Based in Akita’s Semboku City, the Warabi-za dance and theater troupe has put on 250 shows a year for almost 70 years and shows no signs of stopping.
Lauded as one of Japan’s great cultural performances on par with Takarazuka Revue and the Shiki Theatre Company, Warabi-za’s original production offers traditional culture with a modern twist. Actors leap across the stage, dance and sing, and play taiko drums with fearsome strength, sending vibrations across the theater.
The troupe has performed in 16 countries across the globe and continues to entrance audiences both at home and abroad.
At the Akita Art Village, where the troupe has its own theater, you can get an in-depth experience of Akita Prefecture’s charms through all the five senses. The complex offers hands-on workshops and classes where guests of all ages can learn how to make traditional Tohoku crafts, take part in traditional dance and taiko drumming workshops held by professional actors, or experience what it would be like to be a samurai.
The complex is also home to local craft beer Tazawako Beer, which has won international gold awards for its brews seven years in a row and is consistently praised for its excellence worldwide. It’s not unheard of for visitors to make it all the way to the village just for a taste of Tazawako’s golden ales.
If you’re visiting from afar — or you simply want to make the most of what the village has to offer — consider staying at Onsen Yupopo, a charming traditional ryokan located on site. The hot spring reportedly has positive benefits for the skin, and each bath overlooks a traditional Japanese garden to soothe the soul while you soothe your muscles.
Hot spring soaks are available for day trippers also, but staying the night offers an opportunity for a full immersive experience, complete with a decadent course meal abundant with local Akita specialties.
To find out more, visit www.warabi.or.jp