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20,000 lanterns set to light up Osaka Castle

The area around Osaka Castle will be illuminated with 20,000 candle-lit lanterns from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 25 and 26, with a laser light show and concert also planned.

Those wishing to write messages on the lanterns can do so between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. for a ¥100 fee, and elementary school students and younger children can do so free of charge.

Visitors can walk to the castle from Osaka Jo Koen Station or Morinomiya Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line, and from Tanimachi 4-chome Station on the Chuo or Tanimachi subway lines, among other approaches. For more information, please call (06) 4301-7285 or (06) 6469-5167.

Kyoto seeks chorus for Symphony No. 9 concert

Chorus members are invited to take part in a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in the Kyoto Concert Hall starting at 7 p.m. Dec. 19.

Members will practice every Friday in various locations in Kyoto until the concert, which will be conducted by Tatsuya Shimono. A practice session will take place 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Aug. 24 in Mielparque Kyoto, a one-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station.

Applicants can only join by attending one of the practice sessions. Participation costs ¥15,000 for adults and ¥11,500 for students, in addition to an annual membership fee of ¥500 payable to host organization Kyoto Muse.

For further details, phone (075) 441-1567.

Enjoy children’s picture books at Nagoya center

Foreign volunteers can read children’s picture books in English and Indonesian at Nagoya International Center from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 26.

Admission is free and no reservations are required. The center is a seven-minute walk from Nagoya Station. For more details, send an email to info@nic-nagoya.or.jp or call (052) 581-0100.

Biwako Hall to hold special backstage tours

Adults and children will be able to enjoy a backstage tour of Biwako Hall in Shiga Prefecture on Aug. 25 and 26, and learn about local folklore.

Two tours will take place each day, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Participants are encouraged to wear loose clothing during the tour. Admission costs ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for children age 6 to junior high school. Children under 6 are not allowed on the tour. Tickets can be purchased in advance and 100 participants will be accepted on each tour.

The venue is a 20-minute walk from Otsu Station or a 15-minute walk from Zeze Station, both on the JR Biwako Line, and three minutes on foot from Ishiba Station on the Keihan Line. A bus from Otsu Station also carries visitors directly to Biwako Hall. For further inquiries and tickets, please visit www.biwako-hall.or.jp (in Japanese and English) or call (077) 523-7136.

Nagoya to offer foreign kids guidance on schools

The Nagoya International Center will hold a guidance session from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 26 for foreign children and their parents or guardians on Japan’s education system and their options after graduating from junior high school.

Information will be provided to overseas parents working in Japan, and various high schools in Aichi Prefecture will be introduced. Teachers, officials from the board of education, counselors at the center and former foreign graduates of local junior high schools will be on hand to field questions.

Admission is free, and no advance reservations are necessary. Interpretation services will be available in English, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish and Filipino. The center is a seven-minute walk from Nagoya Station. For further information, call (052) 581-0100.