Osaka's Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of Japan's oldest shrine... - Secret World

1 Chome-3 Nakanoshima, Kita, Kita, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0005, Giappone

by Clarissa Burt


Osaka's Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of Japan's oldest shrines. Founded in the 3rd century before the introduction of Buddhism,it displays a unique style of shrine architecture,called Sumiyoshi-zukuri,that is free of influence from the Asian mainland.Only 2 other shrine architecture styles are also considered purely Japanese: Shinmei-zukuri as seen at the Ise Shrines and Taisha-zukuri as seen at Izumo Taisha.Sumiyoshi-zukuri is characterized by straight roofs (as opposed to the curved roofs commonly built in later centuries) which are decorated by two sets of forked finials (chigi) and five horizontal billets (katsuogi).Furthermore, buildings constructed in Sumiyoshi-zukuri style have their entrance under the gable and are surrounded by a fence.It is the main and most famous of over two thousand Sumiyoshi shrines found across Japan. Sumiyoshi shrines enshrine the kami (Shinto gods) who protect travelers, fishermen and sailors at sea. The shrines are therefore usually found close to harbors.