We’ve compiled the best of the best in Kyoto - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Gion Corner Theater


    This theater's 50-minute performances sample five traditional disciplines: gagaku (court music), kyomai (Kyoto-style dance), Bunraku (puppet theater), kyogen (comic drama), and koto (Japanese harp). The theater is old, the seats aren't comfortable, and this is definitely a tourist trap, but it's also only place to see these performing arts most of year. The admission price is a bargain considering the number of talented artists involved.

    570-2 Gion-machi Minamigawa, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, 605-0074, Japan

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: ¥3,150, Mar.–Nov., nightly at 6 and 7; Dec.–Feb., Fri., weekends, and holidays at 6 and 7
  • 2. GEAR

    This nonverbal show incorporates mime, magic, break dancing, and dramatic lighting effects as its energetic actors play robots temporarily unstuck from their assembly line. The 1928 art deco–like architecture of the former Mainichi Newspaper building provides the set.

    Nakagyo-ku Sanjo-dori, Gokomachi-dori, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, Japan

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: From ¥3,700, Fri., weekends, holidays, and 2nd and 4th Wed. of month at 2 and 7 pm
  • 3. Kanze Kaikan Noh Theater


    This is one of Kyoto's oldest Noh schools. The libretto is all in Japanese, with only some information in English.

    44 Enshoji-cho, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, 606-8344, Japan

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: ¥2,000–¥6,000
  • 4. Kongo Noh Theater


    This theater presenting performances of the Kongo school of Noh drama was moved to this location on the former estate of an aristocrat. The architecture is completely modern, but the garden—there's a view of it from the lobby—is completely traditional. English translations of the librettos are often available.

    Karasuma-dori, Ichijo-sagaru, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, 606-8341, Japan

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: ¥2,500–¥7,000
  • 5. Kyoto Concert Hall


    The architect Isozaki Arata designed this complex that has a huge round glass facade and a spiral entrance walkway up to the 1,839-seat Main Hall, the home of the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra. Visiting orchestras and artists, including excellent ones unknown outside Asia, also perform here and in the 514-seat Ensemble Hall. Ask your concierge for a schedule. There's a restaurant on the ground floor.

    1--26 Hangi-cho, Shimogamo, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, 606-0823, Japan

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: From ¥5,000
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  • 6. Minami-za


    The renovated Minami-za theater, the oldest in Japan, hosts Kabuki performances most of the year. Even the mounted posters announcing the plays here are beautifully rendered. The typical Kabuki performance can last up to four hours; there are two shows daily. Box lunches are the choice meal during a play so that one does not miss anything. Front downstairs seats are often occupied by the “who's who” of the world of maiko and geiko.

    Shijo Kamogawa, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, 605-0075, Japan
  • 7. Ponto-cho Kabukirenjo Theater


    The maiko and geiko of the Ponto-cho district perform at this theater in spring and fall. Occasionally other dance performances are scheduled here.

    Ponto-cho, Sanjo-sagaru, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, 604-8003, Japan

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: ¥2,000–¥6,000
  • 8. RAN Music Theatre


    RAN is a new venue with highly rated performances of traditional instruments: the shamisen, taiko drums, koto zither, and Noh flute, with shows on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Doors open at 5:30 and 7:30 for shows at 6 and 8 pm, respectively.

    583-4 Nakanocho, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, 604-8042, Japan

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: ¥4,000 in advance, ¥4,500 at the door
  • 9. Rohm Theater Kyoto


    Located in the Okazaki area, this concert and performance venue was formerly known as Kyoto Kaikan. It reopened in 2016 with more seating and new facilities.

    13 Okazakisaishoji-cho, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, 606-8342, Japan
  • 10. Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theatre

    Under Renovation

    In the same complex as Gion Corner, this theater is used for special performances, most notably the spring and fall dances by maiko and geiko. Kyotoites feel that the season has truly arrived with the announcement of these shows.

    Gion Hanami-koji, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, 605-0074, Japan

    Arts/Entertainment Details

    Rate Includes: ¥4,000–¥6,000

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