Shitennoji Temple is located in Osaka and is one of the oldest official temples in Japan. Prince Shotoku Taishi founded the temple in 593. Shotoku Taishi played a major role in introducing Buddhism to Japan and therefore is seen as a major figure in the history of Japan. In the Buddhist tradition there are four heavenly kings who guard the world from evil and they are named Shitenno which Shotoku Taishi named the temple after.
During the time of way, the prince prayed to these four heavenly kings. When the war finally ended, as a way to give thanks to these four kings he had the temple built. This temple has a very long history but many of the buildings of the temple complex have been destroyed by fires over the years and therefore have had to be rebuilt many times. Therefore, although the buildings were first built a long time ago the current ones that we see today are from the 1960s and 1970s.
Most of the outer buildings of the temple are free to visit but there is also a few locations of the temple complex where you need to pay a fee to enter. The locations that require a fee are the Chushin Garan also known as the inner temple, the Treasure House and the Gokurakujodo garden.
The inner complex of the Chushin Garan includes the main hall, the lecture hall and the five story pagoda. It is also surrounded by a covered walkway where there are also three gates. The pagoda at the temple can also be entered and you can even climb up it. Unfortunately they do not allow pictures to be taken inside of the pagoda or from the window from the top.
It is 300 yen for adults to enter the Chushin Garan and 200 yen for senior high and university students. Those who are in junior high or are younger than that they are allowed in for free.
The east side of the temple complex is where the Treasure House is and this is where you can see all the sacred artifacts, Buddhist statues, paintings, various documents and other National treasures. The fee to enter the Treasure House is 500 yen for adults, 300 yen for university and senior high school students, and for those who are in junior high or younger it is free to enter.
On the north east corner of temple complex you will find the Gokurakujodo Garden which is extremely spacious and a beautiful area to stroll around. There are many cherry blossom trees and it has a stream and pond as well. This garden was named after the Buddhist paradise. The garden grounds are 300 yen for adults to enter, 200 yen for university and school age students, and for those who are in pre-school or younger are free.
Every year on January 14th there is a festival called the Doya Doya festival that takes place at the Shitennoji Temple. During this festival, young boys will team up and wear loincloths and are showered with cold water as they run into the prayer hall. Once they get inside of the Rokujireisando prayer hall there are lucky charm papers that are dropped from the ceiling and the boys compete to catch them. The team of boys who catch the most charms win.