Translated by Ken
A Different Side of Dotonbori, Osaka! Explore the Streets of Hozenji Yokocho
Written by 羅大明
Located near the famous Dotonbori district in Osaka, Hozenji Yokocho is the setting for the bestselling novel Meoto Zenzai. The streets are home to many bars and restaurants. Full of history and charm, Hozenji Yokocho is a great place to explore!
Hozenji Yokocho: The Side Streets of Dotonbori
Dotonbori is a landmark district of Osaka. But did you know that a temple is located just off the main street?
Published in 1940, Sakunosuke Oda's bestselling novel "Meoto Zenzai" is set near Hozenji Temple. This sacred site is famous for its statue of Acala, the Buddhist deity of wrath, covered in moss.
Surrounding the temple, Hozenji Yokocho (Hozenji side street) is home to many restaurants and cafes. Moreover, Ukiyo Shoji is a great place to experience the history of Dotonbori. These streets are a must-visit if you come to the bustling shopping district.
Hozenji Temple: A Popular Local Spot
Hozenji Temple enshrines an Acala statue affectionately called Mizukake Fudo (water-pouring Acala) by locals. Many visitors pray to the Mizukake Fudo for good health, prosperity, and matchmaking.
The temple also enshrines the guardian of marine traffic, the god of prosperity, and a harvest deity. Feel free to pay your respects when visiting!
Photo by Pixta
Approach the haiden (prayer hall) and toss a coin into the offertory box, then put your hands together to pay your respects.
At Hozenji Temple, however, visitors follow a unique process. A ladle can be found in front of the Acala statue; use this to pour water on Mizukake Fudo and the two statues beside it.
Over the years, the statue has become completely covered in moss because of this prayer ritual.
Pouring water on the Acala is said to bring prosperity to one's business. Meanwhile, the two adjacent statues are said to grant matchmaking wishes.
Explore Hozenji Yokocho
When entering the side streets, you will spot a small Buddha statue. Just past it is Hozenji Yokocho, an ideal place for a meal or casual stroll.
Hozenji Yokocho has two entrances on the east and west side. Once inside, you'll see a variety of local establishments, including fancy kappo restaurants.
With its cobblestone streets, beautiful plants, and traditional lanterns, Hozenji Yokocho is a stark contrast to the busy, modern streets of Dotonbori!
Don't Forget to Visit Ukiyo Shoji!
Ukiyo Shoji connects Hozenji Yokocho with the Dotonbori main street. It is an extremely narrow side street covered with beautiful murals that depict scenes from Osaka's past.
You'll also find old photos, advertisements, and newspaper clippings.
Additionally, the paper lanterns add an extra spark of retro aesthetic to the street.
Meoto Zenzai: The Perfect Date Spot for Couples
Located near Hozenji Temple, Meoto Zenzai is a sweets shop famous for its zenzai (*). This traditional dessert gained fame thanks to the protagonist of the novel "Meoto Zenzai" ordering it with his wife. Couples who eat the zenzai are also said to grow closer.
The zenzai costs 815 yen (including tax). A single serving comes with two separate bowls. When visiting with a partner, make sure to order two servings; sharing is rumored to bring bad luck to the relationship.
Meoto Zenzai is a great place to visit with your significant other on Valentine's Day. Even if you're single, you might even receive some matchmaking luck!
*Zenzai: a traditional sweet soup made with red beans and red bean paste