Names in this site follow the Japanese custom of family name first.

August 1, 2011

Temples: Taiyuji (Osaka)

Taiyuji is located east of Osaka Station, close to the busy Kita downtown area. It stands hemmed in by hotels and offices. The wall that encircles the temple is of little help, for the high-rises dominate the scene.

[Taiyuji, Osaka. Photo Ad Blankestijn]

That obscures the fact that we are talking about a temple of an ancient founding: set up at the behest the Emperor Saga (r. 809-823), enlarged by the emperor's son Minamoto no Toru (822-895), and during long centuries favored by aristocrats and military leaders.

Minamoto no Toru is the origin of the temple name (bestowed by Emperor Seiwa, 858-876), for the "yu" in "Taiyu" is another pronunciation of the character with which "Toru" is written (and "Tai" means "Large").

The temple belongs to the Koya Shingon denomination. According to legend it was even founded by Kukai, who traveled here when the area was covered by thick woods. The saint found a sacred tree and carved images of Jizo and Bishamon for which he set up a humble building. This establshment was then later enlarged by Minamoto no Toru who realized this was a holy place when he passed here.

[Kannon Statue, Taiyuji, Osaka. Photo Ad Blankestijn]

The temple was visited by the Emperor Gotoba; Ashikaga Takauji donated lands in 1334, as did the Emperor Godaigo in 1336. Later the temple fell into ruin, and its restoration is as recent as the Meiji-period.

In the temple grounds stands a stone pagoda that is said to be the grave of the Lady Yodo (the concubine of Hideyoshi). We also find a haiku stone here with a poem by Basho.