Sightseeing in Kanazawa: A Noh Experience at the Kanazawa Noh Museum - 金沢能楽美術館 - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Sightseeing in Kanazawa: A Noh Experience at the Kanazawa Noh Museum - 金沢能楽美術館

Kanazawa is a city in Ishikawa prefecture known for its rich Japanese culture, including the traditional theatre called Noh. Apparently Noh was so popular among the people in Kanazawa that it was said that in “Noh chants fall from the heavens”, as Noh songs could be heard everywhere around the city. Usually watching a Noh performance can cost ten thousands of yen, but in July the city offers visitors the opportunity to see Noh plays for only 1,000 yen/person. We visited in June so it was unfortunately too early to see the plays unfold, but we greatly enjoyed visiting the Kanazawa Noh Museum to learn more about the ancient theatre.

Situated in the same building as the more known Kanazawa Crafts Hirosaka the Kanazawa Noh Museum offers a quick introduction to the world of Noh theatre. The museum has 3 floors with various exhibitions that visitors can enjoy. 
On the first floor you can see a miniature model of a Noh theatre along with a number of masks used in the Noh plays, along with a display showing the process of making the masks.

They also let visitors experience the being on the stage first-hand with their “Noh-Exeperience” booth where visitors get to try on the full Noh costume or just a Noh mask depending on their preference. Of course we had to give it a go.
Before putting the mask on you had to hold it with its face pointing towards yourself and make a slight bow to show your respect to the mask. It was a very peculiar experience to wear it, particularly because it hindered your range of “view” so that you could not see the ground at all. It must take a lot of practice for the Noh actors before they can feel confident about walking without facing the ground.

Above: Before and after. My mom wearing a Noh mask

After having tried on the Noh costume we moved on to the second floor where they were exhibiting some Noh costumes. During our visit they were also having a seasonal exhibition with paintings of the artist Rie Yamashina (山科理絵), who paints beautiful paintings with Noh theme. The photo to the left is from her personal twitter.
The third floor of the museum had a Noh stage and space apparently used for various activities related to Noh. On this particular day there were having a class in mask making which we observed through the window in the hall.

The museum wasn’t that big, so you only need a couple of hours here. Still it was an interesting place to stop by as a part of our sightseeing in Kanazawa. Note that if you’ve bought a one-day buss pass (500 yen/day; can be bought at the train station upon arrival or, if you’re lucky, in your hotel) you get a 50-yen discount on the entrance fee

 Basic Info
  • ・Place: The Kanazawa Noh Museum - 金沢能楽美術館
  • ・Address:〒920-0962 Ishikawa-ken, Kanazawa-shi, Hirosaka, 1 Chome−2−25
  • ・Homepage:
  • ・Entrance fee: 300 yen/person  ■Group*: 250 yen/person *Group: more than 20 people     ■Seniors*: 200 yen/person *Senior: 65 or older   ■Under 18: free
  • ・Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m. (last admission at 5:30 p.m.)
  • ・From Kanazawa Station, take a local bus from the East Exit Bus Terminalto "Korinbo" bus stop (10 min).

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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