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Festivals of Japan: Takigi Noh

Takigi O-Noh is an annual open-air torchlight festival that is held at the famous Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto.

By 2 min read 2

Takigi Noh is an annual open-air torchlight festival that is held at the famous Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto. This year’s event will be the 66th staging of the well preserved traditional art which is organised by Kyoto City to bid goodbye to spring and welcome in the summer.

Heian Jingu Shrine where the stage is set up is an impressive shrine in Kyoto, built in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto. The shrine buildings are colourful replicas of the original Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace) of the Heian Period which was constructed in 794. The red torii shrine gate at the entrance of the shrine is a majestic symbol of the ancient capital of Kyoto.

Takigi Noh is one of the major events held at the shrine along with the Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages). The name Takigi Noh is an interesting one with Takigi meaning “firewood” in Japanese while Noh is an old form of traditional musical theatre. The name perfectly describes the event which is held in the presence of a bonfire.


The history of Takigi Noh can be traced back to Kofukuji Temple in Nara over 1,000 years ago. Takigi O-Noh reached the peak of its popularity during the Edo Period under the patronage of feudal lords and was the preferred entertainment of the samurai class in Japan.

Festival Highlights

Takigi Noh gives you the chance to see a traditional Japanese Noh performance, which is an ancient form of musical theatre in Japan. Noh is performed exclusively by men with recitative chants accompanied by a small orchestra consisting of a flute and 3 drums.

The beautiful performances are held in the evening on a special stage at Heian Jingu Shrine, which is illuminated with blazing torches creating a magical atmosphere. The highlight of the event besides the spectacular stage is the Noh actors themselves, who are dressed in beautiful costumes wearing lacquer coated wooden masks.


Location: Heian Jingu Shrine Kyoto
Date: June 1st and 2nd
Time: Held in the evening 5:30 pm until around 8:45 pm
Cost: 4,000 yen at the gate or 3,000 yen advanced purchase (Tickets go on sale from late April)


Heian Jingu Shrine can be reached via bus from JR Kyoto Station. Take the Kyoto City Bus No. 5 from the station to either Kyoto Kaikan or Bijutsukan bus stops.

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  • Daniel Souza says:

    where to buy tickets?

    • Hi Daniel, Tickets are on sale at various places including Heian Jingu Shrine, Takashimaya and Daimaru Department Stores, JR Kyoto Station Tourist Office, Ticket PIA and Lawson. Advance tickets will no longer be sold after June 1st.



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