To the Theatre
Where do I watch?
There are Noh theatres and stages throughout Japan, such as the National Noh Theatre in Tokyo, which hold frequent productions.
Types of Noh theatres
There are many Noh theatres and stages nationwide that hold productions, including those belonging to a particular school, as well as national and regional theatres.
National Noh Theatre
The National Noh Theatre opened in 1983 with the aim of preserving and promoting Nohgaku. The theatre has 627 seats each with a subtitling system, and independent productions are held on four or five days each month. In addition to holding public lectures on Nohgaku, the theatre also has a reference library with an audio-visual corner to watch archive videos of independent productions that requires a reservation and a user fee. The exhibition room displays an array of Nohgaku-related materials such as masks and costumes.
Address: 4-18-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0051
Outdoor torch-lit stage and hall
Takigi Noh (Noh performed on outdoor torch-lit stages) is a popular way of enjoying Noh plays performed in the grounds of temples and shrines, at parks and on other Noh stages. Free productions are sometimes given, allowing tourists to access Nohgaku easily. Nohgaku is also performed on stages temporarily set up in general theatres and halls.
* The names of Noh theatres and Noh stages may be written in Romanized form as “Noh Butai” or “Noh Gakudo/Nougakudo.”
Unlike Kabuki and other theatrical arts, each Nohgaku play is principally performed only once for the public. So it’s important to check the internet, leaflets, information magazines and other sources in advance to find out which plays will be performed.
Tickets for independent productions at the National Noh Theatre may be reserved and purchased online or by telephone. They may also be purchased directly at the Box Office of the National Noh Theatre, National Theatre, National Engei Hall and National Bunraku Theatre.
Online: National Theatre Ticket Centre,
Telephone: National Theatre Ticket Centre,
0570-07-9900 / 03-3230-3000
Noh theatres have seats that provide a view of the stage at all angles: shomen (front stage seat); waki-shomen (side stage seat) facing the hashigakari (bridgeway) connecting the backstage to the stage; and naka-shomen (middle stage seat) between the front stage seat and side stage seat, with a full view of the entire stage. Each seat provides a different experience and impression of the play, so be sure to select your seat carefully.
Many Noh theatres have membership associations that provide a range of information and benefits for people who wish to fully appreciate Nohgaku. The National Noh Theatre, National Theatre of Japan, and National Bunraku Theatre share the same association, Azekura-kai. It offers members the chance to purchase discounted tickets and access members-only lectures and events, as well as receive the association’s publication filled with useful and interesting information, among various other benefits and services.