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Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Guide to What to Do at Kōzugū Shrine and Kōzu Park

If you plan to visit Dotonbori at night, visit Kōzugū Shrine (高津宮) and Kōzu Park (高津公園) in the late afternoon. The shrine, close to arguably Osaka‘s most famous tourist spot, is next to a renowned plum blossom spot, Kōzu Park. After making your prayer at the shrine, follow the passageway on the shrine’s east leading to the park’s plum grove (高津梅林).

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While in Japanese, refer to the HERE for Kōzugū Shrine Map.

About Kōzugū Shrine

Kōzugū is a shrine that venerates Emperor Nintoku (仁徳天皇). According to Japanese history, Emperor Nintoku was an emperor who ruled Japan in the 4th or the 5th century. Emperor Seiwa (清和天皇) ordered the search for the old capital in Emperor Nintoku’s time. It was determined that the palace was around where the Osaka Castle is, and Kōzugū was erected for Emperor Nintoku close to the palace’s old site.

However, the shrine was relocated to its current location when Toyotomi Hideyoshi constructed Osaka Castle. Moreover, the buildings in the precinct were restored in 1961, as most of the shrine was destroyed during World War II.

Ema-dō (絵馬堂) in Kōzugū Shrine was known as the best spot in Osaka to overlook the Namba’s cityscape. So, it has been a bustling cultural center for centuries. Many Japanese poems and Rakugo events were held here. As the building is atop the hill, you will need to climb up one of the four slopes in the precinct to get there.

The Matchmaking Slope at Kōzugū Shrine

Ⓒ photo-ac.com

The small hill on the shrine’s west is called Aiaizaka (相合坂). It is a popular spot for couples. It is said that if the man climbs up from the south and the woman heads up from the north, and if they arrive at the top at the same time, they are a good match. This is why the hill also has a nickname, Enmusubi no Saka (縁結びの坂), which means matchmaking slope.

Don’t underestimate this small ritual. Kōzugū has held many Enmusubi Party (縁結びパーティー). On average, one out of every four participants became a couple, and most of these couples got married afterwards!

The slope on the northwest was known as the Enkiri-zaka (縁切り坂). Locals would walk down the hill to pray to break off a relationship. So, those who were in an unhappy relationship would also visit Kōzugū.

How to Pray for a Good Relationship at Kōzugū

  1. After greeting the god at the Haiden Hall (拝殿), make a prayer.
  2. Walking down the Enkiri-zaka at the worship hall’s northwest. It is marked by a stone torii gate. By doing so, god would help you end the bad relationships and purify your mind.
  3. Once you reach the bottom of the Enkiri-zaka, another set of staircases are in front of you. If you are female, climb up the stairs. But, if you are male, please use the stairs at the other end and climb up from the south.
  4. Head back to the Haiden Hall and show your appreciation to the gods.

The Plum and Cherry Blossoms at Kōzu Park

In the north half of Kōzu Park, around 200 plums of 22 verities usually bloom from late February to early March. You will also find around 100 cherry blossoms blooming between late March and early April.

Tip: The plum blossoms at Kōzu Park bloom later than other parts of Osaka city because the trees are mostly in the shade during the day.

On the 11th of February each year, the Kenbaisai Ritual (献梅祭) is held. Plum blossoms, plum-flavored traditional confectionery and tea are offered to the gods. The tea and the confectioneries are distributed to pilgrims after the ritual. Thus, visit Kōzugū on the day if you are in Osaka!

The Kenbaisai is a ritual related to Emperor Nintoku. When he ascended the throne, it is said that Dr. Wanin (王仁博士) from China offered a waka poem and plum blossoms to celebrate the event.

While unrelated to the plum blossoms, if you visit Kōzugū on the 23rd of February, you can witness the Tekisai (併的祭) ritual. It is a ritual related to the current Japanese emperor, Naruhito (徳仁).

It is a tradition that the Japanese crown prince is named after a virtuous person. When Naruhito was born, he was named after Emperor Nintoku. So, Kōzugū celebrates His Majesty’s birth on the 23rd of February every year to pray for his good health. Traditional archery is a part of the ritual.

Kōzugū Shrine’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Kōzugū’s shrine office is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • The shrine is a 5-minute walk from Osaka Metro’s Tanimachi Kyūchō-me Station (谷町九丁目駅) exit no. 2.

Other Must-Visit Plum Blossom Spots in Osaka

Kozen-Park-Plum-Blossom-Sakai-Osaka-Japan
Click the photo for more ideas of where to adore the plum blossoms in Osaka!

If you are in the Kansai region from February to early March, there are several more spots in Osaka Prefecture where you can adore the gorgeous plum blossoms and the flowers’ elegant scent. So, refer to our Guide to the Plum Blossom Spots in Osaka and add some of the spots mentioned there to your itinerary!

A couple of hidden gems are also included so you can avoid crowds!

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