Minamiza Theatre

Minamiza Theatre © Iry

What is Minamiza Theatre

There are many theaters in japan but Minamiza Theatre has a long history of involvement with the traditional art form of Kabuki. The color, design, impressive makeup and costumes, the way in which words are set to the sounds of Japanese instruments, as well as the unique choreography is characteristic of Kabuki. In recent years, there has been demand overseas for Kabuki and it may be what comes to the mind of foreigners when talking about traditional Japanese theater.

Kabuki originated in 1603 when a female performer named Izumo no Okuni performed a "Kabuki Dance" in Shijo-kawara. As a result, seven theaters were built around the Shijo-kawara between 1615 to 1623. Minamiza Theatre is of the original seven. It was built in the early years of Kabuki and is currently the only theater that still remains with traces of the past. The current structure was built in 1929 and underwent significant repair and reopened in 1991. The atmosphere is worth seeing. It has also been registered as a tangible cultural property of Japan.

Casually Experience Kabuki

When visiting Minamiza, visitors are encouraged to see a Kabuki performance. It is not a problem if you don’t understand the Japanese language. There are many old words used in the unique language of the script and even Japanese people who are not familiar with traditional theater cannot understand some of the words. It is such that the music and performance is very unique and it will be an unforgettable experience.

Although the seating and design of the theater is interesting, there is a unique tradition in Kabuki called "Koekake" (Calling out). Audience members shout out the performance group’s name, or such things as "We’ve been waiting for this!" during to the performance in a manner that is not intrusive to the actual performance. At times, performers will reply to these statements. It is a great experience to learn about the history and culture of Japanese traditional entertainment from this very unique angle.


By train: Immediately outside of Exit #6 at Keihan Railway’s Gionshijo Station. 3 minute walk from Exit #1 at Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Railway. A short taxi ride from the JR’s Kyoto Station. Admission fees depend the performance. Minamiza Theatre is open on performance dates but inquiries can be made for uses of the facility on non-performance days or times.

Image Gallery: Minamiza Theatre

Description: Minamiza Theatre

Sights Minamiza Theatre (南座)
Address Higashidume, Shijo-oohashi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-561-1155
Duration 3Hour(s)
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Minamiza Theatre