Officially called Kitanosan Shinpuku-ji Hōshō-in (北野山真福寺宝生院), Ōsu Kannon (大須観音) is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect located in Naka Ward, central Nagoya. It was originally constructed in the early 14th century by order of Emperor Go-Daigo (後醍醐天皇 Go-Daigo-tennō, 1288-1339) in the village of Ōsu-gō, Nagaoka in Owari Province, modern-day Hashima in Gifu Prefecture. Its shrine was dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, venerated as the patron saint of scholarship and education.
Initially, the temple was located between the Kiso and the Nagara rivers. As one river bank had been constructed slightly lower than the other for strategic reasons, the temple precinct was flooded several times in the early 17th century. As the temple contained invaluable Buddhist works and books, Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered it to be relocated to its present location in Nagoya in 1612. The pagoda, the living quarters of the monks and the main building were almost completely destroyed by fire in the Meiji era, so the current temple buildings are all reconstructions from the 20th century. The vermillion-covered main temple was restored in 1970.
The temple houses a statue of Kanzeon Bosatsu (観世音菩薩, Merciful Goddess) carved by Kōbō-Daishi (弘法大師), the founder of the Shingon sect, as well as the Shinpukuji Library which is said to hold over 15,000 famous Japanese and Chinese works on Buddhism, among these the oldest hand-written copy of the Kojiki, describing the ancient mythological history of Japan.
Twice a month, on each 18th and 28th, Osu Temple is the venue of a flea market with over sixty stalls selling antiques and souvenirs. The Osu Shopping Arcade nearby is a popular shopping area in Nagoya, where tourists can experience local food. Also literally around the corner is Banshō-ji (万松寺), a small Sōtō Buddhist temple built by Oda Nobuhide, the father of Oda Nobunaga, in the then village of Nagoya in 1540.
Location and access:
2-21-47 Ōsu, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 460-0011, phone: 052-231-6525
You can reach Ōsu Temple via Ōsu Kannon Station (Nagoya Municipal Subway Tsurumai Line).
- Ōsu Kannon Official Website (in Japanese)
- Ōsu Kannon (in English and Japanese)
- Banshō-ji Official Website (Japanese)