Takigi Noh, The Graceful Ancient Musical Theatre

  • NARA
  • Firelight Noh

    Firelight Noh (in Kufukuji called Takigi O-Noh, in which “O” is honorific prefix) is a Japanese ancient musical theater. Its plays are performed outdoors illuminated by the light of bonfires in the night sky. It originated from Kofukuji temple, Nara, Japan, first staged in 869, the temple is now World Heritage Site, and Noh is performed in various regions.


    Noh is performed by actors who wear lacquer coated wooden masks of Oni (Japanese folklore demons), and graceful costumes. The stage is made of expansive boards with bamboo posts that are bound with rope, while the drama is performed in the middle of stage. The music is played with woodwinds and drums behind the dancing actors. It sounds simple, contains mysterious beauty, which is the main characteristic of Noh. While the actors are performing drama, they never express feelings vocally, but with their body language as they dance around the stage. Although only moves are used, the story can still be easily understood.

    There are only bonfires and no electric lamps that light up the stage. Usually people come earlier to get the best seats (depending on the ticket that they bought). In the middle of Noh performance, a comic drama with plenty of humorous movements takes place.

    Takigi O-Noh in Kofuku-ji Temple is held on the 3 rd Friday and Saturday of May every year. You can hold a seat for one or two days by purchasing a ticket! You need to buy it soon after they are on sale, because there are a lot of people wanting to see this event. For more information you can go to the place directly, or check details on their website