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“A Theatrical Triumph”
Review of Kabukiza Theater

Kabukiza Theater
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Private Ginza Architecture Walking Tour
Ranked #3 of 328 things to do in Chuo
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Traditional Japanese Kabuki performances can be seen at this refurbished theater in the Ginza district.
Reviewed May 18, 2013

I don't have much to add to previous reviews, other than agreeing that a night-out at the Kabuki is a must when visiting Tokyo (as is a night-out at the National Noh Theatre in Shibuya).

Tickets in the upper circle were 20000 yen. Not cheap, but totally worth it.

I also recommend the hand/headsets that give English commentary. Well worth the 700 yen hiring fee.

Magnificent, and certainly the most interesting thing in otherwise-boring Ginza, by a wide margin.

Thank pete-from-oz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 24, 2013

One of the absolute highlights of our trip to Japan, this great theatre hosts Kabuki performances which will leave you mesmerized. Handsets with interpretation (at least in English) are provided for a charge. Small shops inside the theatre sell a variety of sweets, drinks and souvenirs. The performances (we saw two on the night we visited) were extraordinary. There are normally three performances a day. Tickets are a little tricky to get. You can go to a site, such as http://www.tokyokabukiguide.com/ and check availability. Then you need to send an email and you will get a reply. Our tickets were delivered by an authorised agent for an extra charge of 2000 yen per ticket.

Thank Must_try_it_all
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2013

Although the new building faithfully reproduces the architecture of the old one that was closed for reconstruction three years ago, modern acoustics, elevators and escalators have been added and the seats actually have padding, marrying comfort with tradition.

The plays are still read in old Japanese with singsong intonation that make the dialogue both fascinating and impenetrable - fortunately you can rent headphones for JPY700, a bargain when you've forked out over JPY20,000 for the performance.

Every mimic, gesture, dance step, costume, and dialogue line is so steeped in tradition kabuki theatre has no need for directors (with the exception of the new-fangled Shakespeare plays). If he wears a red kimono, he's a princess (yes, men play all parts including women and some specialise in female parts). If his face is painted red, he's evil.

Music and sound effects (all live) are also highly stylised, so it helps to read up before you attend a play so you know what the clacking and swishing sounds mean. The conventions about what you see and what you don't could be a worthy topic for a thesis.At the very least, please remember the stage hands dressed in black are meant to be invisible - don't applaud their performance!

Kabuki acting is hereditary and you may see grandfather, son and grandson on stage together, or uncle and nephew - it's a complicated and demanding business when you have to perform 25 days a month then learn the part for the next month - the highest honour is being designated a National Treasure.

Some of the plays originate in Bunraku (puppet theatre) or Noh, but all of them are venerable (the newest from the 17th century) and they perpetuate strong aspects of Japanese culture so it's worth seeing at least an excerpt if you can get tickets.

The souvenir shops offer imaginative gifts to take back home so make sure you pay them a visit.

A strongly recommended experience of old and modern Japan.

2  Thank brancusirocks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2013

I love Kabuki and happened to be in Tokyo just as the theater was reopening after being rebuilt for the 4th time in its history. The outside looks great; the inside was a little bright for my taste but has better seats and access than before. (No more tramping up and down the stairs--there are elevators!) But Kengo Kuma's architecture is not the reason to go; the performances are. I was lucky enough to see two great stars perform in "Kanjincho," which will run (along with several other plays) in repertory for the next year. I highly recommend a visit. If you don't want to see a whole play, you can see a two-hour act from the fourth floor--just get there early, as tickets go fast.

Thank hopeanderson09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2012

Kabuki theater is not so cheap but part of a beautiful japanese culture. Mostly the lines are read in old japanese so even for a regular japanese it could be difficult to understand. But nowadays there are translations so anyone could enjoy.

1  Thank VaerSaaGod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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