Theater fans won't want to miss the chance to see a performance at Osaka's National Bunraku Theatre. Bunraku is not your average puppet show: the three-foot-tall puppets each require a trio of handlers, and the stories, mostly originating in Osaka, contain all the drama and tension (if not the sword fights) of a good samurai drama. The National Bunraku Theatre is Japan's premier place to watch this 300-year-old art form. An "Earphone Guide" (¥650 rental) explains the
action in English as the play unfolds. Performances are usually twice daily (late morning and late afternoon) on weekends. To get here, take the Sennichimae or Sakai-suji subway lines to Nippon-bashi Station and take Exit 7. The theater is just before you pass under the Hanshin Expressway.