Tom Roseveare

Hikiyama Gallery Miyossa

A hands-on experience of Ishikawa kabuki culture

Tom Roseveare
Mandy Bartok   - 3 min read

Just steps from the west exit of JR Komatsu station, the Hikiyama Gallery Miyossa provides a hands-on introduction to kabuki, and the numerous cultural practices and crafts associated with this famous performing art.

Miyossa means "let's go!" in the local Komatsu dialect and the center uses that enthusiasm to introduce visitors to kabuki and its practices. All of the activities are hands-on and require only a minimal fee, if any at all. Among the experiences offered are the following:

  • Dance Performance (free) - Visitors will learn the various steps to regional dance styles in this energetic experience. Participants are also given the opportunity to try their hand at fan dancing, a tricky skill that must be mastered by all kabuki actors.
  • Kabuki Make-up and Photo (¥100) - In this experience, participants will learn the basics of stage make-up for kabuki performances and transform their own visage into a kabuki character. It's worth snapping a commemorative photo against one of the kabuki floats as a backdrop to really complete the picture!
  • Kabuki Nail Art (¥100) - Visitors can liven up their hands with a set of kabuki "seals" for their fingernails. Two seals are included in the initial fee, though additional seals can be purchased for ¥50 each. As these are simply seals, no artistic ability is needed to apply them!
  • Mizuhiki Experience (¥100) - Mizuhiki are decorative knots made from traditional washi paper and often features in the costumes of kabuki actors. In this hands-on workshop, visitors learn the basic steps in making a mizuhiki and get to take home one of their own creations.
  • Shamisen Experience (¥100) - The shamisen, or three-stringed traditional guitar, is the primary instrument used in kabuki performances. In this workshop, participants try their hand at mastering simple songs on the popular instrument. A selection of other musical instruments used in kabuki may also be available to try.

Hikiyama Gallery Miyossa is open year-round, except for Wednesdays in the winter months and for a few days over the New Year holiday period. The gallery is easily accessed via a seven-minute walk from JR Komatsu Station.

Mandy Bartok

Mandy Bartok @mandy.bartok

Japan resident for 10 years, with time spent in Okinawa, Kumamoto and Tokyo.