Ginza, an area known for its expensive shopping mall. The region itself is surrounded by a variety of skyscrapers and shopping malls. However, Ginza is not only offering its expensive taste but also cultural tourism through Kabukiza Theatre.
The Kabukiza Theater has undergone renovation a year ago thus now it stands majestically among the skyscraper buildings in Ginza. Seeing this theater from a distance, you will sense a contrast look between Kabukiza Theater and its surrounding building. The architecture of the building is pretty much still the same like in the old days. The exterior is decorated with red-colored lanterns and those oriental curves. I had the opportunity to attend the Theater Kabukiza in an event held by The 27th Tokyo International Film Festival.
Kabukiza Theater in Ginza was established in 1899 and has survived various kinds of events such as wars, earthquakes, and remodeling. One thing I found interesting is the relation between Charlie Chaplin and this theater; 1899 is also the year of birth Chaplin. The silent film icon was reportedly visited this theater often and a very fond fan of kabuki. Chaplin even took a picture with kabuki master Matsumoto Koshiro VII in March 1936.
Kabuki can be defined as the art of Japan. It could be said that Kabuki is a Japanese version of the puppet theater (wayang) in Indonesia. I strongly recommend to see kabuki performances if you want to feel the real Japanese culture. In Japan alone, kabuki considered an art that requires a high artistic soul to be able to enjoy it. Not to mention the entry ticket is quite expensive. The entire cast of the theater is men. Though performed by male only, kabuki actors have been taught how to act feminine and how to dress well.
If you just want to taste the experience, order a ticket to watch a half or so-called Hitomaku-mi, for ¥ 1,000- ¥ 2,000. Typically, a full kabuki performances will take about 4 hours. One round of the show will last for about 30 minutes. Tickets are usually sold on a one-half day of the performance at the floor 4. If you want to buy this ticket, it is advisable to arrive early because these tickets quickly sold out. Do not forget to rent an interpreter device in order to hear the explanation of the theater in the English language.
Before entering the theater, it’s also recommended to get around in kabuki museum located on the 5th floor. Aside from the museum, there is also a small garden and shops selling green tea ice cream. Entering the museum will be charged but entering the building does not charge at all. In the museum, there are a lot of objects and history related to kabuki displayed. You can see the clothes and even the musical instruments played in kabuki. There is also a photo studio where visitors can take pictures with kabuki equipment complete with costumes. You can take the photo home and used as a keepsake.
The stage of kabuki covered by a curtain with green, brown, and black color. These colors taken from the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu who donated sails to Nakamura-za (one of the theaters that have license to perform in Edo period). That night, I watched a folklore about the red-haired mystical animals which guard the bridge. Japanese actress Rie Miyazawa also present to greet the audience. And after watching the show, the audiences were presented with City of Light’s Charlie Chaplin.
Oh, I forgot one thing, one of interesting part watching kabuki is eating bento during the intermission of the show. Special in that day, I had the opportunity to try Makunouchi Bento which recreated from the recipe in Edo era.