Many events are staged within the temple precincts throughout the year. One of the biggest draw-cards is the regular antiques fair held on the grounds on the 18th and 28th of each month. Here you’ll find old kimono, books, antique pottery, furniture, home wares, toys and knick-knacks amongst a variety of old and vintage items. Treasure hunting at the Osu Antiques Fair is an enjoyable way to spend a morning or afternoon. New Years Eve and New Years Day sees thousands crowd the temple grounds, as does Setsubun, an event held to welcome the spring. At other times, people come to simply pray to Kannon, allegedly enshrined within the grand temple. The old, the new, quiet and tranquil or bustling with crowds, modern, yet ancient, Nagoya’s Osu Kannon Temple is the epitome of Nagoya City itself.
Enjoy Shopping At the Osu Arcades
If you can’t find your treasure at the Osu Kannon Temple’s antiques fair, then try the Osu Arcades. Located directly east of the temple are several covered arcades running parallel and perpendicular to one another and featuring over 1,200 stores selling anything from the kitsch to computers, cameras to trendy (even tacky) fashions, antiques, new and used kimono and clothing, restaurants and cafes, variety and souvenir stores, and pretty much everything in-between. Many of the shops offer Duty Free services for tourists too.
The arcades have become famous for being the pop-culture center of not just Nagoya, but the world, as Osu is one of the venues for the annual World Cosplay Summit. Various pop-culture themed anime specialty shops, sci-fi goods outlets, Maid Cafés and costume shops cater to the many Cosplayers who gather there regularly.
The Temple of the Mighty Oda Clan, Bansho-ji
Among the many arcades and shops is the historical Bansho-ji, the Oda clan’s family temple. The Bansho-ji recently underwent a major reconstruction, and while the traditional look and atmosphere have been somewhat reduced, its significance has not been diminished in any way. The original Bansho-ji was built in 1540 by the warlord Oda Nobuhide, father of the first of the National Unifiers, Nobunaga, not far from the original Nagoya Castle. The site was decided when Nobuhide and the first abbot saw a turtle, considered a symbol of long life, sunning itself on a rock near some auspicious pine trees, and so Bansho-ji, or “Ten Thousand Pine Tree Temple” was established as the Oda Clan temple.
The Bansho-ji was the stage for a well-known historical episode in which a young and impetuous Oda Nobunaga arrived late for his father’s funeral. Storming into the temple in front of the gathered clan members and retainers, instead of gently offering incense, Nobunaga threw a handful of ashes at the alter. After knocking over the incense burners and tables, he stormed out, causing quite a commotion. Nobuhide’s grave can still be seen here on the northern side of the temple complex.
This temple also was rebuilt at its present site in 1610. Destroyed by allied bombing in World War Two, it was again reconstructed, along with the surrounding shopping arcade. Visitors to the arcades often stop by the temple to make small offerings and pray to the deity within. Despite the recent reconstruction and modern appearance, Bansho-ji has a long and colorful past.
Lose yourself in the history, or lose yourself in the many hundreds of shops at Osu Kannon Temple and the Osu Shopping Arcades. The ancient temples and the surrounding shopping arcades are easily accessible by foot, taxi or subway from Nagoya’s central Sakae district and are one of Nagoya’s top shopping areas and must-see sub-culture centers.