一心寺, is about 15 minutes' walk from Shintennoji temple, and about 10 minutes walk from Shin sekai. This temple has relatively large grounds, and the occasional tourist who drop by probably was drawn by its name (there is another one of the same name in Oita), or chanced upon the two bronze guardian statues at the main gate This is not a touristy temple and remains one where local devotees pray and visit their family graves.
お骨佛の寺 is inscribed on the stone tablet outside the temple. Okutsu butsu お骨佛 literally means bone buddha. Since the Meiji period, 13 images of Amida had been formed, each incorporating the ashes of tens of thousands of devotees. 6 sculptures were lost in the war,but the rest remain today while collection is underway for the 14th .
The two bronze guardian statues are known as Niō (仁王) or Kongōrikishi (金剛力士). They are wrath-filled and muscular guardians of the Buddha. They are the same as those found in other Buddhist temples, which are smaller wooden statues, usually enclosed and have netting that hinders photography.
For tourists who dislike the photography ban enforced in many Japanese temples , this place is a dream come true. The statues here look so much uninhibited and vivid, like wrestlers about to engage in a no-holds barred brawl.
While there are two awe-inspiring statues at the main gate, there is nothing else to shout about within the temple grounds.
On a regular weekday without any festivities, Isshinji offers a quiet respite if you seek inner peace. A nearby building is something that you must not miss - the 三千仏堂 Sanzen Butsudo, or the Three Thousand Buddha Hall. For one who might ask, why 3000 and not any other number, well I guess it might be linked to the Buddhist concept of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.
Stepping into the building, you will realize where its name comes from - the exterior perimeter of the worship hall has plenty of niches filled with statues of Buddhas. Among the gold buddhas you will find fearsome looking guardians. Going one round around the Buddhas brings tranquility to the mind. Do take photos discreetly and do not impose yourself on worshippers who may be offering incense.
The design of the worship hall is unique as it resembles a church. One does not have to remove footwear before entering, and sits at pews instead of on the floor. The huge mural featuring the buddha Amida and his attendant bodhisattvas Kannon and Seishi, is nothing short of impressive. Below the mural and behind the altar is a gold-leaf sculpture of the 10 great disciples of the Buddha Shaka. It is a marvellous sight to behold, made possible by the superb skills of Japanese artisans.
I'd strongly recommend a visit to Isshinji if you just had lunch at Shin sekai or toured Tennoji Zoo. Chausuyama Honjin茶臼山本陣跡 is also just minutes away from the temple which makes a pleasant walk in the park.