Kabuki is right up there with sushi, sumo, and Godzilla as “Things Associated With Japan”, so it’s no surprise that travelers to Japan often want to attend a show.
At Tokyo’s Kabukiza Theater, a ticket for an evening kabuki show will cost up to 20,000 yen, and the performance will probably be a few hours. For those low on time and money, Kabukiza offers the perfect solution: Hitomaku-mi Single Act Tickets (一幕見席). The tickets are between 500 yen and 3,000 yen for a single act out of the daily kabuki program and can only be bought directly before that act at Kabukiza.
The more adventurous may want to simply show up at the theater to see if they can get a ticket—the single act ticket window is easy to find. If you prefer to know more details ahead of time, this guide can help you choose and buy tickets for the act you’d like to see.
Choosing an Act
The Ticket Web Shochiku kabuki ticket website lists the details for the acts in English. Be certain to double check the dates and times.
The hitomaku-mi ticket cost depends on the act, but the average is around 1,000 to 1,800 yen. If you know Japanese, you can find specific information for the hitomaku-mi seat prices on the news section of Kabukiza’s Kabuki-bito website under the news story titled 幕見席のご案内 for the relevant month.
Buying Hitomaku-mi Tickets
You can only buy the single act tickets directly before the act starts. If you know Japanese, you can go to the Kabuki-bito website in the幕見席のご案内 to see the exact time that ticket sales begin for each act.
On the English website, only the start of the entire show is displayed. To help with estimates of when to arrive, keep in mind that hitomaku-mi ticket sales will usually begin at 10:30 am for 11:00 am acts; ticket sales for subsequent acts will start anywhere from 30 minutes to around 2 hours before the act starts.
Even if you know the exact time that ticket sales start, though, it’s difficult to determine how early to arrive. Popular shows will sell out even if you stand in line for an hour while for some shows you’ll be able to buy tickets just five minutes before the show starts.
If you arrive early, you can stand in line at the “Box Office for Single Act” to the left of the main Kabukiza entrance. If you arrive later and the box office outside appears to be closed, go to the single act entrance doors further to the left and ask about the hitomaku-mi seat tickets. You’ll be directed to the box office upstairs if tickets are left.
Once you’ve purchased your ticket, you’re free to roam about outside until seating begins. The performance time will be written on your ticket. Be sure to return to the single act entrance doors at least 20 minutes before the act begins.
Enjoy the Show
Once you get inside, you can read the rules in English, rent opera glasses and an English earphone guide, and pick up a free English pamphlet. Seating consists of 96 hitomaku-mi theater seats and 60 hitomaku-mi standing room “seats” and is unassigned, so when you are ushered in, you can choose any of the standing spaces or seats that are left. Now all that’s left is to enjoy the show!
Have you ever used the hitomaku-mi single act ticket system?
Hitomaku-mi Single Act Ticket Details
Location: Kabukiza Theater
Address: 4-12-15 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061
Price: From 500 yen to 3,000 yen (cash only)
Length: One act (from 30 minutes to 2 hours)