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National Bunraku Theater


Go and see Bunraku, Japan's traditional puppet theatre in English!

Bunraku, also known as Ningyō jōruri, is considered to be Japan's traditional style of puppet theatre. A popular form of entertainment for ordinary people, Bunraku started in Osaka during the time of the Samurai - around 1684.

As Osaka is the birthplace of this art form, it should come as no surprise that the city has its very own National Bunraku Theater. Opened in 1984, the theatre has two halls, with the larger able to seat 800 guests.

Performances are typically held in January, April, June, July/August and November. Be prepared, the shows are long! They usually go for at least a few hours. Sometimes the shows include themes as sexual betrayals, mass murders, debauchery, demonic possessions (who needs Netflix?!) Just remember, if you are travelling with children, make sure that the show you attend is family friendly.

The theatre also contains a free exhibition centre where you can learn about the history of Bunraku. If you don't understand Japanese, there are English audio guides available.


  • See schedule on homepage
  • +81 6-6212-2531
  • 1-12-10 Nihonbachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka Prefecture, 542-0073 Japan
  • 1 minute walk from Nipponbashi Station, Exit 7; From Shin Osaka Station: Take the Midosuji Line to Namba Station (14 min) and change to Sen-Nichimae Line to Nipponbashi Station (1 min); From Kanzai International Airport: Take the Nankai-Kuko Line to Tengachaya Station (45 min). Change to Sakaisuji Line to Nipponbashi Station (5 min).