Kansai Scene Magazine


Benkei Matsuri Festival

Oct 3 - 4

Tanabe city, Wakayama

The Benkei festival has always served up exhilarating performances and a bustling market in venues in Tanabe city, Benkei's birthplace. Benkei is thought to have been a warrior monk and served Yoshitsune Minamoto in the 13th century. He is commonly described as a man of great strength and loyalty. Stories of his life that have been embe- llished and twisted are popular programme items in Kabuki and Noh. On the 3rd, this is your opportunity to witness the play Legend of Benkei at Tokei-jinja shrine. On the 4th, local products from Tanabe will be sold at a market in Ogigahama Park, a geta (traditional clog) dance related to Benkei will take place in Aoi-dori street, a dazzling display of Kishu Benkei Yosakoi dance in a competition will be held in Ogigahama park, and finally there will be spectacular fireworks in Ogigahama park, on the 4th.

Time: The play 6:30pm. The market 10:am–9pm. Geta-odori afternoon. Fireworks
Getting there: JR Kiseihonsen line, Kiitanabe stn
Admission: free
Tel: 0739-22-5064

Mibu Kyogen

Oct 11 - 13

Mibudera Temple, Kyoto

Kyogen (meaning, literally, "mad speach") is a Japanese traditional farce, and its primary goal is to make its audience laugh. It teaches Buddhist beliefs by telling hilarious stories. Unlike other Kyogen, in Mibu Kyogen (witch is an important intangible cultural asset) which is an important intangible cultural asset, the actors all wear masks and play without dialogue. Although they are non–professionals, and are the believers of the Mibu Temple faith, their skilful acting wins great recognition. Please join the Japanese audience: laughter is a global language and extremely therapeutic.

Time: 1pm–5:30pm
Getting there: JR Kyoto stn 26 bus Mibuderamichi, Hankyu Railway, Kyoto line, Oomiya stn 10 min walk
Admission: adults ¥800 • high school & junior high school students¥600 • Primary students ¥400
Tel: 075-841-3381

Sakai Matsuri Festival

Oct 18 - 19

Sakai city, Osaka

It is the biggest event of the year in historic city, Sakai. Sakai was once described by missionaries of the Society of Jesus as an "Oriental Venice", where merchants did foreign and domestic trade in medieval times, and unlike other cities it was self-governing. Namban Market where local specialities of Sakai are sold will take place in Xavier Park on the 18th and 19th. You should not miss the colourful parade consisted of 7,000 participants in Oshoji-suji street. You must also participate in the Big Tea Ceremony at Daisen Park or Nanshuji temple on the 19th.

Time: Namban Market 18th, 10am–8pm • 19th, 10am–6pm • Parade 11am • Tea ceremony at Nanshuji temple 9am–3:30pm, at Daisen park 10am–3pm
Getting there: Hankai Tramway; Hanadaguchi stn to Xavier Park or Oshoji-suji street, Goryomae stn to Nanshuji temple. JR Hanwa line, Mozu stn to Daisen Park.
Admission: Big Tea Ceremony, one ticket for Daisen Park ¥500 • one set of two tickets required for Nanshuji ¥1,700
Tel: 072-233-5258

The 60th Annual Exhibition of Shoso-in Treasure

Oct 25 - Nov 10

Nara National Museum, Nara

It is one of the most important exhibitions of the collection from Shosoin, which are a variety of artefacts and documents from 8th century Nara. Shosoin is a treasure house situated on the UNESCO register of World Heritage Sites. Its origin dates back to 756 when Empress Komyo dedicated over 600 items to the Great Buddha to express her love for her lost husband, Emperor Shomu. Today, it holds about 9,000 items, which are domestic productions from the 8th century, and items from ancient China, India, Iran, Greece, Rome and Egypt. Although the collections are not open to the public, selections are shown once a year in autumn. Sixty-nine items will be put on display this year.

Time: 9am–6pm (Monday to Thursday)
• 9am–7pm (Friday to Sunday and holiday)
Getting there: Kintetsu Railway, Nara line, Nara stn 15 min walk
Admission: adults ¥1,000 (evening rate ¥700)
• university & high school students ¥700 (¥500)
• junior high school & primary students ¥400 (¥200)
Tel: 0742-22-7771

Kansai Event Listings October

Kinpusen-ji Shugyo Taiken (Experience as a Disciplinant in Kinpusen Temple)

Mt Omine, Nara
Oct 26 (cancelled if stormy weather)

Why don't you join this bracing mountain walk? You will also expe- rience exotic Buddhist ascetic train- ing. Women will be most welcome. It is arranged to end at Zao-do Temple around 4pm. Prior booking essential by the finishing date, Oct 12. The first 20 people will be accepted. Meet the mountain ascetic at Yoshino station. Bring waterproofs, medicine, health insurance, a water bottle, a rucksack and spare clothes.

Time: 10am
Getting there: Kintetsu Railway, Yoshino line, Yoshino stn
Admission: ¥6,000 (including lunch, not including transportation costs)
Tel: 0746-32-8371

Shika no Tsunokiri (Deer Antler Cutting Ceremony)

Rokuen Tsunokirijo in Nara
Park, Nara

Oct 11–13 (cancelled in case of rain) At is said the God of Kasuga appeared riding on a white deer, deer have been protected since olden days. This event was started about 300 years ago to prevent local people from get hurt by the deer's antlers. Guys wearing headbands chase and hold down the deer, and a Shinto priest cuts the antlers. It is exciting and unique to Nara.

Time: 12pm–3pm (the deer's antlers are cut every 30 minutes)
Getting there: JR/Kintetsu Railway, Nara stn, loop bus Daibutsu-den Kasugataisha-mae 5 min-walk
Admission: adults ¥1,000 • children under12 years old ¥300 • under 3 years old free
Tel: 0742-22-2388

Machikado no Geino (Street Performance)

Hannyarin (Sokoku-ji Temple North gate), Kyoto
Oct 24–26

A variety of street performances that are an authentic part of traditional Japanese culture are put on here. There is something for everyone of all ages. It is like time travel back to the Edo period!

Time: 11am–4pm
Getting there: Kyoto underground, Karasuma line, Kuramaguchi stn
Admission: adults: ¥2,000 • children (primary school) ¥1,000
Tel: 075-211-0138

Hinawaju Taikai (Performance with Antique Matchlock Gun)

Nagahama-jo Rekishihakubutsukan Square (Nagahama Castle History Museum), Shiga
Oct 18

Nagahama used to be well known as a place where matchlock guns were made. Today it gives us a spectacular demonstration of classical Japanese matchlock guns performed by the Kunitomo team and the Tanegashima team. A sight you don't see every day.

Time: 11am & 1pm
Getting there: JR Biwako line, Nagahama stn 8-min walk
Admission: free
Tel: 0749-62-4111

Nagahama Rakuichi Rakuza Art in Nagahama 2008

Around Nagahama stn & Hoko-en Park, Shiga
Oct 4–5

An exhibition and sale of pottery, paintings, crafts and many other things takes place in the streets. Works are put on from altogether 500 artists from all over Japan as well as overseas countries. Nobunaga and Hideyoshi the lords of Nagahama encouraged the street markets in the past. Auctions, workshops and we are hoping to see performances by the artists.

Time: 4th, 10am–5pm • 5th, 10am–4pm
Getting there: JR Biwako line, Nagahama stn, 10-min walk
Admission: free
Tel: 0749-65-0393

Kyodogangu Hichihukujin to Takarabune (The Seven Deities of the Fortune God and The Treasure Ship)

Shosha Art & Craft Museum, Hyogo
Sep 30–Dec 23

An exhibition of the Seven Deities of the Fortune God and the treasure ship (carrying the Seven Gods). People have believed that the Gods and the ship bring them good luck and a for- tune since olden days. The exhibition is held at a delightful craft art museum in beautiful countryside. You can also experience hand painting on papier- mâché here.

Time: 10am–5pm • Closed Mondays except holidays. If Monday is a holiday, closed Tuesday.
Getting there: JR Kobe line, Himeji stn, Shinki bus Shosya Ropeway
Admission: adults ¥300 • university & high school students ¥200 • junior high school & elementary school students ¥50
Tel: 079-267-0301

The 50th Anniversary of The Establishment of Kansai Koto Music Organisation Koto, Sangen no Kai Hiroki Fujimura from Yamada School (Koto & Samisen Concert)

Hyougokenritsu Geijutsu Bunka Centre (Hyogo Prefectural Art & Culture Centre), Hyogo
Oct 19

Would you like to experience listening to Japanese traditional instruments? Then this concert is a must for you. The genuine koto (a Japanese zither) and samisen (a Japanese three-string lute) melody will entice you into the ancient Japanese world.

Time: 11am (opening venue 10:30am)
Getting there: Hankyu Railway, Kobe line, Nishinomiyakitaguchi
Admission: free
Tel: 078-871-0082

County Dream (Country & Western Concert)

Maruyama-koen Ongaku-do (Maruayma Park Open-air Concert Arena), Kyoto
Oct 12

Jim Lauderdale twice winner of a Grammy, Charly McCoy called a brilliant technician of the blues guitar, Ozaki Brothers leading singer in Japan- ese C&W and other top-ranking Japanese singers today get together with road-tested songs.

Time: 3pm (an opening performance 2pm)
Getting there: Keihan Railway, Keihanshijo stn 10 min-walk JR Kyoto stn, 206 bus Gion 5 min-walk
Admission: ¥3,500 (adv ¥3,000)
Tel: 075-661-3755

Taima Mandara Shabutsu no Kai (Making a Copy of Buddha in Taima Mandala)

Taima-dera Temple Nakanobo, Nara
Oct 12

Learn a Japanese art in the exotic environment of a Buddhist temple. Here you can trace a picture of Buddha with a brush and black ink. An expert will teach you how. This class will include making solid sticks of black ink. Participants must subscribe for a book by email: [email protected]

Time: 1pm-4pm
Getting there: Kintetsu Railway Taima-dera stn, 15min-walk
Admission: ¥4,500
Tel: 0745-48-2001

Tokubetsu-ten Jishinten (The Special Earthquake Exhibition)

Osaka Museum of Natural History, Osaka
Oct 25–Dec 7

In this exhibition, analysis of latest research on earthquakes is explained with exhibitions; specimens of active faults, photo pictures and a distribution map showing zones of active faulting.

Time: 9:30am–4:30pm
Getting there: underground, Midosuji line, Nagai stn, 10min–walk
Admission: adults ¥400 • students university & high school ¥300
Tel: 06-6697-6221

EVENT section compiled by Yuki Uchibori

:: Online Articles


Cultural (re)appreciation
How the media sees non-Japanese

:: culture

The fine art of being grotesque
The dark side of Japanese culture

:: special

Forty-seven or bust
Japan on two wheels

:: profile

Martial arts master
Capoeira instructor Simon Williams

:: places

Never ending party
Kamogawa, Kyoto

:: travel

Culinary delights of Hong Kong
Hong Kong beyond money making and shopping

:: getaway

Walk easy
Norikura Kogen, Gifu & Nagano

:: 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

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Izakaya Matsuhisa, Morishoji

:: dRink

Den, Kitahorie

:: GouRmET GiRl

Turkish @ Istanbul Konak

:: lAnGuAGE

United colours of autumn


Been there, seen it, video blogged it
Travel share by video blogging


Burning Chrome
Google's new browser

:: livinG

Not the usual suspects
One traveller fell for a costly Shanghai scam