Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Admittedly I have never been a big fan of his work (as an anime fan I feel like a heretic), however I still thought it would be fun to see the museum. I was also interested in going to Kyoto station which my guide book stated was home to Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World; a mini museum and shop with a theater which screened six exclusive anime films. Unfortunately I soon discovered it had shut down in January 2011. So the Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum remained the only museum in the area dedicated to his work.
To get there from Umeda station in Osaka, take the Hankyu Takarazuka Line to Takarazuka station, and then you can either get off there and walk one kilometre to the museum, or transfer to the Hankyu Imazu Line to Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi and get off at Takarazuka-Minamiguchi station. This trip will take a bit over half an hour. Takarazuka-Minamiguchi station is only 500 meters from the museum. The best way to get there is to use exit 1 from the station, walk north to the main road, turn right and walk around 45 metres. Then cross the road walk over the Takarazukao Bridge. The museum will be on your right at the cross road and is quite hard to miss.
On the top level is a library featuring all of Tezuka’s works, with some translated versions, a café and of the obligatory gift shop. There are also temporary displays which sometimes feature non Tezuka works. When I visited the display was “TOMM the 58th Exhibition: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Japan and Osamu Tezuka”, which highlighted the science fiction works that influenced Tezuka as a child. Unfortunately for some reason I didn’t take too many photos of the interior of the museum, such as the stained glass window in the ceiling. A lot of the displays are quite stunning.
Takarazuka Revue, the famous all-female musical theatre troupe which first opened in 1914 partly as a gimmick by Ichizo Kobayashi, owner of Hankyu Railways in order to increase patronage of his new Takarazuka line from Osaka. Tezuka’s mother often took him to Takarazuka Revue shows as a child. The original theatre is still here in Takarazuka (a second theatre operates in Tokyo) and is only 250 metres down the road. The first thing I saw on my way there was a fairly big florist shop with posters of various Takarazuka Revue shows displayed in the windows.
A number of statues from some of the more popular shows also line the street (such as an adaptation of "Rose of Versailles", above). I was rather taken back as I headed past the entrance to the theatre to the stage entrance where around 75 fans had lined up to great the actresses as they came in for their performance (see below). It was all very calm and very well mannered. Some of the actresses received flowers, some chatted for a little while and some just waved as they entered. I’d never seen anything like it before in my entire life. It was very ritualistic and strangely clam.
As I'm not really a fan of musicals, I didn't really bother looking into seeing a show. Tickets seem to run from ¥3,500 right up to ¥12,000. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of his works, the Tezuka museum was quite fascinating. Coupled with the spectacle of the Takarazuka Revue fans, it was a really fun morning.
Next time I’ll be going to Minato to see the Zojoji Temple, Tokyo Tower and it’s infamous (and sadly defunct) Waxwork Museum.