Tenma (天満) is a neighborhood to the east of Osaka's Kita district. The area is best known for being the home of Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, from which the neighborhood got its name, and the Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street. The area is also renowned for its bustling nightlife quarter.
Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street claims to be the longest in Japan. The covered arcade stretches more than two kilometers, starting approximately from Tenjimbashi-suji Rokuchome Subway Station and leading south until close to the Tenjinbashi Bridge.
The shopping street has a neighborhood atmosphere and is where many locals shop for a huge variety of goods such as groceries, clothes, shoes, books, medicine, snacks and sundries. Prices for fashion products are relatively low in return for average quality. There are also many eateries and cafes.
Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, founded in the 10th century, is one of the most important of hundreds of shrines across Japan that are devoted to the Shinto deity of scholarship, Sugawara Michizane. Osaka Tenmangu Shrine has been destroyed by fire a number of times during its history, and its current main hall (honden) and main gate date back to 1845.
Osaka Tenmangu is famous for its festival, the Tenjin Matsuri, which is held annually on July 24 and 25 and is ranked as one of Japan's top three festivals besides Kyoto's Gion Matsuri and Tokyo's Kanda Matsuri. During the festival, the shrine's deity is paraded in a divine palanquin (mikoshi) through the city in a joyful land and river procession, accompanied by fireworks.
The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, situated along the shopping street, presents a glimpse of the streets of Osaka during the Edo Period (1603-1867) through recreated houses which visitors can enter. English audio guides depict the housing conditions in the past, and visitors can rent kimono for a small fee and dress in them for picture taking or just strolling along the streets.
Come the evening, Tenma's character changes as the maze of narrow streets and alleys that emanate from Tenma Station's north exit come to life. Diners can select from a wide selection of hole-in-the-wall bars and restaurants near the station and more stylish and fashionable establishments further away. The cuisine served varies greatly from Japanese food like yakitori to Western food.
The Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street starts around Tenjimbashi-suji Rokuchome Station on the Tanimachi and Sakaisuji Subway Lines, runs south and passes by Osaka Tenmangu Shrine before ending around the Tenjinbashi Bridge. The closest station to Tenmangu Shrine is Minamimorimachi Station on the Tanimachi and Sakaisuji Subway Lines and Osaka Temmangu Station on the JR Tozai Line. Many of the area's bars and restaurants are clustered within walking distance of the north exit of Tenma Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line.