In a city of mariners it's no surprise that locals revere Sumiyoshi Taisha, dedicated to the guardian deity of sailors. According to legend, the shrine was founded by Empress Jingu in 211 to express her gratitude for her safe return from a voyage to Korea. Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of three shrines built prior to the arrival of Buddhism in Japan (the other two are Ise Jingu in Mie Prefecture and Izumo Taisha in Tottori Prefecture). According to Shinto custom, shrines were torn down and rebuilt at set intervals to the exact specifications of the original. Sumiyoshi was last replaced in 1810. Sumiyoshi is also famous for its taiko-bashi (arched bridge), given by Yodo-gimi, the consort of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who bore him a son.
Every June 14 starting at 1 pm, a colorful rice-planting festival takes place here with traditional folk performances and processions. Sumiyoshi Matsuri, a large and lively festival, is held from July 30 to August 1. A crowd of rowdy young men carries a 2-ton portable shrine from Sumiyoshi Taisha to Yamato-gawa and back; this is followed by an all-night street bazaar. To reach the shrine, take the 20-minute ride south on the Nankai Main Line from Nankai Namba Station to Sumiyoshi Koen Station.