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last update: March 20, 2022
Tennoji (天王寺) is located a few kilometers south of the lively central area of Namba, and is home to a major railway station (Tennoji station), around which there is one of the poorest areas of Osaka. The area has been recently renovated with the construction of several modern shopping centers, in contrast with the old amusement neighborhood of Shinsekai and with one of the largest red light districts in all of Japan, Tobita Shinchi, both located nearby.

Things to do and things to see in Tennoji

In recent years around the station Tennoji some large shopping centers have been opened, one after the other: Mio Tennoji, Abeno Cues Town, the underground mall Abechika, and above all the huge complex called Abeno Harukas. Next to Tennoji Station, to the west (east of Shinsekai), there is a large park, which can be crossed for free, but the two main areas have an entrance fee, Tennoji Park and Tennoji Zoo. This park, as well as the entire area, is a place of stay of several homeless people.
abeno harukas skyscraper

Abeno Harukas

A recent complex opened in 2014 within a broader recovery project of the whole area, with a height of 300 meters, the Abeno Harukas is currently the tallest building in Japan (the former one was the Landmark Tower in Yokohama). The first 14 floors of the skyscraper house the Kintetsu Department Store, which are the largest department stores in Japan. The Abeno Harukas Art Museum (an exhibition space that hosts various exhibitions throughout the year) is located on the 16th floor of the building, and here you will also find the elevators to the observation deck located on the top 3 floors of the skyscraper, called Harukas 300.
Harukas 30O
(admission 1500¥, opening hours 10-22)
Harukas 300 is the second tallest observation deck in Japan after that of Tokyo Sky Tree. The view from this observatory is boundless, there is nothing obstructing the view around. Tickets can be purchased on the second floor of the skyscraper, while the elevators to go up to the top, as already said, are on the 16th floor. The observation deck is divided on 3 floors (58F, 59F and 60F): the elevator will take you to the 60th floor, from which you can enjoy the 360° view over the city, on the 59th floor you can find the usual gift shop, the 58th floor is a kind of open air inner courtyard, where there is also a cafe (Skygarden 300) and where in the evening a light show is performed (every half hour from 19:15 to 21:15). For an additional 500¥, and only through guided tours at specific times of the day, it is also possible to go up to the heliport on the roof of the skyscraper (more information).
harukas 300 harukas 300 Harukas 300 observation deck
night view from harukas 300 night view from Harukas 300, the purple-illuminated building is the Tsutenkaku Tower (credits)

Shitennoji Temple

(admission 300¥, opening hours 8:30-16:30, oct-mar until 16)
About 800 meters north of Tennoji station there is the Shitennoji temple, one of the most important in the city of Osaka and one of the oldest temples in all of Japan, founded in the distant year 593. The current buildings were rebuilt in 1963 but trying reproduce the original style of the temple. It is one of the largest Buddhist temples and one of the few (maybe the only one) that is really worth a visit in Osaka. Inside the temple grounds there is a 5-storey pagoda that can be visited also inside and a wonderful Zen garden, called Gokuraku-jodo (addicional 300¥), whose design was based on the descriptions of the "Western Paradise" of Amida Buddha.
shitennoji temple shitennoji temple at night Shitennoji Temple and its pagoda, during the day and at night (credits)

Tennoji Park

(admission 150¥, opening hours 9:30-17, until 20 on weekends, closed on mondays)
A large botanical garden. Around you will notice some curious animal statues covered with flowers. Within this park there is also a small traditional Japanese garden, called Keitaku-en Garden, and the Osaka Municipal Museum of Fine Arts. You don't need to pay the 150¥ entrance to the park if you have already bought the entrance ticket to Tennoji Zoo or to the museum.
tennoji park tennoji park flower statues inside Tennoji Park
abeno harukas from tennoji park the Abeno Harukas skyscraper seen from Tennoji Park

Tennoji Zoo

(admission 500¥, opening hours 9:30-17, until 18 on weekends, closed on mondays)
One of the oldest zoo in Japan, opened in 1915 and today has got about 1,000 animals of 230 different species. This zoo is often criticized for its bad conditions and bad conditions of some of its animals kept in small and dirty cages. It is definitely not one of those to be recommended among all zoological parks in Japan.

Where to stay in Tennoji

How to get to Tennoji

Tennoji station is one of the largest railway stations in the city, served by the Osaka Loop line, Yamatoji line, Hanwa line of JR and by the Midosuji and Tanimachi lines of the subway.

A few meters from Tennoji Station, there is also Abenobashi station (just below the Abeno Harukas), terminus of the Kintetsu Minami-Osaka Line.

Lastly, another useful station could be Shitennojimae Yuhigaoka, the stop before Tennoji along the Tanimachi line of the subway, which is located a few hundred meters closer to Shitennoji Temple, compared to Tennoji station.

Map of Tennoji, Osaka

Guided tours, activities and other things to do

If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Rakuten Travel Experiences.

How to use Rakuten Travel Experiences

Rakuten Travel is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Rakuten Travel you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Rakuten Travel you can also buy tickets for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.

Some examples

Take a look at Rakuten Travel Experiences

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