Five theaters where you can watch Kabuki in Japan
Speaking of theaters where you can watch Kabuki, Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo is famous. Now, we introduce five representative theaters in other regions, where you can enjoy Kabuki. Each of the theaters is attractive differently from Kabukiza Theater, with its own history and quaint building. Unlike Kabukiza Theater, however, Kabuki is not necessarily performed every month at those theaters. Therefore, you should check stage performance schedule before you go there.
Tickets for Kabukiza Theatre, Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre, Osaka Shochikuza Theatre, and Kyoto Minamiza Theatre can be purchased on the below website. If you check out a program and like it, why don’t you go see Kabuki?
Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre
Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre is five minutes on foot from Kabukiza Theatre. It was opened in 1925. At that time, in Kyoto and Osaka, Enbujo and Kaburenjo existed as a place to show local dances. In hope of having such place also in Tokyo, Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre was established. The present building was remodeled in 1982. It is a little smaller than Kabukiza Theater, but has a calm atmosphere. At Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre, Kabuki is performed several times a year. By the way, Super Kabuki Ⅱ "One Piece" was performed for the first time at Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre. Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre is attracting attention with, for example, a new Kabuki "NARUTO" to be performed in this year.
In addition to Kabuki, a wide variety of genres, such as Shinpa (new school play), Shochiku New Comedy, Shingeki (new dramas in modern Japan), and musicals, are performed. Tickets can be purchased on the site introduced above. (Both upper and lower pictures: © Shochiku)
Osaka Shochikuza Theatre
Shochikuza Theatre in Dotonbori, Osaka, was born in 1923 as the first western-style theater in Kansai Area. A large arch of its front entrance with a neo-Renaissance style using terra cotta has been familiar to many people as Arc de Triomphe of Dotonbori. After that, the theatre became a home of an opera company Shochiku Gakugekibu (OSK). During and for a while after the war, it had been used as a movie theater. It was refurbished as a theater for plays in 1997. In addition to Kabuki produced by Shochiku, new dramas, Shochiku New Comedy, operas, musicals, concerts, etc. are also performed. Regarding Kabuki in particular, the theatre has been a home for actors who are active in Kansai area called "Kamigata." Compared to Kabukiza Theatre, as a front width of the stage is smaller and the number of seats is fewer, you can feel Kabuki actors closer. (Both upper and lower pictures: © Shochiku)
Kyoto Shijo Minamiza Theatre
Minamiza Theatre is located at Shijogawara in Kyoto, a place where it is said that the ancestor of Kabuki, Izumonookuni, played "Kabuki Odori." It is the oldest historical and traditional theater that has continued to stage Kabuki over 4 centuries from the Edo Period to the present day. Even now, the theatre stages performances centering on Kabuki. Especially, 'Kichirei Kaomise Performance' to be held in December every year is a seasonal tradition in Kyoto. As of June 2018, the theatre has been under a large-scale construction for seismic strengthening, but will reopen in November 2018. At the newly opened Minamiza Theatre, not only Kabuki but also general plays and live entertainments, etc. are scheduled to be staged. (The upper picture is a scene of “Kichirei Kaomise Performance” in 2015, the lower one is an image of the theater’s interior. Presented by: © Shochiku)
If you enjoy Kabuki in Nagoya, Misonoza is the best place. Newly opened in April 2018, the theater is shiny everywhere. Regarding Kabuki, more diverse performances than ever will be staged in series, such as a performance commemorating succession of predecessor's name, Super Kabuki, and an annual “Kaomise Performance” in October. In addition, Yoshimoto New Comedy, musicals, concerts, and "Nagoya Odori” that is a traditional dance performance hosted by well-established Iemoto (head family) in Nagoya are performed. Also, low-priced non-reserved seats that allow people to watch only one scene have been under consideration so that more people can enjoy Kabuki in the future. Furthermore, even if you can not enjoy Kabuki on the day, there are not only meals but also a variety of souvenirs at a food theme park 'Misono Komachi' on the first floor. Please drop by if you come nearby. (The upper photo is seats seen from the stage, the lower one is the stage seen from a runway. The drop curtain is “Nagoya Castle in Gold Rising Sun” produced by Koji Kinutani. Presented by: © Misonoza)
This is a relatively new theater opened in 1999. As equipped with the latest equipment such as audio and lighting and due to excellent visibility from any seats, it was one of models when Kabukiza Theatre was rebuilt. It is easily accessible from Fukuoka Airport and Hakata Station, directly connected to Nakasu Kawabata Subway Station. Its appearance blending Japanese and Western styles, a gorgeous lobby like a hotel, and comfortable seats make you feel more excited. With ample inside dining hall and shops, you can enjoy to your heart's content. Not only Kabuki but also high-profile musicals and general theatrical plays in Japan are performed on a monthly basis. Only in Kabuki performances, seats that allow you to watch only one scene you like are available (unavailable depending on performances). Contents to introduce Kabuki in English on Hakataza