Noh Theatres. The oldest type of art in Japan and a favourite to this day in a variety of theatres and places. Traditional performances and displays of creative actors are hugely popular throughout Japan. Noh, pronounced as ‘No’ comes from the Sino-Japanese word “skill” or “talent.” It is a top Japanese musical drama that began in the 14th century. Modern actors and companies are now adopting this traditional genre. They are making new art into something genuinely unique. This fantastic art form was founded by a gentleman called Kan’ami and his son Zeami and is still as familiar into the modern day. Below are some of the top theatres where you can go and see these exceptional performances for yourselves.
1. The National Noh Theatre
The National Noh theatre is located in Shibuya – Ku, Tokyo. It regularly shows historical pieces, as well as newly developed Noh based shows. They even sometimes have regular hosts, such as Teirei-Koen and Seisho-kai who speak about their performances, as well as showing their incredible skills and talent. There are English subtitles to go along with the cultural Japanese performance, so you don’t even have to worry about misunderstanding a single second.
To book, you can get a variety of prices for students and OAPs. Plus, you can book in advance to ensure that you’re not missing out. You won’t regret it at all and it’s probably one of the best things you’ll culturally see whilst in Japan. Plus it’s the top theatre here and a must-see sight.
Name: National Noh Theatre
Address: 4-18-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Business hour: 10 am~5 pm
Phone number: +81 3-3423-1331
Official website: http://www.ntj.jac.go.jp/english/schedule/national-noh-theatre.html
2.Kanze school noh theatre
The Kanze school noh theatre is one of the newest theatres in Ginza. It was newly opened and restored in 2014. The amazing interior is exquisite and a sight to see before any sort of performance even begins. Originally, this place was the headquarters of Kanze school. The theatre was specially developed for a traditional day or night event in Tokyo.
Shows are usually shown once a day and tickets vary from time to time (depending on the genre and style of the performance.) It’s certainly an unusual venue in that there is no way that you can get to the building by car. Instead, you get to travel through Tokyo and enter the theatre by an elevator from Mihara Street. This way you get to see over the city and do a bit of sightseeing as well.
Name: Kanze school noh theatre
Address: B3F GINZA SIX, 6-10-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Business hour: Occasionally
Phone number: +81 3-6274-6579
Official website: http://kanze.net/en/publics/index/
3. CeruleanTower Nohgakudo
The Cerulean Tower Nohgakudo (otherwise known as the Noh theatre.) This place is an absolute masterpiece of architecture and shows performances beyond belief. This place is one of the top theatres to go to and quite a secret venue regarding foreigners being aware of it.
Open in 20o1, it is known as a theatre responsible for the showing traditional culture of the world. Actors here, perform a variety of shows in genres such as ballet and classical music that transfer to other cultures. However, they all mainly centre on Noh and Kyogen performances, keeping history and culture fully alive. Also, this fantastic place is known for its cultural exchanges. Such as traditional performing arts like Japanese dance, Japanese music, plays and concerts, presentations, etc. It is a new style of theatre and one that certainly seems to be catching on and spreading the love of art!
Name: CeruleanTower Nohgakudo
Address: B2F, 26-1 Sakuraoka-Cho, Shibuya-ku,Tokyo
Business hour: Occasionally
Phone number: +81 3-3477-6412
Official website: http://www.ceruleantower-noh.com/
Just a two minute walk away from Kagurazaka station, Yarai Nohgakudo is one of the most traditional theatres in Tokyo. A lot of the old interior still exists and it has a lot of ancient traditions keeping the old culture alive and kicking.
There’s a lot of connections with other theatres, regular performers and the media in this theatre. With their heavy focus on poetry as an art form. The theatre encourages new and old to come along and join in with their array of displays and workshops. Why not find the next Stephen Armitage or John McCrae within yourself and go and give it go with other people who share the same drive and passion Or, why not go along and try something new. It’s all art. It’s all culture and something new to try out!
5. Suigi An
‘I am particular about art and appreciate food’ is the opening title on this theatre’s website and it couldn’t be truer of the place. Suigi An or ‘Water Villa’, brings together authentic traditional arts, foods and crafts that have been around since ancient times.
This fantastic place incorporates food and art to make their customer’s experience only the best. You can come here with friends, family, people from work or why not try it alone? The hospitality in this place is above and beyond and they are open to everyone from any kind of background. The stage is about 5.4 m square metres and is set up in a way which symbolises a mirror as part of the Kano school culture. Also, the team at this noh theatre are proud of this creating a tranquil and harmonious space. In addition, meals are served with delicate and ornate tableware. These come from Edo, Meiji and Taisho Periods. You can simply forget yourself for a while and have a perfectly relaxing time.
Name: Suigi An
Address: B1F, 2-5-10 Nihonbashi-Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Business hour: 11:30 am~12:00 pm
Phone number: +81 3-3527-9378
Official website: https://suigian.jp/
You’ve heard of the five favourites in Japan, right? Well, now it’s time to go and check these amazing theatres out for yourself. There’s only so much describing an article can do, but to see these performances in live action is an experience that you really won’t forget. These days out are something that you really shouldn’t miss out on. The skill and talent on these stages are beyond belief and you really will feel like you’re back in time and immersed completely. If you’re on a budget, then these places have you sorted. It’s reasonably priced and worth every single penny. Don’t forget, if you’re a student or a little bit on the old side, these theatres also have you back covered and let you in even cheaper! There’s no excuse and they will be 100% a part of Japanese culture that you can take away for life.
Art Feature: HIROHIKO ARAKI JOJO EXHIBITION: RIPPLES OF ADVE...
Hirohiko Araki is one of Japan’s most well-regarded Manga artists who has been recognized internationally for his unique designs as well as within Japan for his magical storytelling abilities. Araki, who is originally from Sendai, Miyagi, has been drawing manga since his first year of high school and is best known for his long-running series, [...]
Going Green: 4 Japanese Phrases to Reduce Plastic Waste
One of the first things I noticed when I began shopping in Japan was the sheer number of plastic bags being used! Over packaging is, unfortunately, the norm here, and for many Japan’s plastic-heavy service industry can be a shocking change from shopping back home. But if like many, you are trying to watch your [...]
Book Covers – a 100-year-old Unique Feature of Japanese Cult...
You can see many Japanese people spending their time on the train effectively reading books or newspapers, listening to music or searching something on their phones. Have you ever noticed that most of them reading books wrapped by book covers? Do you wonder why they use book covers while reading books? Let’s find out the [...]
Japanese People Love Planning!
When you’re with your Japanese friends especially women and talking about when to meet up next time, have you ever experienced your Japanese friends suddenly taking out their schedule planners from their bags and checking their availability? If you take a glance at their schedule planners, it seems that they are really busy with a packed [...]
Shigin: Japan's Best Kept Musical Secret
Japan has a very rich and diverse range of musical styles. Many people are familiar with famous J-Pop artists like AKB48 and Arashi, and computer-generated mega-star Hatsune Miku. With their songs being catchy, uplifting, and relatable, it’s no wonder that their music is so popular worldwide. But these modern forms of music are by no means the only styles of Japanese music worth listening to—instead, I’d like to introduce an unsung traditional form of music called Shigin. Shigin (詩吟) Shigin (詩吟) means “poetry chanting,” and it is the art of reciting a poem. It uses a form of poetry somewhat...
Tokyo Daijingu Shrine: Pray for Love
If you’re down on your love luck, why not ask for a little help from the gods? The Tokyo Daijingu Shrine is Tokyo’s branch of Japan’s most renown shrine, Ise-jingu Shrine. Located in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, it has become a famous place to go pray for a successful relationship or marriage. The Rise of Weddings The reason that Tokyo Daijingu Shrine became a hot spot for prayers of love is due to it being the first shrine to offer Shinto-style weddings. Shinto weddings were first introduced in 1872. Prior to this, the concept of weddings was not widely accepted, and Shinto...