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

 

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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

Structure : Osaka Shochikuza Theatre

Structure (Post#25) : Osaka Shochikuza Theatre

Photos of the day are all about Osaka Shochikuza Theatre. During the visit in Dotonbori, I wanted to watch a Kabuki, a classical Japanese dance drama but unfortunately the available shows scheduled at the time of the visit does not have English audio available, I decided not to push because I wanted to understand the show even by just listening to audio translation to be able to relate what’s happening in the drama. Dotonbori is called as Japanese Broadway because it is the place where lots of theaters were born to show kabuki and other entertainment performances. Osaka Shochikuza were built in 1923 and is the first western style theater in Kansai region. A neo-renaissance style architecture characterized by a large arch on the front, designed by Obayashi team Kimura Tokusaburo. These photos are part of Osaka Tour last May 2017.

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Notes : 
Photo : Dotonbori, Osaka Shochikuza Theatre
Location : 1-chōme-9-19 Dōtonbori, Chūō-ku, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
Directions / Transportation :
1. For trains, there are four Namba Stations where different train lines stops near Namba Hatch.
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 : Osaka Shochikuza TheatreDotonbori

Name Of The Place : Dotonbori

Name Of The Place (Post#63) : Dotonbori

Photos of the day are all about the name of Dotonbori where its history started from the local entrepreneur named Mr. Yasui Douton which initiated the project of constructing the canal to improve the commerce in the place. But he was died durin”The Seige of Osaka”.  But even he died, his project continued by his cousin name Mr. Douboku. The name Dotonbori was came from “Douton” and “bori” which means a canal. These photos are part of Osaka Tour last May 2017.

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Notes : 
Photo : Dotonbori
Location : Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
Directions / Transportation :
1. For trains, there are four Namba Stations where different train lines stops near Namba Hatch.
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

Live in a Dreamworld for a Day (Universal Studios – Osaka)

It was around 4PM in the afternoon, we were set to travel from Hiroshima to Kyoto. We spent at least 1.5 days in Hiroshima and so far we enjoyed the adventure we had. When the time that we were moving again to another destination in Japan, distance between these two prefectures seems not an issue. Transportation is one of the great thing that we enjoyed within Japan specially their trains. We traveled to Kyoto Station through Shinkansen train from Hiroshima Station and we only traveled more than 2 hours between two stations.

We arrived at Kyoto past 6:30PM and we met the AirBnB host of the accommodation that I booked online at Mc Donalds in Kyoto Station. He’s a young  man and a business student Japanese who owns a small two-storied unit near the Kyoto Station. We walked from Kyoto Station around 5 minutes and we reached his house. His unit just recently renovated and even it has only basic stuff in his house, we still enjoyed our three nights stay in his unit. He speaks English very well and I don’t have issues in communications with him.

After meeting him, my sister and I left my parents in the unit to buy our dinner for the night. And then we came back in the house and had our dinner. We took off some of our stuffs so we can do our laundry. Then had a rest for the day.

The next day was Thursday and the original plan for that day is to explore Nara. But my sister requested it to change since she like Universal Studios in Osaka than in Nara. Nara is my preference because I really like old town and historical places but I gave way to my sister since I can return in Japan within my 5 years visa that was given to me and my family just had single entry visa.

Because we have 7 days Japan Rail Pass, we can choose to take Shikansen train from Kyoto to Osaka Station but that day we never tried because I thought that if we took Shinkansen its better if we book it prior to our travel, but since I did not book it even though there are seats for chance passengers for unreserved seat I chose the regular train instead. I really don’t know what I was thinking that time and we traveled more than half an hour from Kyoto to Osaka. If we took Shinkansen, it maybe only around 15 minutes. We still took JR trains and our train pass still valid for our travel. We reached Osaka Station. Then we transferred to a local train from Osaka Station that goes directly to JR Universal City Station.

When we reached the JR Universal City Station the heavy rain fell. From the station we were still able to walk near the main entrance of the theme park which called as Universal City Walk and the area is surrounded by different shopping stores where our eyes enjoying the sight-seeing while walking along the way. Before we bought the ticket, we went the nearby store  and bought our rain coat. Even its raining there are lots of people visiting the famous park. For my sister and I, it’s a second Universal Studios that we visited. The first one was in Singapore.

We lined in ticketing queue and bought our tickets. Even the weather was quite gloomy, our excitement never gone. In a theme park like Universal Studios, I felt like being a kid again. It’s kind of place that I forget reality of life for a moment, it’s a place where to enjoy regardless of age.

Here’s the one day adventure we had in Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN – OSAKA 

From the main entrance we walked in the main road together with other many visitors. While walking around the theme park, stopping in some areas for a photo snapshot was already part of the adventure. Using the map that was given to us, we started looking at it and exploring the theme park.

HOLLYWOOD

Our first stop was photo shots at the front of Cinema 4D wherein the available shows listed at the front of the theater were the following: Shrek’s Adventure 4D and Sesame Street 4D Movie Magic.

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4D Cinema

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Looking at the theme park map

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Walking photos

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Next, we move forward towards Space Fantasy and again we took photos of around the area.

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NEW YORK – Themed after New York City

After few minutes, we found ourselves inside the Terminator 2 3-D, where it combines actors and movie effects to be are part of the movie. As we seat and watch, we enjoyed the action packed 3D movie and made us feel it’s real as we were part of it.

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After watching the Terminator 2, we went outside and realized that the other side is Gramercy Park where we found a replica of Universal Globe stage

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Near Gramercy Park is The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

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Surroundings of New York

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We had lunch in one of the restaurant in New York named Louie’s NY Pizza Parlor Restaurant. We spent almost an hour before we continued our exploration in the movie theme park.

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SAN FRANCISCO – Based on the city of San Francisco

Beside New York  is San Francisco. The settings of the area got from the city of San Francisco.

After walking a bit in New York, we reached San Francisco. How I wish in reality New York and San Francisco are just beside each other but in reality it’s not, for what I know its four hours flight apart. In Universal Studios, they are beside each other. We just took a few steps from New York, we were already in San Francisco. The first thing that greeted us was the Minions, then we walk towards the ‘Backdraft’ from a movie and we found Happiness Cafe, The Dragon’s Pearl, Wharf Cafe and Lombard’s Landing that surrounds the pier .

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One of the rides that we took in San Francisco was the “Back To The Future – Ride”. Here the whole family join the ride. Of course we consider my mother as she is not used to ride but since its a car, I got a feeling that its more comfortable than the other rides. The experience we had in the rides together with my mother which not used to the said adventure, she’s really nervous and all of us tried to comfort her and made her feel relax. During the ride, I cannot forget her reactions and responses while we were in the ride, she’s really scared and surprised in the whole duration of the rides and in effect, I tried my best to reassured her that we were there for her and she can hold us to make her feel secure during the adventure.

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From San Francisco, we passed the Jurassic Park area because at the time we visited, the area was under renovations. We also passed the Amity Village and Water World for the mean time. Therefore, we walked straight towards the most famous area of the theme park which is “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” one of the newest attractions that Universal Studios is offering.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

When we reached the location near the entrance, there were some crew whose checks the time entry ticket to confirm the time entrance of the visitor in “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And we were a bit of surprised since we do not have one. And I inquired with some crew and advised us get the ticket at the booth. At that time, we don’t know where is the ticket booth. We walked back to the entrance and for some reason we queued in one line at the right side of the entrance and never even checked the ticket. I think they checked the time entry ticket to control the number of people in the attractions since a lot of people coming to that attraction.

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Even we haven’t had the ticket, we still managed to get inside the attraction. We were so grateful that we found the attraction since the area made us feel that we were really in the world of Harry Potter. The place are set with the ambiance of the Harry Potter movie which includes the village of the wizards and the famous Hogwarts Castle. Because we were too late to get time entry ticket when we entered the theme park, we only got a chance to see the area. We never got a chance to take the ride of the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3D” which I considered the most famous ride in the theme park. From the entrance of the attractions, we grab the chance to take pictures together as family as our souvenir in the place. Then, we walked around the village to see more, we found diners and restaurants available inside the village.

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Some snapshots inside the village of the wizards

Our walks continued until we reach where most people go, the Hogwarts Castle. Near the gate, we found some group of look-alike wizards, singing like a choir which entertains people. If we saw a lot of people in the village there are far more at the vicinity of the castle. There are lots of people waiting in the queue. If other attractions just have at least few minutes to less than an hour of waiting time, its different in “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3D”, because the waiting time is at least 3 hours. And I looked at my watched and we were running out of time but still we eager to go inside the ride. I told my family to stay and wait for me so I can checked the booth and taking my chance if I can still get ticket for the ride. I went outside the attraction and looked for the booth. I found the ticket but unfortunately it’s already closed. My hope was gone and I can’t do anything about it. Universal Studios Japan was the second Universal Studios that I visited, the first one was in Singapore, but it’s quite different from what I remembered, we were not aware about the ticketing in the machine so you have the timings when to visit the ride. I never remembered there was such thing in Singapore when I visited last 2013, but its more than two years and there could be a lot of changes happened in the theme park. If only we were aware, we might prioritize the Harry Potter attractions among those attractions we found in the theme park. Because we lost our chance in the ride, what we did was to go around the attraction and took pictures as long as we can. That’s how we enjoyed “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”

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Hogwarts Castle Snapshots

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Side views of Hogwarts Castle

AMITY VILLAGE and WATER WORLD

There were two major areas we just passed and we just took souvenir photos in the place as the time we had in the park became limited because we need to go somewhere else in the evening. These two attractions are Amity Village where movie JAWS ride can be found and WATER WORLD.

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UNIVERSAL WONDERLAND

The last but not the least area we visited was Universal Wonderland. As you can see, these attractions are mostly for young children as the concept were design for wholesome and family alike adventures. Not all rides of course are available for adult but there were rides which allows children with adult company. But we enjoyed the area as we had fun in attractions such as Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Dream rides and Hello Kitty’s Ribbon Collection

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Flying Snoopy

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Inside Hello Kitty’s Ribbon Collection

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Hello Kitty’s Fashion Avenue

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Big Bird’s Big Top Circus
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Elmo’s Little Drive near Moppy’s Balloon Trip ride (at the back)

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Big Bird’s Big Top Circus and Moppy’s Balloon Trip ride

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As we leave Universal Studios, we had a chance to take some time and appreciate the surrounding areas, because at the time we were on our way to the theme park, we missed to see how fascinating the area can be due to rain.

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Universal City Walk (towards Universal City Station)

As we experience the theme park and as we tried some of the rides. We had some delayed understanding while roaming around the park regarding the rides entrance. There’s a priority ticket which bypass most of the queues. For a regular ticket which we just understand a bit of late wherein in every rides, there’s entrance reservation kiosks where you have to reserved for the next scheduled entry. We were able to follow the rules in few rides but we missed to do it in one of the most visited, one of the newest and exciting ride in the theme park which is Harry Potter. But even though that was the case, we still enjoyed Universal Studios Osaka.

Transportation : Japan – Bullet Train

Transportation (Post#3) : Japan – Bullet Train

One of the things that made us happy and we will never forget an experience was, when we had a chance to travel in Japan through bullet train. Bullet train in Japan are one of the fastest train available in Earth. And this kind of transportation seems to be just another common transportation mode that being look as moving people in a fast way. What I like the most about this bullet train, the ambiance inside of it is similar to an airplane. The travel was so smooth and you will just surprise in just few hours, you were already in your destination. Snapshot captured during Japan adventure last September 2015.

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Japan Highlights At The First Visit

I know that it’s been a while since my last post. After being busy in a project at work, I was busy planning my next out of the country adventure this year together with my family.

Traveling in a country with visa is most likely a dream to me because your chances to see that country is whether the visa application is approved. If the visa approved we are really lucky. If not, the hope will probably gone as there’s no way to come to that country in a normal and legal way.

When I heard that Japan loosen a bit of its strictness in processing visa specifically for tourists visa to promote their tourism, I put some thought to visit the country since last year. Then, I waited my chance for cheap airline ticket since I am planning to travel together with my family (with my parents and my youngest sibling). Last February this year, I received alert email from one of the budget airline in my country and I grabbed my chance to book tickets for myself and my family. Honestly, it was difficult to get cheap ticket with combined promo rate both for departure and arrival flight but with perseverance I was able to find combinations of dates for our travel.

Almost 7 months had passed and I’m still not sure if we can really travel to Japan for many reasons. And last August, I processed all our visa applications and submitted it to one of the authorized travel agency of Japan Embassy as their office does not accept anymore applications directly from applicant. I completed all the requirements and prepared for the visa fee. I applied a single entry for all of us. And after 3 days of processing, the agency called me and notified me that the visa were already approved. I was ecstatic when I heard the news, because the major worry of the travel planning if we can push visiting Japan got resolved. When I returned to pickup the passports, I was surprised for one thing. I received a multiple visa for 5 years in Japan while the rest of my family just got single entry. For me and my family, being approved even for single entry in Japan was one of the great things happened because it gave us a chance to see the country even for once. I just thought that if there is a need to re-apply for visa, it will be probably easier because we’ve had a record that we had visited Japan.

Even before visa application processing, I already started searching places to visit in Japan. Since after the booking of our flight, I have hope that I will be able to see Japan. When our visa approved, that’s was the time I made a real itinerary. I planned the places to visit and the accommodation where were going to stay. I aligned all the accommodations that we need to all places we planned to visit. Since I’m always on a budget, I selected hotels walk able to and from the train station, as I learned that taking a cab in Japan is quite pricey. I also bought necessary advance tickets such as train pass and sumo ticket to reserved guaranteed slot for my family.

My family and I traveled the country within 10 days, these includes two flights to and from Japan. In total we spent at least 8.5 days roaming around in Japan.

Here are the following places we’ve  got a chance to visit.

1. Tokyo

Ginza

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