Hozenji: The Sentimental Alley of Osaka *RERUN
Hozenji lies just behind Dotonbori, Osaka's bustling downtown area with its dazzling neon lights. This is where you can find a "deeper side" of Osaka. A confined temple known for Mizukake Fudoson, a local deity. About 60 one-of-a-kind restaurants and bars line a cobbled alleyway. It is said that this town started in the Edo period, with stalls and teahouses catering to pilgrims going to the Hozenji Temple. Regular barflies come out nightly to their favorite watering holes. Young cooks who do their training in a sanctuary for chefs. We take a look at traditional Osaka cuisine. Welcome to Hozenji, a town where people live a life of esprit.

Mizukake Fudoson

"I'm counting on you, Mr. Buddha." Mizukake Fudoson is a Buddhist guardian deity that is believed to grant wishes, when people splash water over it. It is a symbol of Hozenji. Built more than 100 years ago, people began to splash water onto the Buddhist idol about 80 years ago. The water splashing ritual is said to have started when one woman's wish came true. Today, inhabitants of the town make a wish every morning and evening. On a busy day, up to 1,000 people come to pray to the idol.

A Sanctuary for Chefs

Hozenji is a sanctuary for chefs who are looking for a place to get experience. Through the strict training, they learn the ways of a cook, and eventually become a full-fledged food master. The training is all about learning the "spirit of hospitality," rather than just the techniques of cuisine. The essence of the culinary way is learned through the cleaning of the restaurant front, and welcoming and seeing off guests.

Behaving as Adults

Hozenji is a mature town full of unique establishments. A certain bar that has been open for half a century does not serve unruly guests. Anyone is welcome regardless of age or nationality, as long as they can drink and behave. But any unrefined customers who cannot are kicked out. Such standards required of the guests are in fact what give the bars the friendly quality.