Noh is the oldest art theatre in Japan,which became popular in the Muromachi period. The stage is about as large as Kyo-ma３ken,the measure-ment of Tatami in Kyoto-style(measuring about six by six meters),and has 4 pillars on each corner.You can also see the pine trees painted on the back wall on the stage.It is said that the pine painted came from “Sarugaku” ,the origin of Noh,which was originally performed as a ritual in front of pine trees for gods, not for audiences.The small steps in the front of the stage are called”Kizahashi”, it used to be used by officials that stepped onto the stage from the kizahashi, in order to call the start of a Noh performance or for good performers to be given rewards by a Tono-sama(Japanese lord).
Now,it isn’t used but still remains,and they never forget to leave the stage .Noh performers stand on the stage with their face covered with a mask.This makes their visibility poor and they have to perform a dance with their senses.So the 4 pillars and Kizahashi also have a very important roll,to confirm their positions on the stage.
Noh tends to be thought of as solemn and difficult to understand even Japanese people.The manager of the Cerulean Tower Noh Theatre,Ms.Uda, gave me the following hint of how to enjoy Noh, if you are a beginner.”Use your imagination fully” On the Noh stage,without decorations,use their bodies & actions to depict the meaning of the story.Walking around the stage,as if they were going over a mountain, and
us-ing small props to show something like a big rock.Using your imagination more and more makes you feel exited and this is the best part of enjoying Noh. Moreover, many beautiful Kimono dresses and masks that the performers wear, are works of art with Edo style,which have been passed down. You can enjoy the breathtaking beauty too.It doesn’t matter whether you are dressed up or jeans,this place welcomes you, who-ever wants to enjoy Noh. And you can have a cup or green tea(match) or a Japanese sweet atintermission(This is only hosted by Cerulean Tower Noh Theatre). The man in a picture/video is Mr.Sakai Otomasa. He is the”Kanze-ryu(*1) shite-kata(*2)”of Noh. (*1:one of the Noh theatre schools) (2*:a man who plays a leading role) When we went to observed the theatre as he was practicing on the day by chance. He was gently accepted our offer to take a photo! Thank you.
On the days ,the Cerulean Tower Noh Theater has no performance,you can visit and observe the theater for free. please check theH.P!