Travel back in time to the pleasure districts of the Edo era—with a modern twist.
The memories of your visit to Kaguwa Roppongi will linger with you long after you leave the theatre. Kaguwa offers what is referred to as “neo-Japanese” theatre: an innovative fusion of old and new ways of experiencing traditional Japanese performance art. Located in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, the performances here bring the spectacle of traditional Japanese theatre into the modern era with fast-paced choreography, bright lights and exquisitely designed costumes. Much like the neighbourhood of Roppongi itself, the ashy setting and rich cultural experience will leave you with lasting memories.
Kaguwa’s dinner theatre performances combine the concept of an old-world red-light district and the traditions of Japanese performance, fusing them with 21st-century style and innovation and resulting in a thrilling pageant of acrobatics and elaborate costumes. The somewhat out-of-the-way location off one of Roppongi’s main streets and the unassuming exterior of the building—the kind of restaurant exterior you might still find in the backstreets of Kyoto—betray the extrava- gance of the performance that goes on inside. The decor of the auditorium is minimalist in a traditional Japanese-style seating arrangement,
playing into the old-world ambience of the performance. The moveable stage was created especially for the show and is thematically designed to look like a red-light district. The stage moves quickly, as do the dancers (and their costume changes), adding drama and excitement to the performances.
Once the show starts the audience is suddenly transported to Yoshiwara, the “pleasure district” of Tokyo, where prostitution was legal during the Edo period and where kabuki gained popularity among a diverse audience. The red-light theme is a nod to the traditional interconnectedness of skilled performance and prostitution, and the oiran-and geisha-themed performances are in keeping with the red-light theme. Traditionally, oiran were highly regarded prostitutes who also played the role of models or pin-up girls, and they were considered to be at the top of their profession. By contrast, geisha were skilled musicians, singers and dancers hired for the purpose of entertaining guests.
One thing that is not new about Kaguwa’s performances is gender roleplay. Male actors assume some of the female roles, following in the footsteps of kabuki tradition, where the cast members are all male and female characters are played by men. While kabuki has had male-only casts since the Edo period and continues as such to this day, it actually started with an exclusively female cast consisting of women who were often also available for prostitution. While there are male and female actors who play roles that accord with their gender, Kaguwa’s cast features four men who play women and are skilled in appearing traditionally feminine. Particularly notable is that the oiran in the show is played by a male actor in keeping with kabuki tradition.
In this box, each dish plays its role perfectly
Your ticket to Kaguwa includes two shows and dinner, for which you can choose a gourmet bento box or items from an a la carte menu, plus unlimited drinks from the bar. The menu includes such Japanese specialties as pork-wrapped grilled prawns and marbled horse meat sashimi, as well as an assortment of grilled vegetable dishes. Guests are seated in a traditional Japanese-style arrangement, with tables situated on three levels to ensure no one in the audience misses a single moment of the show. The seating area can accommodate large groups, and birthday or anniversary parties enjoy a free photo session with the cast. There are two showings each night with additional matinees on weekends. Kaguwa offers an experience not to be missed!
- Kabuki is a form of stylized stage drama, and probably the most famous type of theatre.
- A kabuki actor takes the name of his teacher—usually an older male relative such as a father or uncle who passes down the trade.
- While kabuki is still traditionally performed by men, all-female performance troupes such as the famous Takarazuka Revue emerged in the early 20th century. After Takarazuka refused to have their name used, a rival troupe named Shochiku Kageki Dan provided dancers for the 1957 lm Sayonara, starring Marlon Brando.
Located a two-minute walk from Roppongi Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line or the Oedo Line.
5-4-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo TEL: 03-5414-8818
Mon–Thurs & Sun 6 pm–12:30 am (Last call 12 am) • Fri–Sat 6 pm–4 am (Last call 3:30 am)
Pre-show performances: Sat–Sun 3:45 pm–5 pm