Attending a play at the newly rebuilt Kabuki-za theater (4-12-15 Ginza) without some familiarity with Japan’s history or language is a bit like going to Shakespeare’s Globe in London without speaking English. With its all-male casts, period sets and costumes, and five-hour running times, Kabuki can be daunting to foreign audiences. (Try a single-act ticket and the audio guide.) Even more impenetrable are the 600-year-old masked theater of Noh and the Osaka-based puppet theater Bunraku. But there’s one form of Japanese theater that fills more seats every week than Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku combined: the Takarazuka Revue. The revue, which debuted in 1913, features all-female casts in extravagant costumes on elaborate sets performing high-energy musical versions of recent Western cinema hits such as Ocean’s Eleven and The King’s Speech, as well as classics of the silver screen and Broadway—Casablanca, Chicago—and European stage. Often compared with Radio City Music Hall’s Rockettes performances, it’s showbiz razzmatazz theater (or kitsch) that enthusiasts should get a kick out of. Takarazuka shows play almost daily in Tokyo. Plan ahead: Tickets (for dedicated theaters seating 2,000) typically sell out in minutes.

1-1-3 YurakuchoTokyo, Japan

More Things To Do in Tokyo

SCAI the Bathhouse

This leading independent gallery is considered the neighborhood of Yanaka’s cultural heartbeat.
Art Gallery

Mori Art Museum

Many visitors come for the view and leave before strolling the two floors of exhibition space below, but this is a mistake: Museum director Fumio Nanjo organizes contemporary shows that are as crowd-pleasing as they are curatorially sound.
Art Museum

A Yomuri Giants Game

For an American, attending a baseball game in Japan can be an out-of-body experience: The action on the field is familiar, but what happens in the stands is completely foreign.
Baseball Game

Sumo Stable Visit

Sumo wrestling is not Japan’s national sport, but it is its most well known (and celebrated) of its traditional athletic competitions.
Sumo Experience

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art

Originally built as a private home for business mogul Kunizo Hara in the ’30s, the Hara opened as a museum in 1979.
Contemporary Art Museum

Tea Ceremony

The fourth floor Toko-an at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo offers an excellent traditional tea service experience for guests and non-guests alike.
Tea Ceremony

Meiji Shrine

Created to honor the Kami (deified spirits) of 20th-century Emperor Meiji and his wife this 200-acre forested park consists of two major gardens and traditional nagare zukuri–style Shinto shrines.

Ōta Memorial Museum of Art

The ukiyo-e genre may not be familiar to the Western world by name, but its works are without a doubt some of the most popular examples of Japanese art we have today.
Art Museum

Tokyo Cook

This small cooking school offers a wide variety of courses dedicated to the numerous styles of Japanese cuisine, all taught taught by celebrated local chefs.
Cooking Classes