Guide to Tokyo theaters

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Watch, Feel, and Taste—Traditional Japanese Theater in Tokyo

Guide to Tokyo theaters

Unique services and the designs of the Japanese-style buildings are all part of the theatergoing experience. This section explores some of Tokyo's most prestigious, historic theaters.

* The information given is as of January 2018.

Kabuki

Kabukiza Theatre

Kabukiza Theatre was established in 1889 and is the only theater in the world dedicated to Kabuki. The current building, completed in 2013, retains classical design features like the arched gable over the main entrance while adjoining a 29-story tower. A kabuki play typically comprises several acts, but same-day tickets for single-act seats (hitomakumi-seki) offer the experience of watching only one act for a reasonable price.

Courtesy of Shochiku Co., Ltd.

How to purchase tickets

Box office

Yes (may be sold out due to reservations)

By phone

Ticket Phone Shochiku 03-6745-0888 (10:00-18:00 JST)

Online

Ticket Web Shochiku (External link)

  • * Reservations are accepted up to one day before
  • * Single-act seats (hitomakumi-seki) are sold only on the same day at a dedicated counter

Commentary

Audio guide [1]

Yes

Audio guide (English)

No

Subtitles [2]

Yes

Subtitles (English)

Yes

Pamphlet (English)

English page in program (sujigaki)

  • [1] Audio guide: Earphone set that provides spoken commentary on the storyline and highlights in sync with the action on stage
  • [2] Subtitles: Monitor that displays highlights in text format

Kabuki

Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre

Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre was built in 1925 as a showcase for geisha dance performances. Today it presents plays in a broad range of genres including Kabuki, Shinpa new school theater, and musicals as well as cultural events and other performing arts. The highlight is Super Kabuki, a modern, experimental variation of the art, featuring titles like One Piece, adapted from the popular manga work.

Courtesy of Shochiku Co., Ltd.

How to purchase tickets

Box office

Yes (may be sold out due to reservations)

By phone

Ticket Phone Shochiku 03-6745-0888 (10:00-18:00 JST)

Online

Ticket Web Shochiku (External link)

Commentary

Audio guide

Yes

Audio guide (English)

Yes

Subtitles

No

Subtitles (English)

No

Pamphlet (English)

English synopsis in Kabuki pamphlet

Kabuki

Bunraku

National Theatre

The National Theatre, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of its opening in 2016, comprises a large theater for Kabuki and traditional dance (buyo) productions, a small theater for Bunraku and traditional music (hogaku) performances, and an adjoining Traditional Performing Arts Information Centre housing reference materials. This is the only theater in Tokyo that stages regular Bunraku productions—four times a year for about two weeks each.

Courtesy of National Theatre

How to purchase tickets

Box office

Yes (may be sold out due to reservations)

By phone

National Theatre Ticket Center 0570-07-9900/03-3230-3000 (may use VoIP services)
(10:00-18:00)
* English-speaking operators available

Online

National Theatre Ticket Center (External link)
* User registration required

Commentary

Audio guide

Yes

Audio guide (English)

Yes

Subtitles

Yes for Bunraku and certain other productions

Subtitles (English)

Yes for Discover KABUKI and Discover BUNRAKU productions

* "Discover" productions are staged about once each year and recommended for foreigners interested in Japanese culture

Pamphlet (English)

English page in pamphlet

Noh & Kyogen

National Noh Theatre

The National Noh Theatre is dedicated to Noh and Kyogen, and stands in a quiet residential area. The beautiful Japanese-style building in fragrant cypress is a highlight in its own right. Each month the theater stages four or five regular productions, introductory productions with commentary, and themed productions. It also offers evening plays featuring oral commentary and demonstrations for beginners, and Noh appreciation classes for students.

Courtesy of National Noh Theatre

How to purchase tickets

Box office

Yes (may be sold out due to reservations)

By phone

National Theatre Ticket Center 0570-07-9900/03-3230-3000 (may use VoIP services)
(10:00-18:00)
* English-speaking operators available

Online

National Theatre Ticket Center (External link)
* User registration required

Commentary

Audio guide

No

Audio guide (English)

No

Subtitles

Yes

Subtitles (English)

Yes

Pamphlet (English)

Yes for certain pamphlets

Watch, Feel, and Taste—Traditional Japanese Theater in Tokyo

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