Kanamaruza Kabuki Theater 旧金毘羅大芝居「金丸座」
Visit Japan's oldest surviving Kabuki theater
The Former Konpira Grand Theatre (commonly known as Kanamaruza) was built in 1835, and is the oldest existing playhouse in Japan. In the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868) worship of Konpira (a deity said to protect seafairers) flourished, and many people visited the Kotohiragu Shrine dedicated to Konpira. Kabuki performances and lotteries were held as entertainment for these pilgrims.
- A tour in English from one of the volunteer guides
- Exploring the backstage area and seeing the dressing rooms, cellar trapdoors, and revolving stage used by the kabuki actors
How to Get There
The Former Konpira Grand Theare (Kanamaruza) is about a 15-minute walk from JR Kotohira Station, or Kotoden Kotohira Station. From JR Takamatsu Station, visitors can take the JR Yosan Line directly to JR Kotohira Station, which takes about an hour.
The mechanisms used in the Edo period have been restored and are used even today; most are manually powered, and quite rare to see in modern Japan
The theater still stages kabuki performances during the springtime that are popular with local residents and visitors nationwide
Kabuki performances at Kanamaruza
The name of the theater has changed with ownership, but the name "Kanamaruza" has stuck ever since it was renamed in 1900. After a period of disuses, the building was designated an Important Cultural Property in 1970 as the Former Konpira Grand Theatre. It was moved to its current location and restored over a four-year period beginning in 1972.
What is Kabuki?
Kabuki is a traditional Japanese performing art whose origins date back over 400 years. All of the characters in Kabuki are played by male actors who wear extravagant makeup, traditional costumes, and perform with exaggerated movements.
The story of each performance is expressed through movements, facial expressions, sounds, lighting, and stage background. As such as sensory experience, it can be enjoyed by the uninitiated, even if they don't understand Japanese.
Combine your visit to the Kabuki theater with a trip to the nearby Kotohiragu Shrine. Situated on Mt. Zozu, the main shrine is around a 45-minute climb up 785 stone steps.
There are many restaurants and souvenir stores on the approach to the shrine, as well as footbaths and hot springs. Be sure to take time to visit them on your way out.
The latest information may differ, so please check the official website
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.