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Enjoying Traditional Kabuki at Kyoto’s Gorgeous Minamiza Theatre

Elaborate costumes, gripping tales of intrigue and romance, fantastic set designs and evocative music; watch all these elements come together in the Japanese performance art form known as “kabuki”. Theatre lovers wondering what to see in Kyoto should definitely make time to witness a kabuki performance and the Minamiza Theatre is one of the best places to do so.

Considered as the birthplace of kabuki, this historic theatre is walking distance from Hankyu Railways, Kawaramachi Station and Keihan Railways, Gion-shijo Station. Developed in the 17th century, these stylised performances not only served as a form of entertainment, but were also used to reflect the political, social and cultural aspects of society at the time.

Kabuki performances are made up of a variety of acts and can run up to five hours which includes intermissions. While the language used is mostly an ancient dialect, the performances transcend cultural barriers as such themes as love and honour are universal.

You will notice that the actors convey emotion and feeling without having to say a word. Dressed in colourful costumes and wearing striking face paint, they utilize a wide range of skills including grand poses, acrobatic actions and choreographed dance movements.

Part of the charm of kabuki is the close connection shared between the audience and the actors. So as you watch this poetry in motion unfold before your eyes, do not be too alarmed if you hear sudden shouts of encouragement from the audience, directed towards the stage!