Kabuki in Ginza

4 years ago by in Japan Archives

According to a couple of wiki sites, the Kabuki-za in Ginza is scheduled for demolition this spring, and a new theatre is to be constructed its place. Luckily, I got to see the sixty year old landmark, 120 years old if you count all the building iterations, before it is gone. All I can say is that I hope they keep the architectural styling and character. The ornate, old-world facade of the theatre in contrast with the surrounding ultra-modern shopping district made for wonderful site. It is similar in stature to the other famous Ginza landmark, the Wako department store, although Kabuki-za is really in its own league as a representative of Japanese traditional arts.


There is a final series entitled Kabuki-za Sayonara Kōen (Kabuki-za Farewell Perfromances) running from now till April, when demolition is supposed to begin. During our stay in Tokyo, we attended one of the evening performances. After wandering around Ginza for a little bit, we bought some food from a nearby store, and headed inside. At first I did not understand why this type of preparation was needed, but now I know. When purchasing tickets, you can either select to watch one play or all of them. We opted to watch the entire set, which was about five hours in length, so having snacks on hand during intermissions was nice. I would also suggest getting headsets for English translations. I did not, so all I had to go on storywise was the synopsis in the pamphlet. Nonetheless, I enjoyed watching all the performances.

Kabuki-za Stitched

The headlining photo of the post is actually at the core of this composite. It's not perfect by any means, but I like the near 180 degree view of the theatre and its surroundings. The perspective makes me feel like I am back in front of Kabuki-za, standing on the sidewalk.

Wako Store

The Wako department store, another distinguishing characteristic of Ginza.

Ginza Street Crossing

I heard that they close the main street on the weekends to pedestrian traffic only. Unfortunately, this was not the weekend, so I had to take this picture walking briskly. Something about viewing the street this way really appealed to me, and I took many haphazard photos like this.

Ginza Skyline Example

An example of the Ginza skyline. Many of the upscale districts in Tokyo had very cool looking buildings. In fact, it kept my camera tilted upwards most of the time.

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