Takarazuka Travel Guide
Located within day trip distance from Osaka, Takarazuka is a destination known for its theatre, temples, and Onsen.
It is also the home of one of Japan’s best-loved manga artists, Osamu Tezuka, who has a museum chronicling his biggest hits (like Astro Boy), making it a place worth visiting while in the Osaka area.
Come check out our Takarazuka travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Takarazuka, Japan.
Start your time in the Takarazuka area by exploring the halls of the Nakayama-dera Temple. Long believed by locals and those across the country to be a place which offers the promise of safe pregnancies, it has attracted throngs of pilgrims over the years.
The Imperial Family were the most prominent of these, with visitations from Japan’s rulers becoming common from the Meiji Period and beyond. Containing an image of Srimala, an Indian sage from ancient times, it comes as no surprise that this temple is among the oldest Kannon Buddhist sites in all of Japan.
Throughout the year, this temple is known for its kabuki theatre productions, and in spring, its plum trees put on a show as they blossom in the warmth of this season.
Make Kiyoshikojin Seicho-ji Temple your next stop on your tour of Takarazuka. Built in the 9th century, it is a temple dedicated to the Kojin, the deity of cooking stoves (really). Families pray her for the safety of their fellow members, luck in business, and for the vanquishing of all things evil.
While it is a Buddhist temple, it is of the Shingon denomination, which incorporates elements of Shinto into its worship practices. Here, ofuda charms can be obtained, which is said to offer protection from fire.
On the grounds of this temple, there are also ponds filled with koi and turtles in the warmer seasons, so be sure to check them out before moving along to the next attraction.
Those looking to check out a Shinto place of worship during their visit to Takarazuka will want to stop by Iwashidu Shrine. Surrounded by nature and home to many exquisitely-carved stone lanterns, it is a place that will induce a sense of peace in you shortly after arrival.
Except for New Year celebrations, it is a quiet place, so respect the atmosphere of this place by keeping your voice down. During the holidays, though, it is a lively place, as many come here to pray for a prosperous New Year. Be sure to try food from the many stalls set up at this time, as many dishes are not widely available outside of this period.
Remember watching the cartoon Astro Boy as a kid? The Japanese anime that attained popularity in the West in the 1980s was born in the Takarazuka area. Learn about its creator at The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum.
A writer of essays and crafter of mangas, his experiences with nature, the Second World War, and the rise of technology in the 20th century all informed his works. In addition to all the exhibits (many of which are interactive), there is also a manga library and a cafe where you can read some of his works while sipping on a hot coffee.
Learn more about the area by spending some time inside the Takarazuka City Historical Museum. Situated in a place known as the Old Wada House, the building itself is worth a visit. With timbers that are hundreds of years old and authentic tatami floors, this former residence of an Edo Period farmer will appeal to those looking for the Old Japan.
Rebuilt after the 1995 Kobe Earthquake, it is a place best enjoyed when accompanied by someone who can translate Japanese, as this place appeals mostly to locals.
Take in one of the most favourite sports in Japan while in Takarazuka by spending an evening at the Hanshin Horse Racetrack. Home to the Champions Cup race since 2014, you may have the chance to take in world-class horse racing if you end up visiting Takarazuka in December.
Otherwise, regular races are held here, so check out schedules while you are in town if you want to bet on some ponies.
As you sightsee through the centre of Takarazuka, be sure to walk along Hana no Michi, a famous street in its core. Lined with flowers and home to theatres, shops, and restaurants, it is an atmospheric place to be.
If the weather isn’t cooperating during your visit, spend the day shopping and enjoying the attractions contained within Sorio Takarazuka. A shopping mall with a wide selection of restaurants, stores, and a movie theatre, you’ll find plenty to do while the rain pounds down outside.