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Sunday, Jan. 14, 2007

KANSAI: Who & What

Fire festival, rice cakes at shrine in Kyoto

A fire festival will take place Jan. 15 at Hiraoka Hachimangu Shrine in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto.

The festival, called "sagicho" or "tondo," is a traditional event held around the country at this time of year. Rice cakes are baked on a fire built with piles of decorations used during New Year's celebrations. It is believed that anyone who eats the rice cakes will be blessed with good health for the year. Rice cakes will be served to visitors for free.

The festival will run from around 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To get there, take a JR bus bound for Shuzan or Toganoo from JR Kyoto Station and get off at Hiraoka Hachiman bus stop.

For more information, call the shrine at (075) 871-2084.

Chanting by Buddhist priests in Osaka

Buddhist priests will chant during a special event starting at 5 p.m. Jan. 21 at Shitennoji Temple in Tennoji Ward, Osaka.

"Shomyo," a Japanese Buddhist chant, will be performed to celebrate the new year at the temple's Taishido hall. Shitennoji was built in 593 and has a long tradition of Buddhist ceremonial dance and music that originated in the era of Prince Shotoku, an influential regent of the Imperial court who founded the temple.

Admission is free.

The temple is a five-minute walk from Shitennoji Mae Yuhigaoka Station on the Tanimachi subway line.

For more information, call the temple at (06) 6771-0066.

Free tickets available for 'La Traviata' opera

Kansai Electric Power Co. is giving away tickets for an opera that will be performed at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and 16 at Festival Hall in Kita Ward, Osaka.

The company will give away 800 pairs of tickets for each performance of Giuseppe Verdi's opera "La Traviata."

The three-act opera will be conducted by Shigeo Genda. It will featuring soprano Emi Hishiki and tenor Kunpei Matsumoto from the Kansai Nikikai opera company, along with the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra.

Anyone interested in entering the drawing for the tickets should send a postcard with name, address, age, phone number and which day to attend to Kansai Denryoku "Opera e noSasoi" Kakari at Shishobako (Post Office Box) 111 at Osaka Nishi Yubinkyoku, 550-8799.

Applications can also be made via the company's Web site at www.kepco.co.jp

Applications must arrive by Jan. 17.

For more information, call the organizer at (06) 7501-0317.

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