverence to the Namba area’s residential god, Ubusuna-gami, who has been protecting Namba for a long time.

It is also known to have once been a shrine for the angry-looking Gozu Tenno, the god who is enshrined at Kyoto’s famous Yasaka Shrine, so it has been widely respected, and widely feared, over the years. Because this shrine is precious to many people, including the locals, it is well-maintained; the grounds are very clean, and the buildings are in good condition.

It’s also a very quiet and calm place. We couldn’t hear any of the usual hustle and bustle of the nearby Namba area, which was really surprising. We had no idea that such a peaceful location existed so close to Namba Station!

If you have some extra time in Osaka, especially if you’ve already tried the Okonomiyaki burrito at the Namba branch of Taco Bell (which we just tried ourselves, and highly recommend), consider stopping by Nambayasaka Shrine! There could be a festival happening when you go, and it would definitely be worth popping in to see if you can catch a show in the lion’s mouth.

Images ©SoraNews24
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