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Kurokawa Noh Village - Unveiling the Secrets of the Noh

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advisory information;
In order to prevent the spread COVID-19, accommodations, transportation, and tourist facilities may change the services shown in brochures or on their official website without notice. For more information, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) advisory information page.
We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause, and we very much appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

The spirit of classical Japanese theater burns ever so brightly in Yamagata prefecture’s little-known village of Kurokawa, lighting up the global scene with half a millennium of Noh theater handed over from before Edo times.

This farming village is known for many things, including its rich farming heritage and relaxing onsens, but it is as well overwhelmingly popular for its unique take on Noh. Closely guarded by the locals, and harnessed into a powerful storytelling weapon, nothing compares to the experience of witnessing raw Noh artwork at its pinnacle!

Kurokawa has borne testament to some of the most interesting Noh theater, tuned and refined over 500 years to offer flawless entertainment.

 

Duration:

4 Hours

2021 Schedule:

March to December

  • Please let us know your preferred dates.

Includes:

Local guide, Japanese to English interpreter, traditional festive lunch.

Transportation Service:

Transport is not included.
Ogi Kaikan is best accessed by private car or taxi. It is a 15-20 minute drive from central Tsuruoka.

During this trip, follow the knowledgeable Noh insiders to visit Kasuga Shrine, the site of the Ogisai Festival, which is an all-night Noh performance. Kurokawa Noh has two performance groups, and includes 540 different dramas and 50 comedy “kyogen”.

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Peeling back the Noh Mask

There are hundreds of masks and costumes circulating within Kurokawa Noh and Noh in general however it is believed that they were initially only 60 types at the beginning. As opposed to the makeup common in Kabuki performances, Noh masks are portrayed to have a more spiritual emphasis on the wearer.

The mask is usually carved from wood and detailed to represent a multitude of traits including supernatural entities like divine creatures and demons. Based on the facial features, one can deduce from the Noh Mask the portrayed social standing of the character, gender, and age.

 

The mask serves to spark the imagination of the audience and is paired with gestures and body language to bring to life the performance.

Noh masks can generally be grouped into six categories although plenty of other variations exist. In mainstream history, they can be classified as Okina, Jō, Onna-men, Otoko-men, Kishin, and Onryō. Old man masks, otherwise known as Okina, are the oldest kinds of Noh masks and they became popular in the dying chapter of the Heian era.

Jō, or elder masks, are normally used to portray spirits while woman masks (Onna-men) are what most people think of when they talk about Noh as they are the most popular variation, and are classified by character and age.
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Otoko-men (man masks), on the other hand, are grouped per character and social class. Finally, kishin are representative of eerie creatures namely goblins, demons, etc. as Onryō are implored to perform the roles of regretful spirits.

Why is Noh Theater so Captivating to watch? Here are Three Exciting Details!

Noh theater is normally a reminiscent retelling of a past event and it can sometimes be inspired by ancient and famous Japanese literature. Unlike other acts that are typically over the top, in a good way, Noh is not as forceful a reenactment as Kabuki, for example.

It is a more simplistic form of storytelling that allows the audience to interpret the act. The performance can blend acting, dancing, and music.

This authentic Noh experience in Kurokawa specifically is sought after for three reasons. A friendly community of village people and a Noh theater touched by the gods being the first two.

Kurukova Noh Village-01

 

Here, you’ll delve into the secrets of living well with a diverse society, accepting each person’s place in a social chain full of diversity and challenges, and learn much more about tolerance and acceptance within the community.

Additionally, you’ll get to reflect on what you’ve learned and seen in the tasty companionship of an Ogisai festival-inspired tofu lunch, traditionally made by the natives!

Small village Kurokawa may be, but it offers a tremendous experience in terms of history and tradition. You’ll get to discover that at the private Noh theater for the gods at the Kasuga Shrine. The group will proceed to this point after converging at Ogi Kaikan, the cultural center of the village.

Noh Mask

Noh is not only to be seen but also to be experienced. The best way to be part of impressive culture and art is through hands-on enactment and visitors get the chance to play characters they’ve only seen so far in the play.

You too can take to the stage and show the world what you have learned about the intricacies of a Noh performance. Savor the sensation of the Noh Mask, take on new life in your role, and entangle with tradition through customary costumes as hidden talent explodes from within.

All these experiences await at the Denshukan building, where you’ll train under a Noh master well-versed with movement, poise, and body language, among other elements of exemplary Noh theater.

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Related Tours:
1. Yamabushido Training Programs
2. Kurukowa Noh Village
3. Zen At Zenpoji
4. Zen at Yamadera
5. Foraging At Dewaya Inn

Here Are A Few Other FAQs We Get A Lot:

How do I get there?

Ogi Kaikan: The Home of Kurokawa Noh, Miyanoshita-253 Kurokawa, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0311, Japan . Ogi Kaikan is best accessed by private car or taxi. It is a 15-20 minute drive from central Tsuruoka.

Is this a religious activity?

It Isn’t. We hope that all visitors will respect the teachings, but people of all faiths and non-believers are welcome to participate.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advisory information ;

In order to prevent the spread COVID-19, accommodations, transportation, and tourist facilities may change the services shown in brochures or on their official website without notice. For more information, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) advisory information page.
We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause, and we very much appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

Available dates for Kurokawa Noh Village?

Dates will be written here.

Refund policy?

If the guest cancels their tour after the booking process is completed, cancellation fees will apply.

What do I need to bring?

We will be moving around a bit and sitting on the floor, so be sure to wear loose-fitting clothes.