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Osaka

Shinsekai (新世界), meaning “new world”, is a neighborhood with an interesting history. Located in the southern part of Osaka, Shinsekai was originally modeled after Paris, complete with a large, Eiffel Tower-like structure. It used to be home to Luna Park, an amusement park, although that shut down in the late 1920s. Since the shutdown of Luna Park, Shinsekai became a desolate and rather poor area. For a point in time, it...

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Known as “Japan’s kitchen”, Osaka is one of my favorite cities. There is a huge food culture associated with this region, and in the middle of it all is Dotonbori. Dotonbori is the symbol of Osaka and the epitome of kuidaore (食い倒れ). So just what is kuidaore? It literally means “eat until you drop”, and it’s something easy to do while visiting the area. The most iconic of the Osaka region specialties...

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Suntory is a famous manufacturer of drinks- both carbonated and alcoholic in Japan, but what they are most known for is their ‘Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky’. The company itself was founded in Osaka, but the brewery is located on the northern edge of the city closer to Kyoto. Tours are offered to the public, and even if you hate whisky like I do, the tour was still very enjoyable. As we approached the Yamazaki stop on the...

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The southern part of Edo Castle, present downtown Tokyo, was a shallows when it was being built early in the 17th century.   The then government implemented the reclamation work to make today’s Marunouchi, Yaesu, Nihonbashi and Shinbashi, utilizing the masses of soil produced by the moat construction work of Edo Castle. In accordance with the development of Edo, the feudal government had continued the landfill work for more than...

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Although there are around 10,000 railway stations in Japan, few old station buildings of original shape can be found in that most station buildings were made of wood.  From the view point of architectural value, Hamadera-koen Station in Sakai City, Osaka, and Nikko Station in Tochigi Prefecture are well known, however Moji-ko Station in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, as shown in the first picture, is regarded as the best in...

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Japan’s leading traditional theatrical art ‘Bunraku’, played by men, is made up of three kinds of professions ‘san-gyo’. They are narrator ‘dayu’,three-stringed musical instrument player ‘shamisen’ and puppeteers ‘ningyo-zukai’. This art has been developed since the 17th century when Japan’s older puppet play met an older dramatic recitation called...

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