Written by Ramona Taranu
Watch Noh Theater In Kyoto! With English Guidance
The Kyoto Kanze Noh Theater hosts a series of Noh performances with English guidance in 2019. Don't miss this opportunity to watch one of Japan's oldest performing arts, which has won worldwide acclaim for its refined beauty.
Watch Noh, Japanese Traditional Theater, in Kyoto!
The Kyoto Kanze Noh Theater will host a series of Noh theater performances with guidance in English. The audience will be able to follow the performances using tablets that show subtitles and explanations of the story.
Noh is one of Japan's traditional performing arts, boasting a history of over 600 years. Beautiful Noh masks - some dating centuries ago, gorgeous kimonos, elegant dances, and deeply moving stories are the main features that make Noh a fascinating stage art that has been treasured by the Japanese people for centuries.
Noh performances with English guidance are still rare, so if you're in Kyoto this year, do check out these events! They will surely leave a deep impression.
Noh Performance Schedule and Highlights
|2019 Performance Dates||Programme|
|April 28||Utaura, Yuya, Funabashi|
|May 26||Kamo, Yugao, Fujito|
|June 23||Kayoi Komachi, Sumidagawa, Ukai|
|August 25||Kanehira, Teika, Zegai|
|September 22||Nishikigi, Miidera, Tenko|
|November 24||Kikujido, Izutsu, Adachigahara|
|December 15||Kiyotsune, Ukifune, Momijigari|
The Noh plays in this programme will be performed by professional Noh actors of the Kanze school. All the plays are famous works from the Noh repertory, with some of them dating back to the 15th century!
For example, Yuya, which is part of the April 28 programme, draws inspiration from a legend related to Taira no Munemori (1147-1185) and features famous places in Kyoto, such as Kiyomizudera Temple.
Yuya, performed by Katayama Kuroemon. Picture courtesy of Kyoto Kanze Noh Theater. Photograph by Kinnohoshi Watanabe Shashinjo
Kamo, which will be performed on May 26, is based on an old legend about Kyoto's famous Kamo Shrine. After watching the performance, how about visiting the shrine itself? You'll probably see it in another light.
Sumidagawa is the heartbreaking story of a mother who traveled all the way from Kyoto to the Sumida River (present-day Tokyo) looking for her son, only to find the grave of her child.
Izutsu is a Noh masterpiece, taking inspiration from an old love story featured in the "The Tales of Ise", a book written around 980 in the Heian period (794-1185). It tells the story of a woman, whose ghost still haunts the place where she used to live together with her husband, even after hundreds of years after they both left this world.
Ukifune, scheduled for December 15, is a Noh play inspired by an episode in "The Tale of Genji", Japan's (and the world's) first novel, written in the early years of the 11th century.
Most of the plays included in this programme are related to Kyoto. This means that you can enjoy your stay in Japan's old capital city by exploring it through the images and legends of Kyoto that traveled through the centuries through Noh theater.
Noh Support - English Guidance for Noh Performances
Picture courtesy of Hinoki Shoten
The performances introduced above can be followed using Noh Support, an application that can be installed on tablets, iPhones, and smartphones, offering English subtitles and explanations during the performance.
Smartphones with the Noh Support installed on them will be available for a small fee at the Kyoto Kanze Noh Theater.
Subtitles and guidance are provided in Japanese and English, and you can switch the screen to your preferred language.
In addition to basic information that makes it easy to follow the story performed on the stage, Noh Support also explains the main points of interest of each play. You'll be able to learn the background of each Noh play and the reasons why these works have been enjoyed by the public for centuries.
Noh Theater with English Guidance in Kyoto - Details
Venue: Kyoto Kanze Noh Theater
2019 Dates: April 28, May 26, June 23, August 25, September 22, November 24, December 15
Reservations: Please contact the Kyoto Kanze Noh Theater (075-771-6114)
Ticket Price Range: 6,000 yen
*Main image: Takasago, performed by Katayama Shingo. Picture courtesy of Kyoto Kanze Noh Theater. Photograph by Kinnohoshi Watanabe Shashinjo