Thousands of Dolls in a Japanese Buddhist Temple

Katsuō-ji temple is the "residence" of thousands of Daruma dolls. From the inside to the outside appears countless Japanese traditional dolls.


Coming to Osaka in the spring, visitors should never skip an attractive destination: the peaceful Katsuō-ji temple. The temple is open throughout a week. From Monday to Friday, Katsuō-ji welcomes guests from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. On Saturday, the temple closes at 17:30. And on Sunday, the temple attracts more visitors, closing at 6:00 pm. An entrance ticket to the temple costs ¥400. 


Katsuō-ji temple has a long history. In the 8th century, two brothers from the powerful Fujikawa family erected a small tent on the ground of the current temple. By the end of the 8th century, this place was officially a Buddhist temple when the son of Emperor Kōnin (the 49th Emperor of Japan) became a monk here. At that time, the temple was named Miroku-ji. 


When Emperor Seiwa (the 56th Emperor of Japan) got seriously ill, the monks in the temple prayed for him day and night, and a miracle truly happened. Since then, the temple has been renamed Katsuo-ji. 


The sacredness of the temple over the centuries remains intact, ordinary people come here to pray for grace, development in careers, good luck in business, and so on, because they have faith in the miracle that helped the Emperor recover from his fatal disease after being blessed by the monks in the temple. 


The most special thing about this temple is that thousands of Daruma dolls in all sizes appear everywhere inside and around the temple. Daruma dolls are associated with Japanese culture. Daruma dolls are present everywhere in the Land of the Rising Sun. 


Daruma dolls are adapted from the image of Bodhidharma, the one who brought Chan Buddhism to China. According to a legend, he is also considered to be the father of Shaolin Kungfu. 


To commemorate Bodhidharma, Japanese people created Daruma. These dolls are usually made of wood, round and painted in red. One has a thick black mustache but no limbs and no eyes. A believer who buys a Daruma will make a wish and draw an eye. When the wish comes true, the believer draws the other eye. 


There is a principle of drawing Daruma eyes that the painter must draw the left eye first and focus on thinking of his wish while drawing. The right one will be finished when the wish comes true. 


Not only is Katsuō-ji temple a holy place to pray for luck, but it is also a unique tourist destination, attracting tourists to visit and to check-in with thousands of red Daruma dolls at the temple. 


The temple is built on high mountains, so the journey to get here is not easy. From Kita-senri station, Seri-chuo (Osaka), visitors take bus number 29 to reach the temple and stops by the its gate after 45 minutes. Also, there is only one bus every 02 hours on week days and 01 bus every hour at weekends. Tourists cannot catch one  after 5:00 or 5:30 pm.

By: Chris Stewart

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