Relive the roaring twenties at Takojizo Station, a tribute to Taisho chic (Photo: Bonson Lam)

Takojizo Railway Station

From Jiro to Nankaido

Relive the roaring twenties at Takojizo Station, a tribute to Taisho chic (Photo: Bonson Lam)
Bonson Lam   - 3 min read

“Fortune teller, speak to this lovely girl, ​whose face is wasted with love and desire, say welcome words” (From Dancing Girl- a collection of poems by Akiko Yosano)

It was the springtime of 1926. Jiro was waiting for the morning train at Takojizo Railway Station. Then he saw her from the corner of his eye. She was dressed in matcha green kimono, worn in a typical Osaka style, with the collar being a little loose, giving him a glance at her neck, as elegant and beckoning as a deer. Her obi, likewise, was low on her hips, but it was her eyes that caught him. Deep pools of dark chocolate brown, he could not forget those eyes.

It was a heady time for Jiro. The roaring twenties in Osaka was a reinvigorating place to be. Far from the strictures that held him back at his father’s mikan orchard in Wakayama, he started a new job in a trading office in Horie. Osaka was the sixth largest city in the world, surpassing even Tokyo. From his office, the latest fashions from Paris and London would arrive by ship. The cafes at Namba Station had just opened, and on Friday nights, there would be a jazz band playing. “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Squeeze Me”. The waitresses, nicknamed mogu or modern girls, were friendly to him, but his mind was elsewhere, to the girl in the matcha green kimono, her silouhette set against the crisp white art deco building at Takojizo, a contrast between past and present. While he was intoxicated by modern life, there was still a part of him that yielded to the time growing up at his father’s orchard.

While Jiro and his sweetheart are now just a faded memory at Takojizo Railway Station, you can still find the charm of the twenties in the original art deco building. There are a series of stained glass windows above the lobby, depicting the story of Takojizo. Literally translated as the Octopus Guardian of Children, these pictures tell the story of the guardian Jizo who saved Kishiwada Castle by transforming himself as a giant octopus.

Takojizo is 30 minutes from Kansai Airport on an all stops train, while Kishiwada is 15 minutes by limited express, making it an easy side trip if you are having a layover at the International Airport. You can spend one or two hours at Kishiwada Castle, followed by a meal at Ganko Japanese restaurant, set in an old house next door. If you have another two hours to spare, make your way to La Park Kispa at Haruki Station, and enjoy free Karaoke just by buying a 500 yen drink, or try your hand at ten pin bowling, before picking up some shochu spirits or local confectionery before heading back to the airport. Alternatively, it is just a 40 minute trip from Namba in Osaka City.

Of course, if this taste for Taisho chic is stirring your appetite, keep going to Okayama, the birthplace of Yumeji Takehisa and home to to the Yumeji Museum, a fitting tribute to Japan's Toulouse Lautrec.

Bonson Lam

Bonson Lam @bonson.lam

I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric laneways of Kyoto last century.  I am humbled to have met many distinguished people during this time, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperia...