National Bunraku Theatre

entertainment-nightlife / Other

Lonely Planet review

This is probably the best place in Japan to see the mesmerising puppet-mastery of bunraku . Attending a full performance can be an all-day affair, with two parts running about four hours each. You can just buy a ticket to one part, or, a fantastic option for time-poor travellers is the single-act ticket. These are sold on the day (from 9.45am) and can't be reserved, so you need to show up at the box office in the morning and hope seats are available for one of the acts. Tickets for full plays start at around ¥2300 or ¥5800 depending on seats, with single-act tickets proportionally cheaper. English audio guides can be hired (¥650) and the theatre provides English programs explaining the stories. Performances are usually held during January, April, July, August and November: check the website or at the tourist offices for current dates. Shows sell out quickly.