Kabuki-za theatre in the Ginza district, with night reflections.
Photo by: OiMax, Creative Commons

With so many things to see and do in Tokyo, a visit to the amazing Kabuki-za theatre could be overlooked. This would be a shame, as not other theatre is as famous and grand as this one. The history of the theatre dates all the way back to 1899, and much has happened to the structure since that time.

The Kabuki-za has been completely destroyed not once, not twice, but three times. Fire, earthquake, and war have each ravaged the building. While these elements are responsible for destroying thousands of buildings in Tokyo, what makes this one different is that it continues to be rebuilt time and time again.

The majority of the plays are presented in old Japanese language. Visitors may rent headphones that can be used to listen to translated language versions of not only the play, but background explanations and context explanations as well.

Don’t be surprised if you see local residents using translation headphones at the Kabuki-za. Old Japanese and new Japanese are quite different.

The typical length of a show at the Kabuki-za is about four hours. Show times may vary, but the matinee often starts around 11am local time. The evening show usually begins around 4pm local time.

Those who would prefer not to spend four hours watching a show at the Kabuki-za may be able to watch a single act instead. Tickets are offered for single act viewing on a first come, first served basis on the day of the show.

The Kabuki-za theatre is currently closed for renovation. It is estimated that the theatre will re-open sometime during 2013.

However, the show must go on, and visitors who wish to see Kabuki plays may still do so at the nearby Shinbashi Enbujo. Though the setting will not be the same, Kabuki plays are something that will be remembered for a long time.

Tokyo Famous Landmarks

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