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Question21 Which Noh stages are designated as national treasures?

The Agency for Cultural Affairs has chosen some of the most important tangible cultural properties, which are valuable from the global perspective, and designated them as national treasures for preservation. There are currently 213 architectural items (257 buildings) designated as national treasures.

There are two permanent Noh stages in the Honganji Temple (the West Honganji) in Kyoto; one on the north side and the other on the south side of the drawing room complex, and the North Noh Stage located in the garden on the north side of Shiro Shoin (the white drawing room) has been designated as a national treasure.

It is thought that this is the oldest Noh stage in existence, and that it was originally built within Sumpu Castle (in present-day Shizuoka) by command of Tokugawa Ieyasu (the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate) at the end of the 16th century.

The stage was later donated to the Honganji Temple. The temple has another outdoor Noh stage in the south garden, which was built at the end of the 17th century, and also has some indoor stages.

It is believed that the stages were used as halls for preaching Buddhist sermons. Unfortunately, the North Noh Stage is not open to the public.

(Apr 10, 2008)


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