Lee Reeve is absolutely right: Japanese vaudeville are really fun
If you want to experience Japanese traditional theater but Kabuki and Noh are too esoteric for you, try the vaudeville.
You will have the experience of kimono, geisha and all the samurai-ism you crave for and on top of that you will get much much more:
- an autograph by the artists before the play, as they are in the street to get as many fan as possible inside the theater
- a fun, relaxed and enthusiastically participating audience
- you will be close to the scene
- you will be able to understand the humor, even if you do not understand the words...
- you will understand the story!
Usually, you have a first part of dances of geisha is rocambolesque kimonos, and then a piece of theater. If you have read an Harlequin romance in your life, you know the plot: a woman is desperately in love with a man who loves her too but in feudal Japan, their status do not match and the world is against their love. A lot of things happen, and at the end, they get married... Well, it is Nabbuco, or Romeo and Juliet, something like that. It could be a money story. But at the end, everything is fine (thinking about it, it is not like Nabbuco or Shakespeare!)
The actors usually get no oscar for their play. They are no living-treasures. But they enjoy their play so much and their time with their audience too that the time you will spend in their company will be real fun! They really do share their love of their work with you!
There are many troups of vaudeville (called taishu engeki, standing for popular theater) and many of them are nomading around Japan. So you might have the chance to see some of them in quite remote place too. Of course, you have the Yokohama theater as Lee Reeve mentioned and in Tokyo, most of the theaters are in Asakusa and Ueno.
Mokuba Theater is very close to Senso Temple, in Asakusa. If you walk the nakamise street up to the temple, the theater is located on the left side, the last big crossroad before the second "door". There is a representation at 12:00 and one at 17:00.