Established approximately 1400 years ago by Prince Shotoku, Shitennoji is Japan's first and oldest officially administered Buddhist temple. Although having been burned down over the years it was carefully reconstructed back to its original form. As you walk around the grounds you get a sense that this was an old center for the welfare of the community. The quiet peaceful atmosphere creates a great space to immerse in the temple's history. Apart from the main temples for worshiping Buddha images there are also 4 institutions established here, requested by Prince Shotoku to promote an organized social welfare, being the Keiden-in (Institute for Religion), Ryobyo-in (Hospital), Hiden-in (Welfare institution), Seyaku-in (Pharmacy).
The outer grounds are free but entering to the inner grounds to see the main temples costs ¥300. Shitennoji Temple is just a 10-minute walk from Tennoji Station by JR Osaka Loop Line.
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