Dotonbori (Dotombori) – Osaka’s Famous Historical Entertainment District

During the second day in Osaka, I decided to explore the bustling tourist area of the city which I started from Namba Station. From Shin-Imamiya Station where my hotel is just beside it, I took Nankai train line and went out at Namba Station where Namba City is connected. My plan was walk around Namba, I told myself, wherever my feet brings me, I will be there. I visited the Information Center in Namba to find out what I can see and do in Osaka. I checked out travel brochures, picked-up some that caught my interest, then asked volunteers about a day pass in the city and I bought one before leaving the tourist centre.

To avoid lengthy post, I divided the travel post into three parts. First, was the walk done in Dotonbori. Next, was Tombori River Cruise and last but not the least was the visit in Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum. There are other stuffs that you can enjoy in Dotonbori and what I did were just the few of them. The following posts below details the simple adventures that I did in Dotonbori.

Have fun reading while enjoying Osaka photos.

IMG_2359_sWalking in Dotonbori “The Japanese Broadway” (Part 1)

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Experiencing Tombori River Cruise (Part 2)

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Visiting Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum (Part 3)

Notes :
Plan to visit Osaka ? Please check latest information here.
Location : Osaka, Japan
Directions / Transportation to Osaka :
1. For official access to Osaka coming from anywhere in Japan, please check here.
Official Website : Osaka Info

Plan to visit Dotonbori ? Please check latest information here.
Location : Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
Directions / Transportation to Dotonbori :
1. For trains, there are four Namba Stations where different train lines stops near Dotonbori.
a. Take Yamatoji Line for JR Namba Station or
b. Take Hanshin-Namba or Kintetsu Limited Express or Kintetsu-Nara Line for Osaka-Namba Station or
c. Take Modosuji Line or Sen-Nichimae Line or Yotsubashi Line (all subway lines) for Namba Station or
d. Take Nankai Line or Nankai-Koya Line or Nankain Limited Express for Namba Station
2. From different station, follow the walking path towards Dotonbori
3. For official access link please refer here.
Official Website : Dotonbori

Plan to visit Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum? Please check latest information here.
Location : 1-chōme-6-4 Nanba, Chūō-ku, Osaka, 542-0076, Japan
1. From different Namba Station, follow the walking path towards Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum
2. For official access link, please refer here.
Official Website : Kamigata Ukiyoe MuseumDotonbori

Visiting Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum (Part 3 of 3)

Note:
I do apologize for more than 6 months rest from writing my travel adventures, had been busy, but still got a chance to visit some cities in USA and even got a chance to return to Japan for a while. This post is a continuation of my previous post that focusing about Dotonbori.

Before leaving Dotonbori, I visited a museum which included in the Osaka Pass that I bought. Since I love museum, I was curious what to see inside of Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum.

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One of the Ukiyoe Prints with the name of museum (sorry as it was blurred one)

Finding the museum was quite a challenge, I used my GPS in my phone and I knew that I was in front of it, but I was not sure since I did not see immediately the English Version name of the building (which can be seen only at one side) as I stand in the corner of it. The museum is a two-storey small and narrow building, because of that I had doubts if it’s the museum. Then, I entered the building and asked someone if it’s the museum that I was looking for, the Japanese lady confirmed to me that it was. Next, I showed my Osaka Pass to the lady in the counter and she exchanged it to a ticket. Then, I took upstairs to see the current exhibit displayed at that time.

Dotombori (Dotonbori)

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As part of my learning in the museum, “Kamigata” refers to Kansai region where Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe belong but not used anymore when Emperor Meiji moved to Edo (now Tokyo).

Some of the display that I found describes the old days of Dotombori (Dotonbori). The exhibits displays the entertainment information of the area including theatre descriptions and maps. Here, I understood why Dotombori is called as Japanese Broadway, because the best theatres in the country can be found in the area. Other displays even shows how busy and festive Dotombori area at its earlier times.

Settsu Meisho Zue

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Settsu Meisho Zue (illustrated famous-place picture collection which introduced Osaka’s famous place)

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Detailed description of Dotombori

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Kaomise at Dotombori (Naka-za Theatre)

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Kaomise at Kado-za Theatre

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Takeda-no-shibashi (Takeda Theatre)

A piece of history every time I discover it made me sad because a piece or part of history has been destroyed because of war. Below mentioned that almost all theatres were gone during the air raid in March 1945.

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And the Best Theatres to see in Dotombori during its old days (where some of it still exist as of this time).

Ukiyoe Paintings (Prints)

Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum is a private museum and mainly focused to display traditional Ukiyo-e artwork depicting Kabuki performers. Kamigata Ukiyo-e was produced mainly in Osaka during Edo period. The museum changed their display from time to time. At the time of my visit, they are displaying ukiyo-e paintings with the theme of “Actor’s Make-up in Ukiyo-e paintings”. It means that the exhibits features the make-up of kabuki actors.

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About Ukiyoe paintings

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Paints Used for Ukiyoe paintings

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Different color information used for Ukiyoe paintings

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Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries. Its artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of such subjects as female beauties; kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flora and fauna; and erotica. The term ukiyo-e (浮世絵) translates as “picture[s] of the floating world”.

–Wikipedia

Kokusenya Kassen

One of the display found in the exhibit was Kokusenya Kassen (The Battle of Coxinga) Ukiyoe print. It shows the puppet play created by Chikamatsu Monzaemon which portrays the historical figure named Koxinga or Coxinga (Chinese Ming loyalist resisted Qing) and depicts a jidaimono play (historical episode) restoring the rightful dynasty of China. Utagawa  Yoshitaki (also known as Ichiyosai Yoshitaki) is a famous Japanese designer of ukiyoe woodblock prints in Osaka whom created more than 1200 ukiyoe prints during his time and commonly portrays kabuki (classic Japanese dance-drama) actors.

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Kokusenya Kassen (The Battle of Coxinga)

Hagi wa Sendai Na wa Matsumoto (Matsumoto and the famous autumn flowers of Sendai)

The story of the play was said to be a rework of another play called “Meiboku sendai hagi” (Bush clover, the famous tree of Sendai) which dramatize the intrigues over the succession within Date clan of Sendai. One of the main character named Nikki Danjo conspired to overthrow Ashikaga (represents the Date Clan) Yorikane which in the end was slain. This was made by Shunkōsai Hokushū whom recognized as the most important artist in Osaka.

The ghostly rodent is actually Nikki in metamorphosis — he possesses magical powers, including the ability to turn himself into a giant rat. Nikki holds his hands in the manner associated with nercromancy as the rat emerges from his human form (note the lighter shading of the tail and hindquarters, indicating that the transformation is still in progress). Nikki is a prime example of an important role type known as jitsuaku (or tategataki) — unrepentant evil samurai who plot to overthrow their lords. They are also referred to as kuni kuzushi (“demolisher of nations”) to signify their intention to usurp an emperor’s throne or a daimyô’s domain.

The rat clenches with his teeth a scroll containing a list of conspirators planning to wrest power from Yorikane. Later, pretending to have reformed, Nikki will substitute another list and offer it as trumped-up evidence of the conspiracy, only to remove a dagger hidden within the scroll and mortally wound a counsel and ally of Yorikane’s son.

–osakaprints.com

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Hagi wa Sendai Na wa Matsumoto (Matsumoto and the famous autumn flowers of Sendai)

Arashi Rikan Lineage by Yoshikuni

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Arashi Rikan Lineage by Yoshikuni (Portrait of different roles of Arashi Rikan)

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees)

Sato Tadanobu, Yoshisune’s follower who has accompanied Yoshisune’s lover, Shizuka Gozen, is in fact a fox. It has transformed into Sato Tadanobu because the drum-head of Yoshitsune’s drum was made from the fox’s parent’s skin. Finally. Shizuka Gozen finds it out.

–Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum

One of the three most popular and famous in the Kabuki repertoire

— Wikipedia

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Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy)

Same with Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (above) ukiyoe, Sugawara Denjun Tenarai Kagami is one of the most popular play in kabuki repertoire. In the act III of this play where it titled as “The Struggle for the Carriage (Kurumabiki)”.

This famous scene, “a classic example of Kabuki’s stylized beauty”,[13] takes place in front of the Yoshida Shrine in Kyoto. The scene opens as Umeōmaru and Sakuramaru try to stop Shihei’s carriage, and are confronted by Matsuōmaru, a member of the entourage. As the pair begin to unlash the oxen and tear apart the carriage, Shihei emerges, his blue face makeup marking him as a villain. He glares at them malevolently, halting their attack.

–Wikipedia

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Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami

Shinpan Kikugoro Zukushi

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Shinpan Kikugoro Zukushi (created by Kuniyasu)

The memorial performance for Danzuo IV

Is a 9/1824 tsuizen-e depicting Ichikawa Danzo V (1788-1845) on the stage of the Kado Theater commemorating the 17th anniversary of the passing of his celebrated forebear Danzo IV (1745-1808). The 17th anniversary (actually falling in the 16th year, due to the way Japanese count such things) is an important milestone in ancestor worship. Beyond that date the deceased’s generation is understood to seriously drop off in numbers; so does interest, one can assume, even within a family.

Danzo IV (known as Shiko) had the final curtain drawn on him before single sheet Osaka printmaking had reached its flowering.* Perhaps this is one reason why Umetatsu (n.d.), an otherwise unrecorded artist, inserted him so strongly, peering down in ferocious mie from inside the triple black frame — actually the mimasu crest of the Ichikawa acting family.

Also of interest is the jaw line of the kneeling Danzo V. Thanks to regional differences in actor portraiture, the same thespian’s face was usually drawn thin and angular in Edo and soft and pudgy in Osaka.

In this case, though the print lists an Osaka publisher, Danzo V’s visage (pointedly sans make-up) betrays the narrower Edo look.

One possible reason may lie in the first part of Umetatsu’s signature — “Azumaya,” or “Easterner.” If the artist was visiting from Edo, (where he presumably would have used a different name, and where, incidentally, both Danzos were hugely celebrated), that could explain both the obscurity of the signature, and the actor’s severe jaw line.

It might also explain the rarity of this print. True, Danzo V was not performing in Osaka at the time, but one would still expect a special Ichikawa lineage tribute image like this to sell well. Perhaps Osakans reacted particularly negatively to the cut of his jaw.

–OsakaPrints.com

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The memorial performance for Danzuo IV

Azumakagami Mikari no Maki

The Ukiyoe print shown below is portion of the play of Azumakagami Mikari no Maki designed by Syunko.

Azuma Kagami is medieval text chronicles events of the Kamakura Shogunate from Minamoto no Yoritomo’s rebellion against Taira clan. It was compiled after 1266 under the directive of the Hojo shikken. It is an enormously detailed record of different activities centering on the shōgun with almost daily entries that include even notes on the weather.

–Wikipedia

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Azumakagami Mikari no Maki

Hadekurabe Ise Monogatari

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Hadekurabe Ise Monogatari

Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy)

From the scene IV of the play Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami, a print depicts the scene from Tempaizan (Mount Tempai). The ukiyoe print designed by Syunko

Kan Shojo who is leading his quiet life in exile goes to Anrakuji temple to hear the story that the ume (plum) tree that he loved in Kyoto came flying overnight. Umeomaru arrives at the scene and tells Kan Shojo about Fujiwara no Shihei’s conspiracy in Kyoto. Kan Shojo transforms into a thunder spirit from anger and ascends to heaven.

–Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum

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Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami by Syunko

Tenmangu Natane no Gokuh (The Rapeseed Offerings at Tenmangu Shrine)

The ukiyoe print was based from pure kabuki play entitled Tenmangu Natane no Gokuh which is one of the play that was written more to exploit the principles of feudal loyalty than to depict court romances.

–Rising from the Flames: The Rebirth of Theater in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952

The print displays the Kabuki actor Nakamura Shikan III is in the role of magician Ki no Haseo in the play, “Tenmangu Natane no Goku” performed at Naka Theater. The print designed by  Utagawa Sadaihiro, a Japanese artist that produced portraits from the beginning of his career. He was said to be a student of Kunisada, but then changed his name to Hirosada and became student under Sadamasu. He was active artist from 1830 to 1850.

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Nakamuraza Sankai no Zu (The Third Floor of the Nakamura Theater)

Another ukiyoe displayed was made by Utagawa Kunisada, the most popular and most commercially successfully designer of ukiyoe during 19th century in Japan. The print depicts the kabuki actors in the third floor of Nakamura Theater.

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Nakamuraza Sankai no Zu (The Third Floor of the Nakamura Theater)

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The museum also showcases a display and information of the old Dotonbori. Through exhibits, it can learned that Dotonbori was a large scale entertainment district and the south side of Dotonbori called as “play side”. Dotonbori has not only kabuki theaters, but also as puppet theaters, and even place for acrobatics or sumo matches. “Settsu Meisho Zue” (1796-1798) the picture collection of Osaka’s famous place illustrates famous places, temples, shrines, events, customs, and traditions in the particular area.

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Other stuff that found being exhibit in the museum are below:

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Notes :
Plan to visit Osaka ? Please check latest information here.
Location : Osaka, Japan
Directions / Transportation to Osaka :
1. For official access to Osaka coming from anywhere in Japan, please check here.
Official Website : Osaka Info

Plan to visit Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum? Please check latest information here.
Location : 1-chōme-6-4 Nanba, Chūō-ku, Osaka, 542-0076, Japan
Directions / Transportation to Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum:
1. For trains, there are four Namba Stations where different train lines stops near Dotonbori.
a. Take Yamatoji Line for JR Namba Station or
b. Take Hanshin-Namba or Kintetsu Limited Express or Kintetsu-Nara Line for Osaka-Namba Station or
c. Take Modosuji Line or Sen-Nichimae Line or Yotsubashi Line (all subway lines) for Namba Station or
d. Take Nankai Line or Nankai-Koya Line or Nankain Limited Express for Namba Station
2. From different station, follow the walking path towards Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum
3. For official access link, please refer here.
Official Website : Kamigata Ukiyoe MuseumDotonbori

 

Experiencing Tombori River Cruise (Part 2 of 3)

While in Dotonbori, I took the Tombori River Cruise, using Osaka Pass, to see the popular tourist district in another perspective which is from Dotonbori River itself. The boarding point of the river tour is near in Don Quijote Store Dotombori which is under construction at the time of my visit.

I checked if the queue was manageable, when I saw that there were few people waiting, I redeemed my pass to a ticket and got myself on the queue. After few minutes of waiting, we boarded the Tombori River Cruise boat. The cruise was 20 minutes which started from boarding point near Tazaemon Bridge and we moved towards Nihon Bridge. We passed Tazaemon Bridge, Aiai Bridge and Nihon Bridge, before we returned and cruised towards Minatomachi River Place. The cruise gave me another look of Dotonbori.

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Don Quijote Store Dotombori

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At Tomori River Cruise Boarding Point

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Passing Tazaemon Bridge from boarding point

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Tazaeomon Bridge coming from Aiai Bridge

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On the way to Nihon Bridge

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Under Nihon Bridge

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Dotonbori from Dotonbori River

Towards Aiai Bridge

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At Tombori River Walk

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Tombori River Cruise Boarding Point

On our way to Minatomachi River Place, when we approached Ebisu Bridge, I found lots of people having photo shots in popular bridge. At the left side of Tombori River Walk, there were Japanese entertainment shows being performed and tourist can freely watch and enjoy them. I saw group of women performing like a K-Pop girl group version of Japan while singing and dancing.

The river cruise ended and I did enjoy a quick trip with the boat. Next, I did a few walks from Tazaemon Bridge towards Sinnichimae Street to explore the other parts of shopping area in Dotonbori.

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On the way to Ebisu Bridge

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People watching entertainment along Tombori River Walk

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Performing Entertainment Artist at Tombori River Walk

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The famous Glico Sign near Ebisu Bridge

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On the way to Daikoku Bridge

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Namba Hatch and Daikoku Bridge

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On the way to Fukari Bridge

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Namba Hatch

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Canal Terrace Horie

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Ukiniwa Bridge while some of us waves with other people in Canal Terrace Horie

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Sumiyoshi Bridge

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From Dotonbori River, Ukiniwa Bridge with Canal Terrace Horie and Namba Hatch (Minatomachi River Place)

 

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Namba Hatch (Minatomachi River Place)

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Naniwa Exploration Cruise Boat at Minatomachi Dock

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Daikoku Bridge

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Shin-Ebisu Bridge

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Ebisu Bridge

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At Tombori River Cruise Boarding Point

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Sennichimae Street

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Along Dotonbori

Before completely leaving Dotonbori, I visited Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, a museum that I can use my Osaka Pass to further explore Dotonbori regarding its culture and arts through Ukiyoe prints.

Until then.

Notes :
Plan to visit Osaka ? Please check latest information here.
Location : Osaka, Japan
Directions / Transportation to Osaka :
1. For official access to Osaka coming from anywhere in Japan, please check here.
Official Website : Osaka Info

Plan to visit Dotonbori ? Please check latest information here.
Location : Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
Directions / Transportation to Dotonbori :
1. For trains, there are four Namba Stations where different train lines stops near Dotonbori.
a. Take Yamatoji Line for JR Namba Station or
b. Take Hanshin-Namba or Kintetsu Limited Express or Kintetsu-Nara Line for Osaka-Namba Station or
c. Take Modosuji Line or Sen-Nichimae Line or Yotsubashi Line (all subway lines) for Namba Station or
d. Take Nankai Line or Nankai-Koya Line or Nankain Limited Express for Namba Station
2. From different station, follow the walking path towards Dotonbori
3. For official access link please refer here.
Official Website : Tombori River WalkDotonbori

Walking in Dotonbori “The Japanese Broadway” (Part 1 of 3)

I left Namba City, walked beside the road where Hanshin Expressway can be seen at the top. I followed my GPS in my phone and crossed multiple roads until I found myself near in Namba Hatch or Minatomachi River Place. It was the first place for the day that I took out my camera and played with it. It was late Saturday morning before lunch time, but the place was still pretty quiet. I walked around Namba Hatch and enjoyed taking photos of the place since it stands beside Dotonbori River. I sensed through different restaurants that surrounds it, that the place is likely busy at night.

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Namba Hatch

From the ground outside Namba Hatch, I took stairs to cross lovely walking bridge (Ukiniwa Bridge). At the bridge I had a 360 degree view and I took photos around the place where I enjoyed scenery of Dotonbori River, Namba Hatch and Minatomachi River Place. It was a relaxing place to see.

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Walking bridge (Ukiniwa Bridge) near Namba Hatch

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Dotonbori River with Sumiyoshi Bridge (peach bridge) and Naniwa-Suji (blue bridge)

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Dotonbori River with Ukiniwa Bridge and Canal Terrace Horie

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Dotonbori River, Canal Terrace Horie and Tombori River Cruise Boat

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Dotonbori River with Fukari Bridge (blue bridge) and Hanshin Expressway (road at the top)

After enjoying Namba Hatch, Canal Terrace Horie and Minatomachi River Place from Ukiniwa Bridge, I walked towards Dotonbori where majority of people can be found. I crossed Fukari Bridge and stopped in Daikoku Bridge where I had a chance of photo shots of Dotonbori River.

Then, I walked towards Shin-Ebisu Bridge and had couple of photos of famous Dotonbori and Dotonbori River. I explored Dotonbori continuously, the shopping, food and entertainment district of Osaka.

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Daikoku Bridge

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Dotonbori River with Shin-Ebisu Bridge and Dotombori Bridge from Daikoku Bridge

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Along Dotonbori

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Dotombori-bashi

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Namba Hatch, Daikoku Bridge, Hanshin Expressway (road at the top) and Dotonbori River from Shin-Ebisu Bridge

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Shin-Ebisu Bridge

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Namba Hatch, Daikoku Bridge, Hanshin Expressway (road at the top), Shin-Ebisu Bridge and Dotonbori River from Dotombori-bashi

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The other end of Dotonbori

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Namba Hips

I crossed a major road to reach the other half of Dotonbori, the most populous area of the shopping district. But before crossing, I saw a unique building called Namba Hips. My stroll in Dotonbori continued and my curiosity still with me while taking photos of the streets. At the other side of Dotonbori, the first thing that greeted me was the Osaka Shochikuza Theatre. Then, I passed the famous crab cuisine restaurant called Kani Doraku Dotombori Hoten. Then followed by walking towards Ebisu Bridge where lots of people take their photos as it was the great spot to say to the world that you are in Dotonbori – the popular dining and theatre district in Japan. Dotonbori is the Japanese version of American Broadway.

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Osaka Shochikuza Theatre

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Along Dotonbori

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At Dotonbori near Ebisu Bridge

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At Ebisu Bridge looking towards Tombori Walk River with Tazaemon Bridge

From famous Ebisu Bridge, there were shopping avenues to enjoy. The Shansai-Bashi-Suji and Ebisu-Bashi-Suji. I peeked both avenues from Ebisu Bridge and I chose Shansai-Bashi-Suji as it seems it is the most exciting to walk, because of too many people passing on it. I walked partially in Shinsaibashisuji shopping arcade, then, I returned to Ebisu Bridge before walking to Soemoncho Street.

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Ebisu-Bashi-Suji

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Shin Sai-Bashi Suji

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A walk inside Shin saibashi Suji

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After walking the shopping and market street in Dotonbori, I tried to see the place via boat.

Until then.

Notes :
Plan to visit Osaka ? Please check latest information here.
Location : Osaka, Japan
Directions / Transportation to Osaka :
1. For official access to Osaka coming from anywhere in Japan, please check here.
Official Website : Osaka Info

Plan to visit Dotonbori ? Please check latest information here.
Location : Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
Directions / Transportation to Dotonbori :
1. For trains, there are four Namba Stations where different train lines stops near Dotonbori.
a. Take Yamatoji Line for JR Namba Station or
b. Take Hanshin-Namba or Kintetsu Limited Express or Kintetsu-Nara Line for Osaka-Namba Station or
c. Take Modosuji Line or Sen-Nichimae Line or Yotsubashi Line (all subway lines) for Namba Station or
d. Take Nankai Line or Nankai-Koya Line or Nankain Limited Express for Namba Station
2. From different station, follow the walking path towards Dotonbori
3. For official access link please refer here.
Official Website : Dotonbori

Takatsuki Walks : A Trek to Kabusanji Temple

My second trip to Japan started from Kansai Region which located at the middle of Honshu Island, the largest island in Japan. My flight was booked 6 months ago prior to travel schedule through Jetstar airline from Manila to Osaka.

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Landing at Kansai International Airport

From the time I landed in Kansai International Airport. I knew that I have to plan my day. I had rough plan where to go, but I was not in the mood to be in a busy area where most tourist go, so I checked the other itineraries that I had in my phone while walking inside the airport. After passing immigration area, I picked-up the pocket WiFi I rented together when I bought Japan Rail Pass at JAL ABC counter at Terminal 1. And then I connect to the internet immediately. I withdraw few thousand yen as my initial budget. While sitting in waiting area as I was checking my phone within the Terminal 1, I heard my name was being called. And the call was repeated. I felt nervous that time, I wondered why they calling my name. Then, I went to the information and I told them my name was called. Then, they presented my blue wallet where my old passport was and other stuff. That was the time I realized I was missing of it. Then, they requested me some ID and I presented my current passport. I was very thankful that my stuff was returned to me. It was a relief. It was the second time during my travel in Japan, that a lost item returned to me. I remembered my jacket of my father which also lost in Narita Airport in Tokyo after we passed the immigration area last 2015, which also returned to us. Japan has great credibility in terms of helping someone who lost something.

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Nankai Line Limited Express Rapi:t train

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Kansai Airport Station

After my wallet incident, I checked everything and when felt settled, I went outside the terminal and walked towards Kansai-airport Station. I bought ticket to reach my hotel first as my week JR Pass is not yet activated. I took Nankai Line Limited Express Rapi:t train from Terminal 1 to Namba Station in Osaka, it stopped at Shin-Imamiya Station where my hotel that I booked for 3 nights in the city was located.

I was able to use my Agoda points to have an affordable single room in the city. The accommodation is quite expensive during my travel in Japan because it’s Spring-Summer season. I arrived to my intended Station and looked for my accommodation which is just few steps from JR Shin-Imamiya Station, the Hotel Shin-Imamiya. At the hotel, I approached the hotel lobby and talked to the customer officers and informed them that I will leave my luggage since it still early for my check-in. Instead of waiting for my check-in time,  I started exploring the city.

I left the hotel still thinking what to do for that day. And I go back to my notes of tentative plan while in Osaka in my phone. I have this notes of climbing or hiking which is away from Osaka metropolis. I found the itinerary of climbing a bit to the temple though there are other trekking trails available but I just decided to do a bit of trekking up only to the Buddhist temple. I followed the instructions mentioned in the website how to get there.

I used one of my pasmo cards that I brought which I bought during my first trip in Japan with my family last 2015. I told the gate officer that I wanted to top-up my card and they allowed me to get in so I can top-up my card. Then after topping up, I went back to the gate and started using it. Then, I transferred to the JR gate which was wrong because I entered the first gate is Nankai Line which different from JR Lines, one of the things not to mix with train line. My card alarmed which I don’t understand at first then I approached the gate with officer so they can check my recently topped-up card. And they fix it in just few seconds.

I took JR Osaka Loop Line train and transferred at Osaka station. Next, I took rapid train JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line and get off at Takatsuki Station. I walked from train station to the bus terminal (JR Takatsuki ekikita Bus Stop) just outside the JR station. At first I got a challenge which bus that I should take. Looking at the bus numbers and my google maps, I was quite confused. Even though I don’t speak Japanese, I still tried to asked help while speaking in English. I showed to them the website that I was looking for and showed them the temple photo and they seem to understand, I am telling them the name of the bus stop based on the Google Map information I had.  The Japanese seems to understand which place that I wanted to go and the one I was talking to, talked to the bus driver that I got in and I felt he told him where he can drop me off.

While inside the bus, I used Google maps with enabling GPS in my phone. It helped me to track where I am at the moment and I will know if I am near the bus top that I should be getting off.  I always check the screen near the driver as it tells me exactly the next bus stop. I got-off at Kabusanguchi Bus Stop. Then, I found myself in a small town which located and surrounded by hills and farms. And the temple that I was looking for is located in one of the hills. I crossed the road and I walked following the tracks using Google Directions in my phone.

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At Kabusanguchi Bus Stop

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The map I saw after crossing the road

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The unknown road that I took towards the mountain

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A spot where I found the First Trail (not in the picture) as start of walking / trekking trail to Kabusanji Temple

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The shortest walking trail to Kabusanji Temple – First Trail

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One of the lasting Azalea flower

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Mountain Gate (Torii Gate) towards Kabusanji Temple – Second Trail

There are two walking trails available to reach Kabusanji Temple that I saw. First is walking trail only for people and another one starting from the Mountain Gate or Torii Gate where vehicles can pass through as well. These two trails will combine to the mountain road towards the temple before reaching the parking lot. Since I hesitated to take the shortest trail, I ended up following the longest trail where the Mountain Gate is. Along the way, I saw some people who do regular exercise and coming down from the mountain.  Then, some few cars going the same directions that I was which is going up to the temple.

The walk was not arduous since I mostly walk in the road which I can say a gradual climb to the temple. While I was walking, I was wondering, what I was thinking and did the trekking by myself. Then, I answered my own question, I just wanted to go to the place where few people is visiting. But because I wanted to do a trekking, even though my destination is a temple of another faith, I still pushed the plan, not only because I wanted to hike a bit, but to see the place,  nature and its surroundings.

Based from official website of Osaka, check here, the temple named Kabusanji Temple has been in the mountain for over 1300 years and there was a belief that the dragons are said to live. Well different faith has different beliefs when it comes to mountains. Even myself has another way to view about mountains.

I passed the parking lot, which means that I was halfway distance to the temple. Before I reached the gate of the temple, I saw a cafeteria just beside it. And there were few people in the cafeteria and looking at me which seems wondering why a foreigner like me was there in the first place.

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Niomon (With Koimainu – statue pairs of lion-like creatures guarding the entrance and Gate of Deva – A Deva King image is enshrined in this gate)

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Around the temple gate

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Temple Cafeteria

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To Honzanji Trail (Right Side Road)

I continued my walk until I found a familiar structure nearby, I knew that I already found the one that I was looking for as I had seen the gate of the temple that I saw in internet. I took a couple of photos of surrounding areas where I had seen a cafeteria not far from Niomon or Main Gate. I entered the gate where a pair of Koinamu displayed at both sides and the Gate of Deva.

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King Deva at Niomon (Main Gate)

I explored the surroundings as I entered the Niomon or Main Gate. And in every couple of steps that I made, I took photos. I crossed with few people on my walks whom visited the temple mostly for prayers and not for touristm as what I do. Within the temple I saw sub-temples or buildings.

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Jakujo-in Temple (Left) and stairs towards Hondo

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Kejyo-in

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Hotoin

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On the way to Hondo

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Mizuko Jizo

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Before reaching Hondo

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Hondo (Main Hall)

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Shakado

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Kaisando

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Kannondo

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Reihoin

I walked around the temple, without knowing if I am doing something bad while I was there. Based on the information I got, from official tourism website of Osaka, the main temple has the Buddha, but because I have to make reservation and pay to enter and see it, I was not able to see it. I am not a Buddhist so I just quietly walk around the garden of the main building.

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Jakujo-in Temple

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Jakujo-in Temple Garden

While returning to the bus stop. I took sometime to appreciate the farm area. And the mountains that surrounds the small town. For me, the scenery is very relaxing.

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Remote town of Takatsuki with farms

My next destination was still around Takatsuki area which is to see Akutagawa River, the famous place during cherry blossom season but because its late spring, no cherry flower can be seen, even though that was the case, I followed the information since I was around the city.

While at Kabu sanguchi, I looked for the bus stop sign, but I cannot find it. I am trying to find the same sign of the bus stop that I got off  at the other side, when I went to the Kabusanji Temple. But I was having a hard time to find it. I approached the old Japanese man and asked him if he can help me find the bus stop sign. Then, he looked for it and he cannot find it as well. So he called the younger male and even asked for help to find the bus stop. I was ashamed a bit because I knew that I bothered these people but, they helped me to find the bus stop sign. The reason I cannot find the bus stop sign is because the sign is dusty and stands in not so noticeable spot. That explains why I cannot find it immediately, the young male even told me what time bus will arrive. I was very thankful to them, I just told them “Sumimasen” saying sorry politely as I bothered them by asking for help.

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Kabusanguchi Bus Stop towards JR Takatsuki Station

I waited for the bus and after 5-10 minutes, I took the next bus came and then I got off at Hattori bus stop. Like the same thing that I do, I looked for Google Maps and tried to look for the destination that I wanted to be which is Akutagawa River. I walked a lot already so I planned that the Akutagawa River to be my last destination to enjoy in the area even though there are still 2 more suggested places to see in Takatsuki.

I walked from Hattori bus stop and I turned right and follow the directions that Google Maps it telling me. One thing that I enjoyed about the walk even though I started to feel exhausted with my feet were the flowing water that are soothing to the ears. The sound is very natural and that’s what the website tells me as well. Though I still don’t see the river, I can really feel that it’s just nearby. I found the river and there I took some photos and rested a bit.

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Akutagawa River

Then, I walked back to the bus stop that I can possibly hopped on that will send me back to Takatsuki Station. When I reached Takatsuki Station, I walked a bit in the nearby station before going back to my hotel and end my day since I haven’t got much sleep as I traveled early in the morning.

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Near Al Plaza beside Takatsuki Station

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Takatsuki Bus Stop and Takatsuki Station

Tips :

There are two things that I usually used during my trip in Japan, visit Hyperdia.com and Google Maps to see where I am and its Directions to see how I will go to the specific destination that I wanted to be. Google Maps information seems to be reliable when I checked Hyperdia specifically for the next trains that I can hopped-on.

Notes :
Plan to visit Takatsuki City ? Please check latest information here.
Location : Takatsuki, Osaka, Japan
Directions / Transportation to Takatsuki :
1. Take JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line and get off at Takatsuki Station
Official Website : Takatsuki City

Plan to visit Kabusanji Temple? Please check latest information here.
Location : 3360 Hara, Takatsuki, Osaka 569-1051, Japan
Directions / Transportation to Kabusanji Temple :
1. Take JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line and get off at Takatsuki Station
2. Take bus Haraohashi 53 and get off at Kabu Sanguchi Bus Stop
3. Follow the walking trails from bus stop to Kabusanji Temple
4. Visit the official access link to reach the temple here.
Official Website : Kabusanji Temple

Kyoto Walks : From Chion-In Temple to Yasaka Shrine to Kiyomizu-dera Temple to Fushimi Inari Taisha

The last part of my travel in Japan that was left unpublished during the first tour with my family was all about Kyoto Prefecture. After a day tour in Universal Studios in Osaka, the next day was focused in Kyoto, our second to the last day in Japan. The exploration time that we spent in Kyoto was very limited to a day since the next day, we have to go back to Tokyo. When the adventure was limited to one day, this caused me a bit of sadness because there are lots of places to see and enjoy in Kyoto and we were running out of time again, I wished that we can stay longer but we can’t.

From Kyoto Station, we reserved our JR bullet train ticket for the next day travel to Tokyo as we planned to leave the city early in the morning. Next, we went to the tourist information center inside the station. Information center is one of the places that I really enjoyed and spent some time because it helped me and gave me ideas where to go, it is like a starting point before going anywhere in the city. As usual, I picked a lot of brochures again. I approached one of the personnel at the center and inquired some thoughts where to go in Kyoto for the day. She picked-up a map and showed us some interesting places to see and how to go there. Then, she introduced a day pass since our JR Pass cannot be used in local bus within the old city. After few more minutes of discussion with the volunteer in the visitor center, we started our adventure in Kyoto by following the recommended places that we must visit as starter.

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Kyoto Sightseeing Day Pass

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Kyoto Station

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Kyoto Tower from Kyoto Ekimae Bus Stop

We bought a sightseeing 1 day pass and went outside of the station. We walked towards Kyoto Bus Stop and we looked at each bus stop until we found that goes to Gion. The bus terminal which just beside the train station is strategic and convenient for passengers specifically for visitors that wanted to explore the city on their own. Like my family whom traveling in a budget. The queue to the bus was a bit long which means one thing, there were many tourist coming to Kyoto to see this historical and traditional city of Japan. We waited a bit in the queue until it’s our turn to get on the bus. The bus was full pack of people and there were even standing at the center aisle of the bus. Inside the bus, there were some locals and foreigners wearing kimono, the traditional Japanese clothing, and to be honest I liked seeing people wearing traditional clothes, because it’s just fitting to the place like Kyoto, as the city still has an ambiance of slow life-like an old Japanese time.

We got off at Gion bus stop. And we walked towards Shinbashi Dori. When we were near Shinbashi Dori, we crossed the road to reach Chion-in-michi, the road that led us to reach the first temple we visited in Kyoto – Chion-In Temple.

Chion-In Temple – 17th Century Temple Headquarters of Jodo Shu Buddhism

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When we reached the temple gate along the Higashi Oji Dori, I just observed that there were lots of tourist came in bus, as they arrived at the front gate of the temple called Sanmon while my family and I walked to reach the gate. When we were near in Sanmon there were many visitors astray in the ground. We started our walk in the temple ground from Sanmon. We explored the surrounding areas that are free to public as there are locations in the temple that requires payment to be able to access the area like garden, but we decided to take a look at the surroundings that are already available.

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After passing Sanmon, which is the main gate of the temple, we took another stairs to reach buildings. Unfortunately, during the visit, the main hall named Mieido is under renovation, which prevented us to see it as it is fully covered by nice and neat metal building. I admired Japanese on how they renovate a temple. For me, it only means one thing, they really take good care of what they considered national treasures of their country. We approached buildings near Mieido, one is called Kyozo where it has a nice garden beside it. We also walked towards a building called Amida-do.

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Sanmon

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Mieido – Under Renovation

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Kyozo Garden

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Amida-do

We took another stairs but its longer and has more steps than the previous one. It looks tiring just thinking how many steps it has to reach the top. But, even that was the case, three of us in the family took challenge except for my mother whom just rested in Mieido area. When we reached the end of the stairs, we saw Seishido Temple at the left. Then, we walked at the right side and explore Isshin-in Temple and beside a cemetery can be found.

Coming from Isshin-In Temple, we descended the stairs until we returned to Mieido area. We walked towards Kyozo Temple and approached Tahoto Pagoda too. When we reached Shuedo, we went inside the building out of curiosity. But because it’s not allowed to take photos inside the temple. We just silently observed people came inside it where most of them rendered their prayers.

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Stairs

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Isshin-in

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Kyozo

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