Must-see entertainment in Kansai

  • Namba Bears


    For going on three decades this has been the place to hear underground music live in Osaka. It's a small, bare-concrete, smokey space – well suited to the…

  • OSAKA, JAPAN - AUGUST 11:     'Sonezaki Sinju' is performed at the National Bunraku Theatre on August 11, 2005 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

    National Bunraku Theatre


    The classical performing art most associated with Osaka is bunraku, which makes dramatic use of highly sophisticated puppets. Visiting the theatre is a…

  • Sumo wrestlers  in Osaka; Japan

    Sumo Spring Tournament


    The big fellas rumble into Osaka in March for this major tournament, held in the EDION Arena (Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium (府立体育会館) in Namba. Tickets (from…

  • Sone


    Sone is Kōbe's go-to spot for jazz (since 1969) and gathers four acts, of mostly Kansai-area artists, each night. The look is a bit old-timey Viennese…

  • Kyōcera Dome


    Also known as Osaka Dome, this futuristic stadium is home to the Orix Buffaloes baseball team. While the Buffaloes may not have the following of the…

  • Fandango


    This much-loved live house is an Osaka institution and favours Japanese punk rock and experimental noise bands; check the website for the gig schedule…

  • Hokage


    Looking like an office with the inner walls ripped out (which is entirely likely), Hokage seems to be made for its rock, punk and noise bands. It's a…

  • Osaka Nōgaku Hall


    A five-minute walk east of Hankyū Umeda Station, this theatre stages nō (stylised dance-drama) performances a few times each month. Look for the relief of…

  • Osaka Shochiku-za


    This neo-Renaissance building (1923), modelled after Milan's La Scala, was the first Western-style theatre built in Kansai. It occasionally hosts kabuki…

  • Shin-Kabuki-za Theatre


    Inside a shopping mall, this theatre – despite the word kabuki in the name – shows mostly comedy and period dramas (in Japanese).