Noh, which is the most ancient form of musical theater in Japan, is performed in the evening darkness amidst the illumination of the burning torches at the Heian Jingu Shrine. The shrine was built as a partial reproduction of the palace constructed in 794, and its red torii gate at the entrance serves as a symbol of Kyoto. Many people gather to watch the Noh performances in an atmosphere evocative of the ancient capital.
Noh is performed by actors wearing lacquer-coated wooden masks and dressed in gorgeous costumes. Emotions are neither expressed on the face nor by voice. The movements are also limited, yet in this style of performance, the audience is able to appreciate a serene aestheticism peculiar to Japan. In contrast, the kyogen which is performed during intervals of Noh, is a comic drama with plenty of lines and movements as well as lots of humor.
The Takigi Noh festival is held just when the 2,000 hana-shobu (blue flag) and ayame (iris) plants come into full bloom in the vast Japanese garden of Heian Jingu. The iris flower is often used as a metaphor for describing beautiful Japanese women, and is one of the favorite flowers of the Japanese people.
Kasasagi kasasagi.com.au/ has a small selection of Noh Masks and Woodblock Prints