Kansai Scene Magazine


Penguin Parade

Jan 1–6, 12–14, 19, 20, 26, 27

Kaiyukan, Osaka

Kaiyukan is one of the biggest aquariums in the world. There are 500 kinds of creature and 30,000 individuals. There are elaborate aquariums including the huge central tank, which represents a small part of the diversity of the Pacific and features the popular whale shark named Kai-kun. The tunnel aquariums account for a lot more life from around the Pacific rim and include a lot of colorful tropical fish, sea mammals, crustaceans, and there is even a tank only for jellyfish which creates a spectral but colorful spectacle. You can also see the penguin parade a few times each day. The penguin's endearing characteristics and comic style of walking is fun to watch for kids and adults alike. Poignancy is added by the knowledge that in the near future penguins may only be found in aquariums. If you enter the aquarium after 5pm, you can observe the marine night ecology.

Time: 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm
Getting there: Subway Chuo line, Osaka-ko stn
Admission: Adult, high school student ¥2,000/child ¥900/under 4-years-old ¥400
Tel: 06-6576-5501

Osaka Fire Station Ceremony

Jan 6

ATC, Osaka

A large variety of specialized fire engines, helicopters and ships are on display at ATC in this event which over the years has become a symbol and pride of Osaka. This is a very famous ceremony in Japan and is put on at the beginning of every year, televised around the country. There is the parade, which consists of fire station support staff, fire fighters and rescue teams with specialized vehicles. There are simulations of rescues and, disaster and accident response. Aside from its worthy civic and humanitarian purposes, the event with its massed ranks of emergency services in full cry is a dramatic spectacle,

Time: 10am–12pm
Getting there: Subway Nanko Port Town line, Trade Center-mae stn, exit 2
Admission: free
Tel: 06-6543-0119

New Year Festa

Jan 13

Expo Park, Osaka

When was the last time you flew a kite? people rarely fly kites these days, but it has long been the custom to fly a kite during the New Year's holiday. In this Expo Park event you can learn to make a kite before flying it. You can enjoy other new year's traditional activities and toys here. There are other attractions such as food stands and a bonfire. This is a real winter event.

Time: 10am–5pm
Getting there: Kita Osaka Kyuko Railway, Senri-chuo stn
Admission: Adult ¥250/Elementary and junior ¥70
Tel: 06-6877-3339

Kimono Exhibition

Jan 26 - Apr 8

Kobe Fashion Museum, Kobe

In Japan the kimono used to be a garment of daily wear. In the 1920's, the end of the Taisho and the beginning of the Showa, people started dressing Western style. They called the modern women, working in Shinsaibashi and Ginza wearing the latest fashion of the time, moga and the men mobo (derived from 'modern girls' and 'modern boys', respectively). The two cultures interacted in a productive way to make kimono design more colorful and adventurous. This exhibition features many designs of Taisho and Showa kimono and you can see the difference in their design and the way of being put on.

Time: 10am–6pm (Last entry 30mins before closing)
Closed: Wed (next day if Wed is national holiday)
Getting there: Rokko Liner, Island Center stn, southeast exit
Admission: Adults ¥500/Students and Seniors Citizen (Over 65) ¥250
Tel: 078-858-0050

Kansai Event Listings January

Modern Transportation Museum Tour

Modern Transportation Museum,Osaka
Every Sat, Sun and national holiday

There are many train maniacs in Japan. The recently appearing female train nerds are collectively nicknamed Tetsuko - iron girl. This is a tour for both the train spotters and the casual day tripper.

Time: 11am, 2:30pm
Getting there: JR Loop line, Bentencho stn
Admission: Adult, over high school age
¥400/over 4 year-old ¥100
Tel: 06-6581-5771

Garage Sale

Expo Park, Osaka
Jan 13, 27

What you want is here as flea markets fill Expo park. A cheap and fun day out with friends or family.

Time: 9:30am–4:30pm
Getting there: Kita Osaka Kyuko Railway, Senri-chuo stn
Admission: Adult ¥350/Elementary and junior ¥100
Tel: 06-6362-6322

Yasunari Kawabata & Kaii Higashiyama

The Museum of Kyoto
Jan 16–Feb 24

One hundred years has passed since thefamous Japanese artist Kaii Higashiyamawas born. This is the anniversary exhibi-tion of the cultural exchange the Nobel award-winning writer Yasunari Kawabata and Kaii togethr. There are pictures and letters which are written by both artists.

Time: 10am–6pm (last admissions 5:30pm)
Getting there: Subway Karasuma line, Karasuma Oike stn
Adults ¥1,000/College and senior high school students ¥700/Junior high and elementary school students ¥400
Tel: 075-222-0888

Birmingham Royal Ballet: Beauty and the Beast

Biwako hall, Shiga
Jan 19

Beauty and the Beast has become closely identified with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. This ballet company hasn't come to Japan for 12 years. You can enjoy this romantic story with the full cast of the Royal Ballet.

Time: 4pm
Getting there: JR Kyoto line, Zeze stn
Admission:¥15,000/¥13,000/¥11,000/ ¥9,000/¥7,000/¥5,000
Tel: 075-523-7136

Comic Treasure 11

Intex Osaka
Jan 20

This is an exhibition and sale of amateur cult magazines through which you can feel the spirit of Japanese manga culture. Many attendees will be wearing manga character costumes. You might become completely absorbed into this alternative world.

Time: 11am–3pm
Getting there: New Tram Nanko Port Town line, Nakafuto stn
Admission: ¥600
Tel: 03-3225-8102

6th Kansai City Philharmonic Orchestra

Ikeda Shimunn Bunka Kaikan, Osaka
Jan 20

You might not want to be a professional musician, but you can enjoy listening to live classical music with an extremely cheap ticket. Tchaikovsky and many others are waiting for you.

Time: 3pm
Getting there: Hankyu line, Ishibashi stn
Admission: ¥2,000 (¥1,500 in advance)
Tel: 072-761-8811

Pocket Monster (Pokemon) Show

Hirakata Park, Osaka
Jan 27

You can look, touch and play with Poke-mon characters in this event hall and dream of your own adventures. You might think, this is too childish but you are never too old for this kind of fun.

Time: 10am–6pm
Getting there: Keihan line, Hirakata Koen stn
Admission: event only, adult ¥400/3 years old to elementary school age ¥200 (park admission Adult ¥1,300/3 years old to elementary school age ¥700)
Tel: 072-844-3475


2008 Osaka International Women's Marathon

Nagai Stadium, Osaka
Jan 27

The winner of the Osaka International Women's Marathon will become Japan's representative at the Beijing Olympics. Fans of the Olympics will not want to miss this rare chance to catch an important selection event. There are 500 candidates competing to be Japan's future gold medalist.

Time: 12:30pm
Getting there: Midosuji line, Nagai stn
Admission: free
Tel: 06-6633-9632

Regular Noh performances

Kongo Nohgakudo, Kyoto
Jan 27

Noh is a style of theatre unique to Japan and which dates back 600 years. There are monthly performances in Kongo Nohgakudo. If you become a member of the monthly performances, you can get the printed program for each performance. Every performance has two kinds of Noh at least. You can enjoy not only the performances but also the traditional costumes and masks which invite you into the mysterious atmosphere.

Time: 1:30pm
Getting there: Karasuma line, Imadegawa stn, exit 6
Admission: ¥6,000 (¥5,500 in advance)
Student ¥3,000 (¥45,000 for ten performances per year, additional yearly membership ¥5,000)
Tel: 075-441-7222

EVENT section compiled by Kanako Tsuji

:: Online Articles


The hush-hush world of hostessing
Understanding this misunderstood business

:: feature

Maid in Japan
Maid cafes

:: special

Going once, going twice, going vroom!
Hi-tech comes to car auctions

:: profile

A leap into the unknown
Mark Richardson of Age of Jets

:: travel

Only in India


God's home
Ise Jingu, Mie

:: Kansai Listings


Up to date cinema listings guide so you always know what's on, where and when!

:: ART

Best exhibitions & listings


Best events & listings


Best gigs & listings


All the hot picks

:: Also in this month's mag

:: Food

Cafe Hafez, Horie


Red Lion, Higashi Shinsaibashi


Best festivals & listings


New releases & recommendations


Best films & cinema listings


What's in a label?


Size matters
The Asus Eee PC 701 - super mini computer