This is one of the 3 major temples in Japan dedicated to the goddess, Kannon. As this temple also houses a statue of the sun goddess Amaterasu of Ise Jingu, it was popular in the Edo period for pilgrims to pay visits to both Ise Jingu and Tsu Kannon as a set.
2 halls at this temple have been designated as national treasure buildings, the first in Mie Prefecture to earn the distinction. Ishinden, an autonomous Buddhist community called Jinaicho, built up around the temple and is surrounded by a moat.
Zazen meditation sessions are held at this Zen temple every Sunday. Shitennoji also supports artists by providing studio and performance spaces in its compound.
To reach Tsu from Tokyo, take a Shinkansen bullet train to Nagoya and transfer to a local train. The total trip takes about 3 hours. From Chubu Centrair International Airport, it's 45 minutes by sea via high-speed boat.