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Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006

KANSAI: Who & What

English guided tour to archery contest:
A volunteer guide is organizing a one-day tour for English-speaking foreigners Jan. 15 to observe an archery contest at Rengeo-in Temple's Sanjusangen-do Hall in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto.

The temple, known for its 1,001 Buddhist statues, will hold its annual contest in which archers, including young people who have turned 20 during the past year, will try to hit a target 60 meters away.

Participants will meet guide Paul Satoh at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Kyoto City Tourist Information Office on the second floor of the JR Kyoto Station building.

Fees include the actual cost of the tour, which will be around 3,500 yen including bus fare, lunch and admission to the temple. Another 1,000 yen will be accepted as a gratuity.

Reservations must be made in advance. The event is reserved for non-Japanese only.

For reservations and more information, fax Satoh at (072) 831-2797.

Event features chance to make rice cakes
International House, Osaka, is organizing a rice cake-making event for Japanese and non-Japanese residents from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 22 at its facility in Tennoji Ward.

The annual event will feature steamed rice being pounded in a large mortar with a wooden mallet and then formed into small, round cakes. Participants will have the opportunity to pound rice and taste the results with four varieties of seasoning.

Also, participants will be invited to join several games including "fuku-warai," a traditional game played during the New Year's season. The game involves a picture of a blank face and players are blindfolded and try to complete the face by placing pictures of the eyes, nose and mouth in the right place. Prizes will be awarded to winners.

Participation is 300 yen.

Reservations must be made in advance.

For reservations and more information, call the organizer's information center at (06) 6773-8989, fax (06) 6773-8420 or e-mail info-staff@ih-osaka.or.jp

Treasures of Shitennoji Temple on display
The treasury of Shitennoji Temple in Tennoji Ward, Osaka, is open to the public through Feb. 12.

Shitennoji was founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku, an influential statesman and the Imperial regent of the Asuka Period (late sixth to mid-seventh century).

It is known as the oldest official Buddhist temple in Japan and has maintained the tradition of worshipping Shotoku as a holy figure.

The exhibition showcases the temple's valuable properties, including two swords believed to have belonged to Shotoku. The swords are designated national treasures and this is the first time in 27 years the temple is exhibiting both at the same time.

Other items on view are treasures related to the tradition of worshipping Shotoku and the history of Shitennoji as a prestigious temple.

Entrance is 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for college and high school students.

The treasury will be open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition will be closed Mondays, except for Jan. 9.

The temple is a five-minute walk south from Shitennoji Mae Yuhigaoka Station on the subway Tanimachi line, or a 15-minute walk north from Tennoji Station on the JR or subway Midosuji lines, or from Abenobashi Station on the Kintetsu Line.

For more information, call the temple at (06) 6771-0066, fax (06) 6773-4921 or visit its Web site at www.shitennoji-or.jp

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