Noh, one of the traditional dramatic arts of Japan, is famous for its masks and its lavish costumes. Usually a Noh performance is given in a Noh theatre, on a Noh stage specially designed for the performance.
But every August in Matsumoto a special outdoor performance is given right in the inner garden of Matsumoto castle, starting in the early evening and continuing by lantern-light after the sun sets. Noh plays are hundreds of years old and sung in their own peculiar way, and most Japanese audience members are just as lost as the foreigners in attendance as far as the dialogue goes. But the nighttime staging of the Takigi Noh gives the symbol-heavy and supernatural dramas back a bit of the atmosphere that they once had, and the kyogen (“crazy talk”) comedies in between the two short Noh plays help relieve the tension with lots of physical comedy about drinking and getting the best of your feudal lord.