Kyoto Takigi Nō｜京都薪能
The oldest style of Japanese theater still practiced today, tracing its origins back over six hundred years, nō (or "noh") is a highly stylized, ritualistic combination of narrative music and dance with actors donning rich costumes and masks to portray their roles. Dealing with supernatural and legendary subjects such as the ghosts of tormented warriors and gods who descend to walk among mortals or share a tale, nō performances are usually hours long and are composed of four nō plays with a kyōgen comedy in between. Some nō takes place at night on a stage lit with torches in a tradition called takigi nō (nō by firelight), and Kyoto residents and visitors have a chance to take part in such an event every year on June 1st and 2nd at the historic Heian Jingū, a shrine in the Okazaki area of the old capital.
Two nō schools, the Kanze and the Kongō, as well as the Ōkura school of kyōgen, put on five different plays each night, and as night fell the audience packed in for the rare opportunity to view nō on an open-air stage. The theme of the 66th annual performance in 2015 was "The 120th Anniversary of the Founding of Heian Shrine: Feelings of the Gods & Winds of Prayer", and the 2016 performance theme was "A Prayer for Recovery and Peace for the Olympic Year".
Tickets are available for 4,000 yen in advance and 5,000 yen at the door, and explanatory booklets in Japanese are on sale with a commemorative clear file.
For those who don’t speak Japanese, however, there are also English language books containing summaries made available, and the Nō Association chairman's message is also translated live.
Take a look at the photos to explore the world of the 65th, 66th, and 67th annual takigi nō and learn more about the plays and their captivating stories!
Things to See/Do
Consult the official Kyoto Takigi Nō website here.
- General Admission: ¥600 for Shin’en Garden
- Junior High School, High School: ¥300 for Shin’en Garden
- Primary School: ¥300 for Shin’en Garden
- General Admission: 06:00 – 17:30 (Shin’en Garden: 08:30 – 17:00)
- Closed: No closing days