While in Osaka, I went to Sumiyoshi Taisha (Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine). Sumiyoshi is the name of a group of 3 gods in the Shinto religion. There are 600 shrines in Japan dedicated to Sumiyoshi, which is also why there are several regions in Japan called Sumiyoshi. The Sumiyoshi Taisha in Osaka is considered the main shrine (総本社) of all the shrines dedicated to Sumiyoshi.
Several parts of Sumiyoshi Taisha are officially classified by the Japanese government as Important Cultural Objects of Japan, in order to ensure the protection for future generations.
Sumiyoshi Taisha is best known for this rounded bridge, called the Taiko Bashi (太鼓橋), that joins the gardens with the main shrine.
The main entrance of Sumiyoshi Taisha is marked with a pillar and a stone torii. Torii are traditional Japanese gates that mark the entrance to a Shinto shrine.
Many people stop to take pictures at the bridge.
Once you get close, you can see how steep it is – it is a little scary to walk down!
Once over the bridge, we get to the second entrance of the shrine.
Because Sumiyoshi shrines are dedicated to 3 different gods in the Shinto religion, Sumiyoshi Taisha has 3 individual shrines inside its gates.
Because Sumiyoshi Taisha is such an important shrine, there were many people coming to have their children blessed. I also saw a traditional Japanese wedding procession. (The bride is the lady entirely in white, with a large white object on her head. The groom is the man on her right side. The man leading the procession is the main priest)
I took this street car to get to Sumiyoshi Taisha. It was my first time riding in a street car – it is basically a train which runs on the same roads as cars! This is definitely not a bus, since there are tracks in the ground. I told my mother later that it freaked me out to be in a train which was running on the road, even ignoring traffic lights, but she told me that when she was a child, they existed in Tokyo as well.