For those of you who are interested in watching Kabuki(歌舞伎), here are four places within Tokyo and Osaka where you can watch a play.
1) Kabuki-za(歌舞伎座): Higashi-Ginza, Tokyo
This is a historical theater located in Ginza, making it easily accesible to drop in for a play after shopping in the area. The theater was built back in 1889 in an area called Kobiki-cho at the time, and has been known as the hallmark theater for Kabuki. It has endured number of disasters throughout history, but has managed to rebuild each time. The theater recently went through renovation in 2013.
- Address: Ginza 4-12-15, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
2) Shinbashi Enbu-jo Theater(新橋演舞場): Shinbashi, Tokyo
This large theater may have brand-new stage systems installed in place, but it still remains rich with history. While Kyoto and Osaka had large theaters for Kabuki plays, there were none available in Tokyo before the Enbu-jo Theater opened in 1925. It was burned down after suffering the damages of the Great Kanto Earthquake and WWII, but has rebuilt each time and remain loved by many theater enthusiasts to this day. The theater also has plenty of souvenir items and dining options for people to enjoy.
Shinbashi Enbu-jo Theater(新橋演舞場)
- Address: Ginza 6-18-2, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Japan
3) Osaka Shochiku-za(大阪松竹座): Osaka
Shochiku-za is a leading Kabuki theater with a long history of bringing dancers and actors from abroad to collaborate with. It was built in 1923 as the first Western-style theater in the Kansai region. Its main entrance has a large, neo-Renaissance style arch, built by the famous architect Tokusaburo Kimura of the Obayashi Corp. The structure served as an iconic symbol of Osaka. On the theater’s opening day in 1923, its aired the German movie “The Loves of Pharaoh”, a Shochiku Kamata work “Mother”, and the play “The Girl from Arles” performed by the Shochiku Theater Troop. It later became the base theater for the Theater Troop, who performed the revue “Dance of Spring” the following year (the revue remains an annual tradition for the current Theater Troop). The troop collaborated with dancers and actors from abroad, bringing in new culture to the region.
Osaka Shochiku-za (大阪松竹座)
- Address: 9-19, Dotonbori 1-chome, Chuo-ku, Osaka city
4) National Theater(国立劇場): Hanzomon, Tokyo
This theater, operated by the Japan Arts Council, host not only Kabuki plays but other buyo(Japanese dance and performing arts). It is also involved in educating the next generation on the arts and conducting research. The Emperor, Empress, Prime Minister, and Parliament members attend the Japan Prize awards ceremony at this theater every year in April. The theater is close to the Japan Diet and the Imperial Palace, making it possible for some sight-seeing after a play.
- Address: 4-1 Hayabusa-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Each theater has its unique features and shows different plays, so make sure to check out each theater for what’s available!
Do keep in mind that available shows depend on when you visit the theater.
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