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Japan is situated in northeastern Asia between the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. The area of Japan is 377,873 square kilometers, nearly equivalent to Germany and Switzerland combined or slightly smaller than California. Japan consists of four major islands, surrounded by more than 4,000 smaller islands.

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Takigi O-Noh(Bonfire Noh performance)

A beautiful and mystic musical theater lit up by bonfires in the evening darkness.

Dates:Third week on Friday and Saturday of May
Place:Kofukuji Temple, Nara City
City:Noborioji-cho, Nara City

Takigi O-Noh is a traditional Japanese musical drama performed on the open-air stage built on the lawn of Kofukuji Temple, which is registered as a World Heritage Site. The stage is made by placing large boards over the lawn, with bamboo poles set up and bound with rope, and the drama is performed amid the illumination of the bonfires which are set alight in early evening. Takigi Noh signifies 'a Noh traditional musical theater drama performed at a banquet held around a bonfire.' In the case of Kofukuji Temple, this is respectfully called Takigi O-Noh, the 'O' being an honorific prefix. Originally, such performances were carried out when sacred takigi (firewood) was delivered to the temple. Today, similar performances are also held in other towns, but this Bonfire Noh is believed to have originated in this temple in 869.

The Noh actors wear lacquer-coated wooden masks and are dressed in gorgeous costumes. Yet the actors never express emotions vocally. The music played by flutes and drums is also very simple and the theatrical stage is characterized by its mystical beauty. On the festival days, you can also see traditional comic drama which used to be performed during the intervals of the Noh. In contrast to the Noh which consists mainly of songs and dance, the traditional drama is performed by spoken lines and comical movements, often making the audience laugh.

If you wish to have a good look, we recommend that you arrive there early for a seat with a clear view. You can also reserve seats by buying either a 1-day ticket costing 3,500 yen or a 2-day ticket which costs 5,000 yen. For more information about tickets, please contact the Nara City Tourist Association.

On the same dates, Noh is also performed at the Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Kasugano-cho, Nara City. May 11th features a ceremony called Shushi Hashiri-no-Gi in the Maiden dance-hall and on May 12th, a ceremony known as Miyashiro Agari-no-Gi is staged in Wakamiya-jinja Shrine. The performance on the 12th is held on a smaller stage, which means that unless you take a seat near the stage, you might not be able to have a good view.

*Photo (C) Nara City Tourist Association


5 minutes' walk from Nara Station on JR and Kintesu Line.


Related Information


Festivals & Events

Traditional Annual Events

Traditional Annual Events