A long time ago there was a cultural phenomenon in Japan called the “Chin-don-ya”. Its name was based on onomatopoeia, derived from the sounds of percussion instruments. The chindonya were somewhat of performers, whose main role was to dress in flashy robes and play loud instruments for the purpose of advertising products, businesses and venues. The flashier, the more attention they would gather, thus the stronger the advertising effect. The concept is not too dissimilar to marching bands and street performers abroad. The Chindonya of old often played marching songs or war songs, whilst wearing flashy kimonos and Japanese clothing. Their faces were usually painted white to contrast their flashy clothes, with westerners sometimes comparing their unique appearance to classical jesters and clowns in the west.
With the advancement of technology their advertising role was taken over by print media, TV and ultimately the internet. They are more often than not hired to perform at events e.g. weddings as an attraction, but their involvement in advertising is extremely rare.
That’s where the Kojiro Hayashi comes in, as his troupe aims to revitalize the almost forgotten old tradition, introduce the concept to contemporary Japan and ensure this peculiar aspect of Japanese culture is not forgotten.
The artistic group “Chindon Entertainment” by Kojiro Hayashi is acknowledged by the local government as a true chindonya, popular not just all over Japan but often invited for performances abroad as well. Originally the chindonya were supposed to be a wandering troupe, not tied down to a single location e.g. theater, however the Chindon Entertainment Hall located in the “Space 9” on the 9th floor of Abeno Harukas offers regular performances for visitors.
Even though they are often invited to announce the opening of new pachinko parlors, bars and restaurants, it’s also increasingly difficult to chase after the elusive troupe. However by visiting the Tozaiya - Kojiro Hayashi’s Chindon Entertainment Hall you can see not only their performing arts but also enjoy a night of entertainment in the form of quick witted talk and theatrical performances. The books written by Kojiro Hayashi have also become the basis for a drama series by NHK. This particular troupe also holds the highest record in Japanese national Chindonya competitions and rightfully boasts the title of no.1 chindonya in Japan.
See the elusive world of chindonya
The chindonya theater created by the group around Hayashi Kojiro hosts various performances of various genres from all around the world, alternating between musical shows and dances. The theater also offers an excellent, unique opportunity to see an authentic performance by the elusive chindonya. It is located on the 9th floor of Abeno Harukas, with the respective performances changing every month. Performances are held mostly on Wednesdays, however the exact weekday may change due to circumstances so it is highly advised to check the program in advance. The theater hosts many events of various kinds, including drama plays, lion dances, kagura performances, and many more so it is definitely worth a visit on your trip to Osaka. One show lasts approximately 45 minutes. The chindonya by Hayashi Kojiro does not shy away from experimenting with new art forms, always evolving and creating new ways to entertain the audience so it is definitely worth a shot!
Explore the Abeno Harukas where the theater is located!
The theater is located at Space 9 on the 9th floor of Abeno Harukas, the most prominent landmark of Tennoji and Abeno areas. After enjoying the show, ascend to the Abeno 300 observatory deck and enjoy the view of Osaka down below. Escape the crowds into the garden oasis where you can enjoy some of the typical Osaka treats like the pineapple candy, or its innovative ice cream version. The delicious ice cream is sprinkled with the crushed candy, giving it a new layer of taste and a bit of crunch to boot! Abeno Harukas is also home to the Kintetsu Mall, Abeno Museum, Osaka Marriott Hotel and countless offices as it functions as a multifunctional commercial building. It is an excellent spot from which you can observe the many fireworks festivals of Osaka. The observatory deck requires you to pay an entrance fee of 1500 yen, however in return it offers a stunning view as far as Kobe city. Even though it is quite impressive during the day, it’s just as breathtaking at night. As the tallest building in Japan to date it is extremely popular among tourists, both foreign and domestic. Recently, the attraction Edge the Harukas has been opened, offering you the thrill of walking around the edge of the walkway 300 meters above ground. Not for the faint of heart, it is available annually from spring until autumn.
Abeno Harukas is also home to countless fashionable shops and famous brands, but also high class restaurants. The total capacity of the restaurants is 2800 customers divided into 44 restaurants of various genres. On the 16th floor you can find a publicly available garden, from which you can also enjoy a beautiful view of the area at approximately 80 meters above ground. For families with children we highly recommend the Sweden Trimpark with various swings, slides and other playground installations to enjoy.
Observatory deck Harukas 300 - a must-see!
Harukas 300 observatory deck spans from 58th to 60th floor, with the 60th floor being constructed completely with see-through panels, including the ceiling and floor.
It feels almost as if you are walking in the sky! The 59th floor is dedicated to Harukas 300 original merchandise and the 58th floor features an open outdoor space with seats and tables where you can enjoy a little break. Refreshments are also available, from a simple mixed juice beverage to a full dinner course including the entrance fee to the observatory deck. There’s also a cafe&dining bar on the 58th floor where you can enjoy a barbecue and a wide selection of drinks together with a majestic sunset or nightly skyline. Harukas 300 is very popular especially among couples as it offers an amazing photo opportunity for that special commemorative picture together. The entrance fee is 1500 yen as of now, however entry to all three floors is included so it is well worth the money. For an extra fee of 500 yen you can hop on a special tour that will take you to the heliport on the very top of the building, otherwise not accessible to the general public. The tours launch every hour and take approximately 25 minutes, however reservations in advance are not available. Hop on and stand on the very top of the highest building in all of Japan!
Enjoy a delicious meal at the Abeno Harukas Dining
Abeno Harukas is famous not only for the observatory deck and being the tallest building in Japan, but also for its assortment of exquisite restaurants. Spread out over three floors starting with the 12th floor, the gourmet area houses 44 different restaurants with a total capacity of 2800 seats. The popular shabu shabu hotpot restaurant Senri offers an excellent hotpot dish with cured pork, a perfect addition to the amazing view beyond the window. For fans of Chinese food there’s the luxurious Tokokuro Abeno-hinen. Meat lovers on the other hand will undoubtedly love the Kurogewagyu-yakiniku Nikudokoro Kisshan meat grill specializing in all sorts of the fabled wagyu beef, including Saga beef, Kuroge wagyu and other delicious domestic wagyu varieties. For a bit of extra crisp stop by at the KYK for Berkshire pig tonkatsu bread crumbed cutlet fresh from the grill. If a hearty steak is more up your alley be sure to visit the teppanyaki grill En! With its stylish interior and delicious cuisine it is a popular date spot among couples as well. If you’re in the mood for something different then perhaps stopping by at the Hawaii-themed restaurant Surfside Kitchen for a full-course barbecue might be a great choice. If you are more of a fish person then stopping by at the Naka-no-Ie izakaya style restaurant would be our recommendation, as the store focuses mainly on fish and seafood. Or enjoy a wide selection of fish and vegetables deep fried tempura-style at the Tsunahachi tempura restaurant, fresh from the grill!
In the vicinity
Abeno Harukas on its own is home to a lot of superb restaurants and shops, however the area in which it is located is also a prime spot for tourists. For those who wish to go on a shopping spree for souvenirs or otherwise, there are many malls in the vicinity like the Hoop, Abeno And, Kinei Apollo, Q’s Mall and many more.
Among them Hoop is famous for its wide selection of fashion goods as well as stylish restaurants and cafes, especially the Hoshino Café and their soufflé pancakes.
Abeno And is more geared toward the ladies, with stores by famous brands like Marimekko, Loft or Il bisonte. The only cinema in the area can be found on the 4th floor or Kinei Apollo, however the building also houses over 100 different stores. The artwork leaping from the store wall is a real eye catcher, courtesy of many artists from New York. For those interested in games there’s the Tennoji Game Center with a wide selection of arcade and video games.
Venue Name: Tozaiya - Kojiro Hayashi’s Chindon Entertainment Hall
Business Hours: 13:00, 14:30
Regular Closing Days: Mon・Tue・Thur・Fri・Sat・Sun
Phone Number: 06-6622-8802 (Kintetsu Art Hall)
Address: 〒545-6028 Osaka, Abeno Ward, Abenosuji 1-chome 1-43 Abeno Harukas
Access: Tennoji Station on the Midosuji Line
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