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Sunday, April 19, 2009

KANSAI: Who & What

Umeda Sky observatory to drop entrance fee

The Umeda Sky Building will open its observatory on the 39th floor to the public for free starting Wednesday.

Sekisui House Umeda Operation Co., Ltd., which operates the skyscraper, will also let people use the glass elevators running between the third and 35th floors, and the glass-walled escalator connecting the 35th and 39th floors. Visitors will thus be able to enjoy spectacular views day and night from 160 meters above ground, as well as the souvenir shop, Chinese restaurant and bar.

But the rooftop observatory on the 40th floor, the Floating Garden Observatory, still requires a ¥700 entrance fee.

For more information, contact the building at (06) 6440-3899 or access its Web site at www.kuchu-teien.com/ (available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese).

Breeze Breeze to offer Golden Week prizes

The Breeze Breeze commercial facility established in Kita Ward, Osaka, in October 2008 will celebrate its first Golden Week with a shopping campaign from Friday through May 6.

Anyone who buys more than ¥5,000 at its shops and restaurants can enter a drawing for special prizes, including 15 pairs of tickets to sit on the rooftop during the Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Display in early August and a dinner ticket for two at French restaurant Le Comptoir de Benoit on the 33rd floor.

Those who wish to enter the drawing must bring their receipts to a drawing booth that will be set up in the facility from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. from May 2 to 6. Receipts issued between April 24 and May 6 will be valid. The facility is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

For further information, contact the facility at (06) 6341-3005, or visit its Web site at www.breeze-breeze.jp/ (in Japanese).

Public to get rare peek at Aishu Kindergarten

The city of Osaka will show off Aishu Kindergarten, a registered Important Cultural Property, to the public from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Saturday.

Aishu Kindergarten was established in 1880 in what is known today as Kitahama district. It was relocated to its current location in 1901. The Japanese-style roofing, gates, and tile-roofed fences are unique for such a facility. It is the oldest kindergarten building still extant in Osaka Prefecture and the third-oldest in Japan.

The venue is about a three-minute walk southeast of Yodoyabashi Station on the Midosuji subway line. No reservation or entrance fee is required. During peak hours, visitors may have to wait. The school is not usually open to the public.

For details, contact the Osaka City Education Board Office at (06) 6208-9030, or access www.city.osaka.lg.jp/kyoiku/ (in Japanese).

OPO to play concert outside Osaka Castle

Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra is organizing an outdoor concert in the Nishi no Maru Garden of the Osaka Castle from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. next Saturday.

Music director Eiji Oue will conduct the orchestra, which plans to play pieces including a prelude to the third act of "Lohengrin" by Wagner, and the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 6. In addition, violinist Sayuri Kuroda will perform as a soloist in the fifth movement of "Symphonie Espagnole" by Spanish-French composer Edouard Lalo.

The venue is about a 20-minute walk from Osaka Jo Koen Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line or from exit 3 of Tenmabashi Station on the Tanimachi subway line. In case of rain, the concert will be postponed to April 26.

Tickets will be sold at the venue from 10 a.m. on April 25 and cost ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for those older than 65. Junior high school students and younger children will be able to enter for free, upon presentation of their student ID cards.

For more information, contact the organizer at (06) 6185-1118 on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

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