The amazingly, lifelike “Kiryu Mechanical Doll Show.” Come and watch traditional mechanical dolls performing right in front of your eyes.

2018-11-06   Activities, Traditions & History, Gunma,

Our mechanical dolls are so expressive that you would almost think they are alive. We present a variety of stories for your enjoyment.


p class=”mgB40″>Karakuri ningyo are mechanical dolls that were used in Japan in older times.
Kiryu, a town in present-day Gunma Prefecture, was once known for its weaving industry and had many irrigation canals with water mills. Kiryu’s mechanical doll performances, which were staged from the Meiji period through to the Showa period, made use of the power generated by these mills. The performances came to an end in 1961 but were revived in 1999 by the Karakuri Ningyo Preservation Society and are now held regularly. The Kiryu Mechanical Dolls Theater (Kiryu Karakuri Ningyo Shibai-kan) stands on a street that still has pre-modern style buildings with whitewashed walls. The dolls stored there have come back to life again thanks to the preservation society and its love of the traditional culture of Kiryu. They are all very realistic and look as if they could spring into action at any moment.
Performances of well-known scenes from famous stories are held on the first and third Saturday of each month. These stories include The Soga Brothers Night Attack (Soga Kyodai Yochi), Ganryu Island (Ganryujima), Sukeroku: Flower of Edo (Sukeroku Yukari no Edozakura), and Chushingura. As folkloric tales or stories that regularly feature in Kabuki programs, these are all very familiar to Japanese audiences. During the intervals members of the preservation society provide commentaries. These detailed commentaries are sure to make you find the dolls more and more appealing. We invite you to come and view a performance and to enjoy the traditional culture and warm-hearted hospitality of the people of Kiryu.

■Kiyru Mechanical Dolls Theater
Entry Price: Free
Opening times: First and third Saturday of each month
Opening hours: 10:00–16:00
Performance times: 10:30–15:00
※Performances are given in Japanese only
※English language pamphlets available









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“I live in Saitama prefecture and I love watching movies, driving, and Japan. I want to be the type of person who smiles and says ‘Okaeri’ to anyone who says ‘Tadaima!’ It will be victorious!”


Address 2-6-32 Honcho, Kiryu-city, Gunma pref.