National Bunraku Theater
National Bunraku Theater
4.5
About
One of the few places where bunraku, traditional Japanese pupper theater, can be enjoyed, this theater combines the latest in theater technology with architectural elements from the Edo period in Japan.
Duration: 2-3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.

Top ways to experience National Bunraku Theater and nearby attractions

The area
Address
How to get there
  • Nippombashi • 3 min walk
  • Kinntetsunipponnbashi • 4 min walk
Reach out directly

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles168 reviews
Excellent
112
Very good
44
Average
9
Poor
1
Terrible
2

Martina1888
Inverness, UK508 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Solo
What an experience! I was absolutely blown away by the performance. The motions of the puppets were so fluid it almost looked as if they were alive. I had a seat with a great view of the tayū (the narrator) and the shamisen player. I recommend tearing your eyes off the puppets from time to time and observing the narrator who does all the different voices in a highly animated way.
Before seeing the performance check out the exhibition on the first floor and pick up the "Introduction to Bunraku" brochure which gives you an intriguing overview about the art form. The staff was lovely and very helpful and could support you in English as well. Make sure you catch a bunraku show when you're in Osaka!
Written 7 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Simon Y
10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022 • Couples
Very nice traditional theatre. Show a bit long but authentic. My girlfriend got bored but I loved it, the costumes, acting, sets were incredible.
Written 7 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John Maruyama
Calgary, Canada24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019 • Solo
I attended the National Bunraku theatre to see a Bunraku (puppetry performance). Three puppeteers work in unison to make the puppets come alive and a narrator accompanied by a samisen player narrates the story. Absolutely masterful. Highly recommended. Headsets in English are available with a refundable deposit.
Written 7 May 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fearless 808
Honolulu, HI35 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019 • Couples
We attended the 11:00 performance of the Bunraku theatre which lasted until 3:15. It was fantastic!

Here are four ways to increase your enjoyment of the Bunraku performance:
1) As the puppets are not life size, costuming exquisite, and hand movements of the puppets extraordinary, it is better to sit as close as possible to the front. Order tickets on-line at National Bunraku Theatre. Earlier is better if you want better seats.
2) There is a small display/museum on the ground floor, where you enter the theatre. Visit this display/museum first before the play to increase your understanding of the genre.
3) The audio guides are a must! Pick them up on the second floor. Cost is Y700 with a Y1000 deposit. They provided not only the narration (I don't think it was a word for word translation), but background information, such as the training for Bunraku performers and explanation of background sets, etc.
4) Buy a bento lunch prior to arrival at the theatre. Although bento lunches are available at the theatre, you can be better variety and price from outside vendors. During intermission and breaks, the theatre goers merely broke out their bentos and ate them in their seats.

Enjoy!
Written 26 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

osmosam
Sao Paulo, SP13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019 • Family
A must do in Osaka, the Japanese capital of Bunraku. A top opera type performance, with each puppet manipulated by three puppeteers, playing century olds Japanese operas, sang by fantastic singers, under the stupendous sound of the three strings instrument: the Shamisen.
Written 6 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tasrod
Hobart, Australia85 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018 • Solo
I was hoping the theatre would have a display, exhibition or tour when there weren't performances on. I was disappointed upon visiting that there was nothing of the sort. It would be advantageous to use puppets and scenery to show visitors a glimpse of this art form. A lost opportunity.
Written 26 December 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sukumia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia31 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Solo
An interesting experience for visitors to enjoy Japanese puppet art form. A synopsis of the play and an audio guide is available for non Japanese speakers.
Amazing vocals and great detail is taken to perform a single play.
It is enough to watch a single session of a play unless one is willing to sit long hours to watch a performance.
The cost per session is from ¥1000 onwards.
Written 1 December 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GroovyM
Kobe, Japan297 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Couples
We had an amazing visit and if you are considering to attend, my recommendation is to attend at least once in your life. Here are my tips, which are similar to other reviews.
Buy tickets in advance on-line for either part one or part two. Each part is 3.5 hours in length and includes scenes from two different plays. To attend both parts your first time to visit could be too much. Select seats closer to the front if you want the best view of the intricate details and emotions of the puppets. From the back of the theater the puppet faces can seem small.
The last two rows are discount seats, which you can buy at the theater. If you can afford to pay full price, you will get the value from sitting up closer.
The right side of the stage is where the narrator and shamisan (string instrument) will sit. It is also very interesting to see the emotion and energy of the narrator.
Bring a bento lunch or snack. There is a 25-30 minute break between the two plays of each half performance. At the end of the first play, there is a rush to the lobby to take a seat and eat the lunch/dinner. Lockers are available for 10yen if you bring food and do not want to take it into the theater with you.
Take some extra time before or after the performance to visit the lobby museum with examples of the puppets and history of Bunraku. Enjoy!!
Written 23 November 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CaseyBe
London, UK188 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Couples
You can buy one act tickets on the day of the show. Box office opens at 10am. The single act seats are at the back and the side, but slightly raised over the centre, so the view of the stage and the narrator & musician is good. But seeing the detail of the puppets is impossible - take binoculars if you have them.
The audio guide is a must. It starts with a description as soon as you are seated and then describes all the action. They are not just for foreigners - plenty of Japanese seemed to have them, although there were surtitles in Japanese.
When we went there were two acts, each of 2 plays. The sorter plays were 1000 yen and the longer ones were 2000 yen. The audio guides were 300 for one play.
The play we saw was very melodramatic and quite violent but absorbing - you stopped noticing the puppeteers after a while
There's a small museum open before the two acts. It's worth a visit.
Written 13 November 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Miyuu
65 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2017 • Solo
I really wanted to watch Bunraku (Japanese traditional doll show).
and the dream came true for 3 years ago.
I was impressed to watch the show which name is "double suicide in Sonezaki" and "Kusunoki fairy tale'.
They have English and Japanese guide so you should visit there if you're interested in Japanese traditional show.
Written 21 September 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 58
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

National Bunraku Theater - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

All Nippombashi HotelsNippombashi Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Nippombashi
All things to do in NippombashiTheatre & Concerts in Nippombashi
RestaurantsFlightsTravel StoriesCruisesCar Hire