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Top ChoiceSpectator Sport in Asakusa & Sumida River

Ryōgoku Kokugikan

Ryōgoku Kokugikan

If you’re in town when a tournament is on, don't miss the chance to catch the big boys of Japanese wrestling in action at the country's largest sumo stadium. The main spectacle starts 3.40pm when the makuuchi...

Top ChoiceTheatre in Ginza & Tsukiji

Kabukiza

Kabukiza

The flamboyant facade of this venerable theatre is fitting for the extravagant dramatic flourishes that are integral to the traditional performing art of kabuki. Check the website for performance details and to...

Top ChoiceTheatre in Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

National Theatre

Japan's most important theatre for traditional performing arts stages kabuki, gagaku (music of the imperial court), kyōmai (Kyoto-style traditional dance), bunraku (classic puppet theatre) and more. Visit the...

Top ChoiceJazz in Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

Shinjuku Pit Inn

This is Tokyo's best jazz spot: intimate, unpretentious and with an always solid line-up of influential, avant-garde, crossover and up-and-coming musicians from Japan and abroad. If you're already a fan of jazz,...

Top ChoiceLive Music in Ebisu, Meguro & Around

Unit

This subterranean club stages live music and DJ-hosted events (sometimes staggered on the same night). The solid line-up includes Japanese indie bands, veterans playing to a smaller crowd and overseas artists...

Top ChoiceBaseball in Kōrakuen & Akihabara

Tokyo Dome

Tokyo Dome (aka ‘The Big Egg’) is home to the Yomiuri Giants. Love ’em or hate ’em, they're the most consistently successful team in Japanese baseball. Tickets usually sell out in advance; get them early at...

Top ChoiceDance in Southern Higashiyama

Miyako Odori

This 45-minute dance is a wonderful geisha performance. It’s a real stunner and the colourful images are mesmerising. It’s held throughout April, usually at Gion Kōbu Kaburen-jō Theatre. The building is under...

Top ChoiceLive Music in Osaka

Namba Bears

For going on three decades this has been the place to hear underground music live in Osaka. It's a small, bare-concrete, smokey space – well suited to the punk, rock and indie bands that play here. In keeping...

Top ChoiceTheatre in Southern Higashiyama

Minamiza

Minamiza

This theatre in Gion is the oldest kabuki theatre in Japan. The major event of the year is the Kaomise festival in December, which features Japan’s finest kabuki actors.

Top ChoiceTheatre in Osaka

National Bunraku Theatre

The classical performing art most associated with Osaka is bunraku, which makes dramatic use of highly sophisticated puppets. Visiting the theatre is a half-day event: shows, which include scenes from different...

Top ChoiceLive Music in Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

Shimo-Kitazawa Three

We love Three's mission to make live music more accessible in Tokyo: it hosts 10 free events a month (otherwise they average around ¥2000). The line-up is pretty random, but the welcoming attitude means there's...

Live Music in Downtown Kyoto

Taku-Taku

One of Kyoto’s most atmospheric live-music venues, with a long history of hosting some great local and international acts. Check the Kyoto Visitor's Guide and flyers in local coffee shops and record stores for...

Dance in Southern Higashiyama

Kyō Odori

Put on by the Miyagawa-chō geisha district, this wonderful geisha dance is among the most picturesque performances of the Kyoto year. It’s held from the first to the third Sunday in April at the Miyagawa-chō...

Spectator Sport in Fukuoka

Kyūshū Bashō Sumo Tournament

Held for two weeks at the Fukuoka Kokusai Centre. The main ticket sale is in October, and spectators start lining up at dawn for limited same-day tickets (tōjitsu-ken; ¥3400 to ¥15,000).

Dance in Southern Higashiyama

Gion Odori

This is a quaint and charming geisha dance put on by the geisha of the Gion Higashi geisha district. It’s held from 1 to 10 November at the Gion Kaikan Theatre (祇園会館), near Yasaka-jinja.

Classical Music in Ueno & Yanesen

Tokyo Bunka Kaikan

The Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and the Tokyo Ballet both make regular appearances at this Ueno-kōen landmark, designed by Maekawa Kunio, an apprentice of Le Corbusier. Prices vary wildly; look out for...

Cabaret in Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

Robot Restaurant

This Kabukichō spectacle has hit it big with its vision of 'wacky Japan': bikini-clad women ride around on giant robots against a backdrop of animated screens and enough LED lights to illuminate all of Shinjuku....

Performing Arts in Marunouchi & Nihombashi

Suigian

This chic lounge stages short acts (40 minutes) of traditional Japanese performing arts, including nō, kagura (sacred dance) and Kyo-mai (Kyoto-style traditional dance). While likely designed with international...

Baseball in Sapporo

Sapporo Dome

Built for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Sapporo Dome is home to both baseball's Hokkaidō Nippon Ham Fighters (www.fighters.co.jp) and J-League soccer's Consadole Sapporo (www.consadole-sapporo.jp). The stadium...

Stadium in Hiroshima

Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium

This stadium is a good place to catch a baseball game and see the beloved local team, the Carp. It's a short walk southeast of Hiroshima Station – follow the signs and the red-marked pathways.