Greetings Kyoto Travelers,
Have you seen a Noh play in Japan?
Noh is a drama from the 14th century which involves music and dance. The story is told though singing, dancing and musical accompaniment. The actors are dressed in colorful traditional dresses and use a special hand-made mask when they portray certain characters. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures inside the theatre and there is no chance to have a closer look at the costumes or the masks. However, there is a place in Kyoto where you can take a peek behind the curtains!
This private Noh theatre is hidden in the heart of Kyoto City. You would never guess that the small traditional house in front of you harbors such a treasure!
The Noh Master welcomes us in a wide tatami room with a beautiful wooden stage in the middle. He is very kind and passionate about Noh. We are allowed to go up on the stage and he shows us how actors slide their feet on the floor as a key rule of moving. They always walk so naturally and light, but actually this movement is really difficult.
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The highlight of our visit is when the Master unpacks a few colorful silk poaches. As he unfolds the layers carefully, a beautiful female mask appears followed by a devil, an oni and an old man mask. He let us hold the masks, explains how to wear them and we can try on any of the mask and take a picture. The eye-holes are so small, it is a miracle that actors can move smoothly wearing these!
hand-made wooden Noh masks
It was a great experience and the Master was so kind and knowledgeable, that we were really sad to leave the theatre.. If you are interested in traditional Japanese drama, this is definitely your place to ask questions and take a closer look at this magical world!
Devil mask! - you can even try it on!
Learn more about the Noh Theatre and our chauffeur-guided tours at the links below:
See you next time,
MK Taxi Kyoto
Tours containing the private Noh theatre:
1, The way of a Geisha tour
2, Sake, Noh and Shibori tour
3, Sake, Noh and Washi tour