Eifukuji Temple, the Grave of Prince Shotoku

Easily, one the most famous figures in Japanese history is the somewhat mysterious prince of legend, Shotoku. Responsible for spreading Buddhism in Japan Prince Shotoku also built the famous Horyu-ji and Shitenno-ji temples. Surprisingly, although he was born Tachibana Temple in Asuka, his grave is in Eifukuji [叡福寺] in the small town of Taishi, Osaka— which is pretty far away from Asuka.

Temple Grounds of Eifukuji

Take the Kintetsu line from Abenobashi, you will find Eifukuji near the border between Osaka and Nara. 

Unfortunately, because the Kawachi region where Eifukuji is located was the site of the main battle ground between Oda Nobunaga and the Miyoshi clan, Eifuku-ji burnt down in 1574. Consequentially, many of the buildings on the temple grounds today were built after the aforementioned fire.

Temple entrance

The grave of Prince Shotoku is the central focus of the temple grounds of Eifukuji. You can find several buildings on the temple grounds, but unfortunately, many of them are not open to the public.

pagoda of Eifukuji built in 1652
Kondo: main building, built in 1732, enshrines Nyoirin Kannon [如意輪観音]
The grave of Ryonin, founder of Dainenbutsu Temple.

The Grave of Prince Shotoku

The highlight of Eifuku-ji is the grave of Prince Shotoku.

Prince Shotoku was undeniably one of Japan’s most influential people. Given the reputation of its neighbors, Kyoto and Nara, many people often forget that Osaka is also home to many famous people, sites, and historic treasures.

Naturally, the grave of such an important person in Japanese Buddhism attracted many monks such as, Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect and Shinran, the founder of the Jodo-shin sect.

To prince Shotoku’ grave!

One of the most interesting things you will notice about Shotoku’s grave right away is that it is not key shaped, nor does it have a moat like the Kofun in Sakai. This is because Prince Shotoku died in the early 7th century and the Kofun Period i.e. when large Kofun were common, was nearly over.

According to legend, Kukai built those stone walls in one night.

This grave contains the remains of not only Shotoku but also his mother, Anahobe no Hashihito no Himemiko, and his wife, Kashiwade no Oiratsume. However, it is worth pointing out that since Prince Shotoku is a member of the imperial family no one can ever enter it. 

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