Special Dance Revue Jun 29,30

Gion Corner: Traditional Arts Performance

This show provides a great opportunity to enjoy seven traditional performing arts on one stage. The program is approximately one hour long and includes chanoyu (the art of preparing tea), koto music, ikebana flower arrangement, bugaku dance, kyogen comedy, and Kyomai dance. Depending on the season, a scene from bunraku puppet theater or a noh play is performed. The production is perfectly suited for travelers who are interested in the time-honored performing arts of Japan.

The theater is located in Gion Kobu, the largest of the five traditional kagai entertainment districts of Kyoto. The Kyomai dance part of the program is particularly representative of the Gion area and is performed by maiko, apprentices studying to become geiko. Known as geisha in other regions, geiko are traditional female performing artists who entertain guests with dances, songs, music, and games.

Reserved seat tickets can be purchased through this website in advance or at the ticket window on the day of the performance, subject to availability. Credit cards and electronic forms of payment are accepted.

Of the 165 seats in the theater, 30 are premium seats, which offer a more comfortable viewing experience and come with a digital tablet that provides detailed information and translations throughout the performance.

About Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Annex Theatre
About Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Annex Theatre

Gion Corner's Programs

The seven Japanese traditional performing arts that can be experienced at Gion Corner

Kyomai Dance

Some of the most recognizable keepers of Kyoto traditions are geiko, as geisha are called in the old capital, and maiko, apprentices studying to become geiko. Kyomai, the elegant style of Japanese dance developed in the teahouse parlors of Kyoto, is just one of the many arts they practice.

Kyomai was inspired by the deliberate, symbolic movements of noh theater and the delicate, sophisticated dances favored by the emperor’s court. This dance form was created in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to be performed in zashiki, relatively small tatami-mat parlors in teahouses and other venues where guests could eat, drink, and enjoy the songs and dances provided for entertainment.

At our theater, Kyomai dances are generally performed by maiko from Gion Kobu, one of the five traditional entertainment districts where geiko and maiko work in Kyoto. One dance is chosen for the season, and the other is the popular classic called Gion Kouta (A Song for Gion).

Chanoyu (the Art of Preparing Tea)

Chanoyu is a Japanese tradition centered on the preparation and serving of matcha, powdered green tea. It is often translated as“tea ceremony.”The procedure of making and serving tea follows a formalized flow designed to express the principles within the tradition and create an enjoyable experience for both guest and host.

The culture of tea drinking developed over centuries following the first arrival of tea from China. Powdered tea was introduced to Japan in the twelfth century and was used primarily for health benefits, but drinking matcha for pleasure became a pastime of the elite. The “way of tea” (sado or chado), a discipline for refining the self through chanoyu, took shape in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Sen Rikyu (1522–1591) is considered the tea master who established the “way of tea” as we know it today, incorporating the aesthetics of wabi (cultivated simplicity) and the principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. There are now various schools of the “way of tea” with hundreds of thousands of practitioners worldwide. During the presentation, matcha is prepared by a tea master from the Urasenke tradition of tea.

Ikebana flower arrangement

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. With emphasis on seasonality, asymmetry, and negative space, ikebana practitioners create artistic portrayals of a flower’s essence or recreate vast landscapes in a single vessel.

Since ikebana focuses on expressing the seasons, materials used in the arrangements are not limited to perfect flowers in full bloom. Works of ikebana expertly capture a specific moment in nature by using everything from new buds to withering leaves. Arrangements are displayed in various venues, such as tea rooms, private residences, hotels, shops, and office buildings.

The ikebana practitioners at the Gion Corner: Traditional Arts Performance use seasonal flowers to create an arrangement on stage while musicians play the koto. They skillfully assess the qualities of the materials at hand and apply the aesthetic principles of ikebana to turn the individual plants and flowers into an elegant work of art.

Koto music

The national musical instrument of Japan is the koto, a type of long wooden zither with 13 strings that are plucked with fingerpicks. The history of the koto goes back 1,300 years, and it remains popular in both solo and ensemble performances.

Until the seventeenth century, the koto primarily reflected the tastes of the nobility and was often used in gagaku court music. It became more popular with commoners in the Edo period (1603–1867), a mostly peaceful time when many performing arts flourished. A blind musician and composer named Yatsuhashi Kengyo (1614–1685) is credited with laying the foundations for koto music as it is known today, making it much more accessible as an art. At present, koto performances encompass everything from the traditional gagaku to joint concerts with Western instruments. The Gion Corner: Traditional Arts Performance offers a selection of representative koto pieces, including one composed by Yatsuhashi.

Bugaku dance

Bugaku court dance is characterized by stylized movements, ornate costumes, and distinctive music. It was once performed almost exclusively in the emperor’s court. With a history of more than 1,200 years, bugaku is one of Japan’s oldest performing arts.

Bugaku developed at a time when elements of court culture were adopted from mainland Asia and blended with existing traditions. This gradually produced a new, distinctly Japanese art form that has been passed down for centuries, performed at events at the emperor’s court, shrines, and temples. As part of the show, visitors can enjoy an abridged performance of Ranryo’o (Prince Lanling), possibly the most famous bugaku dance. It is based on the story of a handsome prince who donned a fearsome mask to inspire his troops and intimidate enemies, leading his army to victory.

Kyogen comedy

Kyogen plays are short comedies traditionally performed between longer, more solemn noh plays. They usually feature stock characters representing ordinary people in farcical situations and use physical humor, word play, and absurdity to entertain the audience.

The relatable characters and colloquial language in kyogen plays made them popular with ordinary people since long ago. Kyogen was developed in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries alongside the more formal noh theater, but focuses on comedic situations such as relationships between masters and servants or attempts at deception gone wrong.

At the Gion Corner: Traditional Arts Performance, kyogen actors put on the popular play Bo shibari (Tied to a Staff). It tells the story of two servants who get drunk and cause mischief while their lord is away from home, even though he took steps to prevent their misbehavior.

Bunraku Puppet Theater

Bunraku is a form of collaborative theater in which puppetry and narrative storytelling are accompanied by shamisen music. Each large, stringless puppet is manipulated by a team of three puppeteers to produce nuanced gestures and realistic expressions of emotion.

Bunraku developed from three performing arts that blended over time: puppetry used by traveling entertainers, joruri chanted storytelling, and shamisen music. It became popular in the Edo period (1603-1867), presenting dramatic stories of warriors and tragic romance that appealed to ordinary people. In 2003, bunraku was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as “Ningyo Johruri Bunraku Puppet Theatre.” Gion Corner: Traditional Arts Performance includes a famous scene from the play Date Musume Koi no Higanoko, in which the heroine carries out a daring plan to save her lover, even though it means sacrificing her own life.

Noh play

Noh is a form of drama with dance and song that includes utai, a chanting method between narration and singing, which relays the story, and hayashi music. Noh is often compared to Western opera or musicals. A major feature of noh performances is the use of masks. The main actor (shite) appears on stage after donning a mask that conveys what character he is portraying.

The art of noh as it is known today was shaped approximately 650 years ago in the Muromachi period (1336–1573) by father and son Kan’ami (1333–1384) and Zeami (1363–1443). Zeami’s talent flourished under the patronage of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358–1408), and he was able to elevate noh to the highest ranks of performing arts. From then on, noh became Japan’s representative theater form and continues to be practiced today as a classical performing art. In the Edo period (1603–1867), it became an art form that the samurai were expected to learn. In the modern times, noh has received great acclaim worldwide and was included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2001, in the first Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The noh stage is quite simple, but the costumes worn by the actors are very elaborate and beautiful. All of them are made of nishijin-ori fabrics, which is one of the traditional industries of Kyoto.

*Depends on the month, we will perform
"Bunraku" or "Noh".

Performance guide


【Regular performance】
Everyday starting at 6:00pm and at 7:00pm
Performance duration: about 50 minutes

Kyomai dance, Chanoyu, Ikebana flower arrangement, Koto music,
Bugaku dance, Kyogen comedy, Bunraku puppet theater, Noh
*Depends on the month, we will perform "Bunraku" or "Noh".

【Winter performance】
Tuesday to Friday on December 1st to March 14th.
6:00 pm and 7:00 pm

Kyomai dance, Chanoyu, Ikebana flower arrangement, Koto music,
Bugaku dance, Kyogen comedy
*You can take the picture with maiko after the show finish.

【The closed day】
From December 29th to January 3rd.


  • Premium Seat: ¥6,600
  • Seat with Japanese tea and sweets: ¥6,050
  • Adult: ¥5,500
  • Age 16-22: ¥3,850
  • Age 7-15: ¥3,300
  • Child (Age 0-6): free
    * If the child need seat please buy the ticket for Age 7-15(¥3,300)
    * For the premium seat and seat with tea and sweets, there are no discount with age.

Group Sales (20 people or more)

  • Adult: ¥4,700


How to get here

  • From JR Kyoto Station, take City Bus 206 to the Gion bus stop, and from there it is a 5-minute walk.
  • OR by train take the Keihan Line to Gion Shijo Station,and from there it is a 5-minute walk.
  • It is also a 10-minute walk from Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line.
Gion Kobu Kaburenjo
570-2 Gionmachi Minamigawa,
Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto