What is Kabuki ?

What is Kabuki ?

Kabuki is a traditional form of Japanese theatre that began in the 17th century, as a form of popular culture for the masses. Known for its dramatic poses and plots, as well as lavish costumes and make-up, it has been inscribed in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Komatsu is one of few places where kabuki remains a deeply-rooted tradition carried on by the present generation, even hosting the Japan Children’s Kabuki Festival annually! In particular, the plays performed at the Otabi Festival in May overturn the men-only norm of kabuki, instead giving local girls the time to shine.

Otabi Festival

The best way to learn about Komatsu’s rich kabuki culture is to attend one of our kabuki festivals in May. But if you can’t, MIYOSSA is the next best place: a gallery that conveys scenes of the kabuki festivals, including display of the actual festival floats used! Iconic of the Otabi Festival where they are used as stages for the children’s kabuki plays, these hikiyama floats are usually brought out of storage only during the festival. But two of them are specially exhibited year-round in Miyossa!
A rare chance to admire the intricate workmanship and decorations up close, which make these floats themselves a work of art.

Accompanying that are a variety of kabuki-related experiential activities, including the chance to transform into a kabuki performer through costume and make-up! (see walkthrough by @cheeserland)

Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM
Closed: Wed (Dec-Mar), 12/30-1/1
Admission: Free (separate fees for experiences)
Access: 5 min walk from Komatsu Sta.

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  • Kanjincho Museum

    Kanjincho Museum

    A museum dedicated to telling the story of Kanjincho, a legendary historical episode which took place in the adjacent Ataka-no-seki Barrier Ruins and adapted into one of Japan’s “18 Best Kabuki Plays”. Not only can you read about the history of the play and Komatsu’s deep-rooted kabuki tradition, but also admire the actual costumes, attend a virtual theater, and have fun at the interactive corner “trying” on costumes, make-up and your own kabuki poses!

    Do pick up a free copy of the Kanjincho manga for a fun overview of the story!

    Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM
    Closed: Wed, year-end
    Admission: 300 yen
    Access: 10 min bus from Komatsu Sta., followed by 10 min walk / 20 min cycle

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    Related Pages:
    Komatsu Share Cycle: A New Way to Explore Komatsu!

  • URARA Theater

    URARA Theater

    The main kabuki theater in Komatsu, where both citizens and big-name kabuki stars like Ichikawa Danjuro regularly perform. The venue for the Japan Children’s Kabuki Festival in May.