Kabukiza Theater opened again after 3 years of reconstruction and renovation. The general image of Kabukiza Theater is that it is targeted mainly at a regular audience which likes the reverberation of the plays’ solemn speeches, but the newly opened theater has been turned into a place that even non-fans can enjoy visiting. Even without a ticket you can enter the underground shopping zone, the roof terrace on the 5th floor or the Kabukiza Gallery, and relish the peculiar atmosphere. A new spot you should definitely visit!
Take a photo of the entire building from Higashi-Ginza station’s exit 4
Kabukiza Theater was reopened in April 2013. As many kabuki fans wanted to watch the plays in the newly reconstructed building, getting a ticket became a very hard task. However, I will now introduce several ways to enjoy the place even if you don’t have a ticket.
Subway Higashi-Ginza station’s exit 2 is directly connected to the underground floor of the theater, but if you want to take a photo of the newly reconstructed building, use exit 4 instead.
It will lead you to the pavement on the opposite side of the street, from where you will be able to take a photo of the entire majestic Kabukiza Theater building. Many people do the same and take photos of the impressive building. The street in front of the theater is quite busy and some large trucks often run along, so you might only have one chance for a valuable photo.
Right of the main entrance is Kabuki Inari Daimyojin shrine
Right of Kabukiza Theater’s main entrance is the little Kabuki Inari Daimyojin shrine. In the past Kabukiza Theater was surrounded by a wall and ordinary people could not reach this shrine, but the newly constructed place is located on a very prominent place and everyone can visit it freely.
At the beginning of every month the all the actors gather in front of the little shrine and say together “Senshu Banzai Ooirikano”, which is a prayer for success of the stage shows. Now not only the people from the entertainment industry, but we also can pray to watch a great spectacle.
Souvenir shopping area on basement level 2
There is a shopping area on basement level 2 which is directly connected to Higashi-Ginza station’s exit 2. On a rainy day you can enter without getting wet.
Here you can buy not only Kabukiza Theater souvenirs, but also an ice cream with traditional Kabuki-age rice crackers or freshly baked “kintsuba” Japanese confectionary. You can eat as you walk. There is a convenience store, a café, restaurants, so this place is ideal to stop by during your Ginza shopping or to arrange a meeting with someone. From basement level 2 take the elevator to the roof terrace on floor 5.
The roof terrace and the gallery on floor 5
There is a roof terrace on the 5th floor where you can see Higashi-Ginza area. The terrace is arranged in a garden style with roof tiles commemorating the past history of Kabukiza Theater installed. There are also monuments of past actors and a lot of other things to see.
In front of the garden is “Kabukiza Gallery” (admission fee required). It displays items related to kabuki and Japanese culture, so it is quite attractive for foreign visitors.
While watching the Kabukiza Theater’s roof, take the vermillion-lacquered Goemon stairs down to the 4th floor corridor called “Kabukiza’s memories” where you will see an exhibition of the theater’s past buildings. You will be pleased to see little models of Kabukiza Theater’s past buildings from the old centuries.
Kabukiza Gallery Open: 10:00~ 18:00 (last admission until 17:30), no closing days Admission fee: 500 JPY (free for children under elementary school age)
How about a photo of you becoming a kabuki actor?
There is a place called “Studio Alice photo room” on the 5th floor where you can have an interesting experience. You can rent a kimono and choose the “Watching kabuki with a kimono” option, or you can get white make-up, clothes and a wig and become dressed up as a kabuki actor with the “Become a kabuki actor” option. Many people are attracted by the fantastic experiences offered here.
If you choose the “Become a kabuki actor” plan, you can dress up as some typical roles like newly-married woman, town girl, young samurai, or as characters from famous plays held in April and May. Choose the option that allows you to dress up as many different characters.
If you choose “Kabukiza visit commemoration” option, you will get a photo taken in front of a typical Kabukiza play background. The photo comes with a mat in just 1 minute, making this option quite enjoyable.
As you can see, there are many interesting place to visit in Kabukiza Theater even if you don’t have a ticket. Feel the atmosphere of the place and next time you will want to buy a ticket and watch the actual plays. But first go and explore!