The Kabukiza Theater is a tourist friendly way to delve into some traditional Japanese culture that is also very accessible to visitors with special needs.
The Kabukiza Theater is the principle theater in Tokyo for viewing Kabuki, a traditional form of Japanese theater. Initially constructed in 1889, it has been rebuilt numerous times in accordance with fires, earthquakes, and other catastrophic events. The theater’s current incarnation, completed in 2013, is an architectural marvel modeled after early modern castles in Japan.
Kabuki itself is a kind of dance-drama known for its stylized make-up, elaborate stage designs, luxurious costumes, and incorporation of traditional Japanese instruments like Koto and Shamisen. It is surely worth seeing if you find yourself in Tokyo!
Ticket prices vary from 4,000 to 20,000 yen depending on the date, time, and length of the show, as well as the kind of seat desired (Upper Tier B, Upper Tier A, Second Class, First Class, Box Seat).
The Kabukiza Theater is directly attached to Exit 3 of Higashi Ginza Station (Hibiya/Asakusa Lines), though Exit A1 may be needed depending on which direction train you will be using. It is also accessible via a five-minute walk from Ginza Station (Ginza/Marunouchi/Hibiya Lines). Both stations are accessible.
Despite its traditional appearance, the theater is very accessible and features accommodations for individuals with visual, hearing, and mobility impairments, as well as various other conditions.
The Kabukiza Theater is divided into two general areas: an underground marketplace (where the ticket office is located) and the theater proper. The underground marketplace is directly attached to Exit 3 of Higashi Ginza Station. It features broad pathways and smooth tile floors, making it fairly accessible for most wheelchair users. The lighting conditions are warm to bright, and there is a wheelchair-accessible bathroom next to the elevator. Other features of the underground marketplace include multiple food stands, gift shops, and a convenience store.
The theater proper has a roll-in entrance, although guests with mobility devices may have to ask a staff member for support. After ascending a slope to the left of the main staircase, guests enter out onto a carpeted veranda. To the left is a concession stand with Japanese sweets, a set of vending machines, and a wheelchair accessible bathroom. To the right is a booth where guests can rent translation and explanation devices, as well as another concession stand. The floor of the veranda is lined with tactile pavement, making it moderately accessible to blind and visually impaired persons. By following that pavement, guests can reach the accessible entrance to the inside of the theater, which features a reserved space for wheelchair users next to the Hanamichi.
Accessible toilets are available in the theater.
For additional information about accessibility at the Kabukiza Theater, see an article by our resident researcher, Mark Bookman: “Accessing Kabuki, Accessing Japan: An Immersive Encyclopedia.” Also note that guests are encouraged to contact the English-speaking staff if they have any questions or concerns regarding accessibility at the venue.
The Kabuki-za Theater is a great place for experiencing traditional Japanese performance arts. The theater boasts many accommodations for individuals with visual, hearing, and mobility impairments. Its underground marketplace is also a convenient location to go souvenir shopping. Shows range from one to four hours, so why not drop by for a visit if you have the time?
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