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Kabukiza Theater (Ginza) Guide: How to Buy Tickets, Free Spots, and Enjoying Without a Ticket!

Kabukiza Theater (Ginza) Guide: How to Buy Tickets, Free Spots, and Enjoying Without a Ticket!

Date published: 11 October 2019
Last updated: 9 June 2020

You can enjoy kabuki performances at Kabukiza, a kabuki theater located in Ginza, Tokyo. While watching a traditional Japanese performing art seems to be an impossible task, the performance has English subtitles and you can also watch one act allowing foreign tourists to casually enjoy Kabuki.

Kabuki is a diverse performance featuring drama and dance. It is a traditional Japanese performing art that dates back to 400 years ago. It was selected as a UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage and continues to garner the attention of people from all over the world.

In this article, we will introduce the charms of Kabukiza that even first-time goers can enjoy, as well as information about theater-going and our recommendations on how to enjoy the performances.

Table of Contents
  1. Kabukiza Theater became a more attractive spot after being renovated in 2013
  2. Casually enjoy Kabuki with a one-act seat
  3. Deepen your understanding of the Kabuki performance with English subtitles
  4. There are also free spots that you can enjoy without a ticket!
  5. All exhibits are authentic in the Kabukiza Gallery

Kabukiza Theater became a more attractive spot after being renovated in 2013

Kabukiza Theater became a more attractive spot after being renovated in 2013
Image: Kabukiza

The current building of Kabukiza, which opened its doors in 1889 as the sole Kabuki theater in the world, is the 5th generation. In 2013, they built a new Kabukiza Tower. It has an underground plaza where you can enjoy shopping, turning the place into a commercial complex with the theater as its main attraction. It also has a gallery and a rooftop garden that various people can enjoy.

Casually enjoy Kabuki with a one-act seat

Casually enjoy Kabuki with a one-act seat
Image: Kabukiza

Filled with dynamic performances and music, Kabuki is divided into several acts (chapters). Most Kabuki performances span for more than 4 hours. For people who don't have the time to watch the whole thing, a one-act seat allows you to choose one act to watch.

Some acts can be less than 20 minutes and even include dances. You can watch it at a reasonable price of about 500 to 2,000 yen (with tax).

However, these tickets are only sold on the day of the performance, so it's a first-come, first-served basis. Check when the tickets of the act you want to watch will be sold and purchase them as soon as possible. (*The details and time of the program as well as ticket prices may vary depending on the month.)

You can leave the line after purchasing the ticket, and you should be in the theater 20 to 30 minutes before the show. Since one-act seats are located at the back near the ceiling, we recommend that you bring opera glasses so you can see the expression and performance of the actors.

Deepen your understanding of the Kabuki performance with English subtitles

Deepen your understanding of the Kabuki performance with English subtitles

For you to understand the lines and details more, we recommend that you rent their English subtitle guide (*) so you can enjoy the play.

*Rental fee is 500 yen + deposit of 1,000 yen (with tax; the deposit will be refunded upon returning the machine). Reserved seats have different rates and rental methods.
*Since the number is limited, they may run out of machines to rent out depending on the number of users.

It comes with a strap that you can wear on your neck to read the subtitles.

The subtitle guide not only displays the lines of the actors in English, it also explains the culture and background of the era when Kabuki was created. You can also concentrate on the play without having to operate the machine since the display automatically switches according to the lines and scenes.

There are also free spots that you can enjoy without a ticket!

There are also free spots that you can enjoy without a ticket!

Kabukiza has a lot of spots that you can enjoy aside from the theater. The Rooftop Garden, located on the 5th floor of the Kabukiza, is right above the audience seats and you can stop by here for free. Next to the garden, there is a bright vermilion “Goemon Kaidan” or Goemon stairs, which descends to the 4th floor.

This was named after Ishikawa Goemon, who appears in a Kabuki performance. From the stairs, you can see the roof tiles of Kabukiza up close.

The tiles feature a Houou crest or a crest of a mythical firebird which is the symbol of the Kabukiza.
There is one crest facing the opposite direction and finding it may bring a smile on your face. Try to search for it!

On the 4th floor, you can find the "Fourth Floor Corridor: Memories of Kabukiza" which features stage photographs of successive generations of Kabuki performers and dioramas of the past Kabukiza buildings. Like the rooftop, this place can also be accessed for free, so feel free to visit it.

You can see the previous Kabukiza building in a 3D diorama and photos

All exhibits are authentic in the Kabukiza Gallery

All exhibits are authentic in the Kabukiza Gallery

Housed on the 5th floor of the Kabukiza, the Kabukiza Gallery is an experience-based facility where you can experience stage settings and even ride some of the props used in an actual play. You can also take photos, so people of all ages can enjoy this gallery.

You can actually ride the boat and enter the cages that were used in the play. The wall background was drawn for the exhibition by craftsmen from Kabukiza.

They also have posters with explanations of the exhibits written in English.

The Kabukiza Gallery, housed on the 5th floor of the Kabukiza Tower, is an experience-based facility that allows people to experience stage settings and even ride some of the props used in actual plays.

This is a gorgeous costume of an oyama or a male actor in a female role. If you look up close, you will be amazed by the brilliance and details of the ornaments.
Turn into a Kabuki actor by trying on these authentic props.

The charm of Kabukiza is that they offer reasonably priced tickets and a variety of ways to enjoy it such as spots that you can enjoy for free. If you feel that traditional performing arts are intimidating, you can start from experiencing the culture and atmosphere of Kabuki. You will surely enjoy it without any worry.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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