For those who are thinking,
「I want to watch Kabuki in Kyoto!」
「I’m planning on going to the Kyoto Minami-za.」
then this article is for you!
Hello! WABI SABI here, to give foreign visitors the information you need in order to further enjoy Japan!
What we, the information brokers of Japan, would like to introduce in this article is a place where you can enjoy Kabuki and the other arts, Kyoto Minami-za.
We will be listing off basic and useful information which should further enhance your enjoyment of this special place in Kyoto.
Now let’s get right into it!
What Kind Of Place Is Kyoto Minami-za?
The Kyoto Minami-za has 100 years of history and culture under its belt. It is also said to be the only stage to tell the story of the 7 Yagura, officially built in Kyoto Shijo Kawaramachi during Genna period, to this day.
Among the other 7, 2 Za’s were the only ones left when the Meiji era began. However, during 1893, Kitagawa Shibai was also abandoned, making Minami-za the only stage left to become what it is now.
In 1996, Minami-za was recognized as Japan’s Registered Tangible Cultural Property, raising its historical value!
They do many different performances and Kabuki all year long, with the year-end Kichirei kaomise kōgyō being part of Kyoto’s yearly activities.
Can’t Just Only Look!?
It is said that the Minami-za is Japan’s oldest stage that has been standing since the Edo period.
It is also said that the Kichirei kaomise kōgyō was also constantly done even during warring times.
You cannot just go inside Minami-za to take a look anymore.
You can go in to see the performances, but you cannot enter unless you plan on doing so as well.
You can enjoy the many things that represents Japan such as commercial performances, Rakugo, musicals, and of course, Kabuki!
A Stage Brimming In Vermillion and Gold!
The highlight here is the gorgeous stage that is beautifully brimming in vermillion and gold.
You can definitely feel the attention to culture in the lattice on the marble stairs, the patterns on the roof lanterns, the design of the curtains, and from the pattern on the doorknobs.
We Recommend Getting Reservations For The Eatery!
There are eateries on each floor where you can eat at during the break times. There are also many people that make reservations to them.
If you make a reservation then you can definitely eat there!
There are also souvenirs and that you can only get from here and many sweets!
Why not give this place a peak while you’re there?
How To Enjoy Kyoto・Minami-za For Newcomers!
When going to watch the Kabuki performances, the price of the first floor seats increase.
It is best to enjoy the atmosphere at the 3rd or 2nd class seats called the Tenjō Sajiki.
It is good to first go to take in and enjoy the atmosphere first, then to go for the expensive seats.
Although, it may be hard to clearly see the faces of the actors, you can definitely enjoy the Gohiiki actors from afar before going to see them up-close.
You will definitely not be left dissatisfied!
When curtains open, either a famous actor or a rising actor comes on stage.
When this happens there are people that will shout “Matte Mashita!!! (We’ve been waiting or this!!!)”, surprising not only foreigners but other Japanese people!
However, it is definitely not an uncommon thing as it is a staple to do so in Kabuki.
The people who do so are called the O-Mukou or the Gallery.
They were originally people who loved Kabuki would continuously come to the cheap Tenjō Sajiki. They would try to excite everyone with their voices in accordance to the quality of the performance.
These people are even said to be very important in current Kabuki as exciters!
There is a game where you can experience being an O-Mukou at the west entrance.
Those who want to experience being an O-Mukou should participate!
In the game, you shout at a screen and it rates you on you timing and voice volume through the face of the actor on screen.
It is a popular game as you get to experience being an O-Mukou which is rare to actually be.
Head To Ponto-cho After Minami-za!
We recommend going to Ponto-cho to enjoy the scenery after enjoying yourself at Minami-za.
There are many charming shops that are lined up along the stone pavements of Kamogawa which are also just as charming to look around at.
There are even Tea shops and Obanzai shops which are very fitting for Kyoto’s atmosphere.
There are also many meat shops, surprising many people.
There is a cooling platform standing in the summertime. From May to September there are lanterns swaying in the cool wind next to river.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement in saying that this is the representative sight of Kyoto, so why not come to see it?
There are many shops that serve course dishes at a reasonable and enjoyable price.
There are also ramen and okonomiyaki shops where you can have a relaxed meal.
You will definitely be able to make wonderful memories in a different scenery to what you are used to!
Not only will you be able to make good memories, you will also be able to learn through experiencing things you haven’t before!
Kyoto・Minami-za Facility Info
The business hours aren’t set as the timing of each performance is different.
In terms of access info, you can walk for about 3 minutes from the number 1 exit in the Hankyu Railway Kawaramachi Station or from the number 6 exit in the Keihan Railway Gion Shijo.
It is convenient to get a taxi from the JR Kyoto Station.