Ainu Culture × Noh Special Event

A Top-Tier Combo of Ainu Culture and Nohgaku

Enjoy traditional Ainu dancing and the iconic Nohgaku, a traditional Japanese performing art that is the world’s oldest living form of theater with a history of around 700 years. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to enjoy these two cultural phenomena in one incredible show.

Upopoy (National Ainu Museum and Park) is working to revive and transmit diverse aspects of indigenous Ainu culture handed down in Hok­kaido, Sakhalin and elsewhere.
Traditional performing arts have played a central role in the daily life of Ainu people, having been performed at various rituals and in everyday situations. They are diverse and include lyrical songs that reflect the feelings of the moment, dances that mimic the movements of animals or plants, dances to ward off evil spirits, work dances that accompany tasks such as pounding grain, and entertaining dramatic dances. The terminology used to describe songs and dances varies by region, such as rimse, horippa, upopo, and heciri. They have been passed down along with their local characteristics.

Noh and Kyogen are representative Japanese performing arts that have been passed down from generation to generation without interruption for more than 650 years since the Muromachi period. They are collectively called «Nohgaku».
In the old days, Nohgaku was loved by many warlords such as Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Ieyasu Tokugawa. Today, it is desginated as the Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, and is also highly appreciated overseas. It is said that it has influenced various performing arts.

Date and time

From 2:00pm January 28 (Sun.)
Venue opens 1:30pm, ends at 4:00pm


uekari cise (Cultural Exchange Hall)


Ainu traditional performing art «Uwerankarap«
Ainu offer uwerankarap ceremoniously. The speaker use formal expressions delivered in their distinctive pitches.
Noh Performance «Funabenkei»After falling out with elder brother Yoritomo, Yoshitsune decides to leave the capital, heading to Daimotsu Bay with Benkei and his companions. He bids a painful farewell to Shizuka Gozen and sets sail, but encounters a rapid change in the weather, and meets the Ghost of Taira no Tomomori on the stormy sea. Fortunately, the apparition disappears with a fervent prayer from Benkei.
Shite(main actor)(Shizuka Gozen/ the Ghost of Taira no Tomomori)
Naotaka Kakuto
Kokata (child actor)(Minamoto no Yoshitsune)
Miori Kakuto
Waki (secondary actor)(Musashibo Benkei)
Yasuhiro Noguchi
Wakitsure (accompanying waki actor)(Retainer of Yoshitsune)
Takuhiro Noguchi
Ai (interlude actor)(Boatman)
Gen Enomoto
Fue (flute)
Ryuichi Onodera
Ko-tsuzumi (shoulder-drum)
Genjiro Okura
Jun Kunikawa
Hideki Kajitani
Koken (stage assistant to actors)
Atsuo Kanze
Takayuki Matsuyama
Yoshimasa Kanze
Kohei Kawaguchi
Yoshitersu Takeda
Takao Sakai
Ainu traditional performing art «Inomi«Ainu believe that everything in this world has a spirit. We call all powerful living beings and phenomena kamuy. When in their own realm, kamuy look and live like humans. When they visit the realm of humans, they manifest themselves in various other forms.
We have called bears kimunkamuy and have considered their meat and fur as gifts bestowed by kimunkamuy. The iyomante is an important traditional ceremony in which the kamuy is offered prayers of appreciation and is entertained with sake, song and dance. The spirit of the kamuy is returned to the realm of kamuy with lots of gifts.
  • Attendees will be asked to fill out a questionnaire.
  • Filming, recording and photography are strictly prohibited during the show.
  • Organizers, personnel and the media may film inside the venue.
  • Please be aware that footage and photos taken inside the venue, including footage or photos of the audience, may be released.
  • Entry into the venue after the show starts is prohibited.
  • While no age restrictions apply, loud crying and disruptive behavior will not be tolerated, and the organizers reserve the right to ask offenders to leave the venue.
Normal programs canceled
Please be aware that all programs that are normally held in the Cultural Exchange Hall will be canceled on the day of the show.
Click here for the program list

How to enjoy the show

Some seats will be available on the day. For walk-ins, please proceed directly to the venue (admission is free)

  • An admission charge applies to enter Upopoy
  • Numbered tickets will be given out at the venue from 9:00am
  • First come, first served

Bargain Tour from Sapporo

Upopoy is offering a special tour combining a return bus between Sapporo and the venue, admission to Upopoy and a ticket to our Ainu Culture x Nohgaku Special Event. Check the details below.

Inquiries about the tour

Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., Ltd., Travel Service Center East Japan
«UPOPOY Special Experience Tour» Office
Registered Travel Agency No. 2053 by the Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency
Member of the Japan Association of Travel Agents, Bond Guarantee Member, Member of the Travel Industry Fair Trade Council

Address: 3F, KDX Toyosu Grand Square, 1-7-12 Shinonome, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0062

TEL: 0570-064-205
FAX: 03-6730-3230
Email: tourdesk48@or.knt.co.jp