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National Theater

Tokyo

A theater for traditional Japanese performing arts that is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

The National Theatre was opened in 1966 for the preservation, promotion, research, and study of traditional Japanese performing arts handed down from ancient times, and the development of successors. Its exterior appearance resembles the azekura log-cabin style of Shosoin in Todai-ji Temple, Nara Prefecture. It is comprised of two stages: the Large Theatre, where kabuki, Japanese traditional dances, and gagaku (Japanese court music) are performed, and the Small Theatre, where hogaku (traditional Japanese music), bunraku (traditional puppet plays), and folk performing arts are performed.

An English earphone guide service is available for kabuki and bunraku performances, which explains the story, parts, costumes, parts of the set, and conventions and rules to help you enjoy the performances. Next to the theatre is the Traditional Performing Arts Information Centre, which was built in 2003 to provide information on traditional performing arts. In the centre’s Information Exhibition Room, you can see the actual costumes and props used on stage up close. On the second floor is the Reading Room, where you can refer to books on traditional performing arts and access the Cultural Digital Library, which offers information on the performance schedule of the National Theatre, archive footage, images of beautiful costumes, photos of the stage, and nisihi-e (woodcut prints of the portraits of actors). The Lecture Room is on the third floor, where lectures are held and archive footage of performances is shown on an irregular basis.

Information

Address: 4-1 Hayabusa-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3265-7411
Closed: Depends on the performance
Directions: About a 5 minute-walk from Hanzomon Station on the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line or about an 8minute- walk from Nagatacho Station on the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon and Nanboku lines

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