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Plum, camellia blossoms take center stage

Jonangu Shrine in Kyoto is holding a festival featuring camellia and weeping plum blossoms from next Monday to March 21.

The shrine is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a guided tour at 3 p.m. by the Shinto priest. Admission is ¥500 for adults and ¥300 for elementary and junior high school students.

The shrine is a 15-minute walk from Takeda Station on the Kintetsu Kyoto Line and the Karasuma subway line.

For more information, go to www.jonangu.com (in Japanese) or call (075) 623-0846.

English reading sessions for young children

An Australian lecturer will read picture books for children in English on Feb. 21 and March 21 in Suita, Osaka Prefecture.

The reading sessions will run from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Children under the age of elementary school and their guardians will be accepted.

Reservations must be made by calling (06) 6835-1192 on the day of the sessions.

The events will take place at the Suita Interpeople Friendship Association on Feb. 21 and Suita Library on March 21, both of which are a one-minute walk from Minami Senri Station on the Hankyu Senri Line.

For more information, go to www.infomart.or.jp/sifa/index.html (in Japanese) or call (06) 6835-1192.

Astronomy evening at Umeda Sky Building

Stargazers can use astronomical telescopes Saturday night on the 41st floor of a skyscraper in the central Osaka and hear a lecture by an expert.

The lecture will start at 6 p.m. on the 40th floor and participants will then move up to the top of the building for the star observation session from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Participation is free, although everyone will have to pay the regular entrance fee for the Floating Garden Observatory, which is ¥700 for adults, ¥500 for junior high and high school students, ¥300 for elementary school students, and ¥100 for children 3 years old and older.

The venue is the Umeda Sky Building, which is about 10 minutes on foot from Umeda and Osaka stations. For more information, go to www.kuchu-teien.com/english/ or call (06) 6440-3901.

Thousands of nearly naked men at festival

The “hadaka” naked festival will take place Feb. 22 in Konomiya Shrine in Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture.

Around 10,000 men wearing only a loincloth and split-toe socks will compete fiercely to try to touch a representative “Shin Otoko” (God Man) in the belief that touching him will enable them to fend off evil.

The competition takes place following a Shinto ritual at 3 p.m. Admission is free.

The shrine is a three-minute walk from Konomiya Station on the Meitetsu Line. For more information, go to www.konomiya.or.jp (in Japanese) or call (0587) 23-2121.

Nagoya kids’ troupe featuring musical, puppets

The Nagoya City Children’s Theater Tour, which dates back to 1980, will feature the musical “Suho’s White Horse” and puppet show “Yakusoku” in February and March in small cultural theaters all over Nagoya.

The musical will be performed at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Feb. 24, in Moriyama Ward, March 3 in Nakagawa Ward, March 24 in Minami Ward and on March 27 in Chikusa Ward.

The puppet show will start at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 2 in Meito Ward, March 3 in Nishi Ward, March 30 in Minato Ward, and March 31 in Midori Ward. Admission is ¥800 for adults and ¥500 for children aged 3 through junior high school.

For more information, go to www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/japanese/nicnews/archives/14949 (in English) or call (0568) 51-4199 for the musical and (0562) 91-1919 for the puppet show.