A 250-year-old festival featuring elaborately decorated floats and all-girls kabuki
You may have heard of kabuki, a traditional form of Japanese theater traditionally restricted to male actors. But have you heard of children's kabuki? What is more, one performed only by girls? Here in Komatsu City, that is precisely how kabuki continues to live on as part of the 250-year-old Otabi Festival in May. The plays are performed not on ordinary stages, but on unique festival floats called hikiyama. Hidden within these floats are pull-out hanamichi walkways, an essential part of kabuki stages. Eight of these floats remain in Komatsu and are reassembled every year from scratch by the respective neighborhoods that own them. It is also from these neighborhoods that the young actresses are selected and go through grueling training in the months leading up to the big event. The festival climax comes at night, when the grand assembly of hikiyama come aglow to provide a stunning backdrop to the finale performances. But even if you cannot make the festival, you can always experience kabuki costumes and traditional instruments, and view two of the towering hikiyama up close at the Miyossa Gallery.