With a history that stretches back to 727 AD, Katsuo-ji is one of Osaka's oldest and most revered temples. A 90-minute train journey from Osaka Station, this Buddhist sanctuary sits on roughly 65 acres of land and is surrounded by lush hills and nature trails that lead to picturesque waterfalls. Needless to say, the temple grounds are stunning in autumn, as the trees turn into striking shades of red and orange that echo the temple’s vermillion gates and bridges.
Katsuo-ji’s compound is beautiful in daylight, but the temple is now illuminated at night to give you a chance to appreciate the historical site and its beauty after dark. For a limited period until December 3, Katsuo-ji will extend its opening hours to 8.30pm daily (last entry at 8pm), allowing you to revel in the mesmerising interplay of light on the autumn leaves, majestic temple structures and serene pond reflections.
Katsuo-ji holds a distinguished place among travellers. It was recently ranked among Japan’s top ten temples according to a 2023 survey conducted by Japanese travel website Jalan. Beyond its lush natural setting, the temple is instantly recognisable by the thousands of red daruma dolls displayed on the grounds.
The name 'Katsuo-ji' is born from the Japanese word for 'winning' (katsu). The daruma dolls are a talisman for good luck, so this is thought to be a temple that people can go to when they're trying to overcome their weaknesses in order to 'win' something, be it a sporting event, an academic endeavour or a competitive career opportunity.
Advance tickets are available online at ¥2,000 for adults and ¥1,000 for elementary school students or younger. Tickets purchased on the day will cost ¥2,495 for adults and ¥1,495 for elementary school students.
Admission tickets include a round trip on a special shuttle bus that’s operating just for the event, running directly from Minoh Station to Katsuo-ji Temple (the journey takes roughly 30 minutes). The best way to get to Minoh Station (also spelt Minoo Station) from central Osaka is by taking the Takarazuka Main Line from Osaka Umeda Station.
For more information, visit the temple website.
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