Yokohama Treasures: Nigiwaiza
"Fortune comes of laughter."
Nigiwaiza opened in April 2002, and is Yokohama’s only vaudeville theater since most of them were destroyed eaither in the fires of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 or air raids during World War II in 1945.
Conveniently located within walking distance of Sakuragicho Station, Nigiwaiza is arguably Japan's finest "old school" comedy club. It regularly features a rich and diverse selection of entertainment, including "rakugo" (comic monologue), "mansai" (comic dialogue), magic, and more. Written in Japanese characters on huge woven ropes hanging outside the theater reads "Fortune comes of laughter." Step inside and you’ll hear the sound of traditional accompanying music, inately familiar to Japanese, so full of excitement.
Nigiwaiza's main performance hall seats over 390, and its there that you can watch Japanese dance, traditional singing, Japanese musical recitals in their traditional trio (koto, samisen, and shakuhachi) format. Occasionally, even shows in English are performed!
The stage and the audience seats are designed so that the performers and audience members sit close together and can interact with each other. And audience members are allowed to eat and drink in their seats!
To assist families and those with special needs, a room for parents and children is equipped, as is wheelchair access and space.
From the 1st to the 15th of every month, Nigiwaiza hosts public lectures in the 3rd and 4th floor performance halls. There is also a practice room (20 person max) and a production room (12 max), both available for rental to performance groups.
The information area on the second floor also poses as a small museum, exhibiting autographs of rakugo artists and performers, as well as vintage photography of a bygone Yokohama.
With so much to offer, why not spend a day and immerse yourself in a truly traditional Japanese experience? Visit Nigiwaiza today!
3-110-1 Noge-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken 231-0064
Official Website (English)
Former Deep Japan Writer