Main Stage

An old wooden noh stage with light patches on the surface where the varnish has been worn thin
The parts of the stage that are used most by the actors can be seen through where the varnish has worn off on this old stage. Ōe Noh Theatre, Nakagyō Ward, Kyoto

Like most other parts of the nōgaku stage, the main stage (honbutai) is made of Japanese cypress wood (hinoki). It is square in shape, measuring approximately 5.9 sq. Meters. Traditionally, large clay pots were placed under the main stage to amplify sound. The main stage can be divided into nine named sections that help actors to navigate the stage. Some key locations on the main stage are the jōza (upstage right), the wakiza (downstage left), daishōmae (upstage center), and shōnaka (center stage). These are the areas where the majority of the action will occur.

Clay jars are mounted in wooden braces under a wooden noh stage
Clay pots mounted under a noh stage. Photo credits: James R. Brandon
A black and white bird's-eye view of the square noh stage divided into a 3X3 grid with the numbers 1 through 9 running from right to left, top to bottom.
Diagram of the quadrants of the main noh stage

These are the names for each section:

  1. Jōza
  2. Daishō-mae
  3. Fueza-mae
  4. Wakishō
  5. Shōnaka
  6. Jiutai-mae
  7. Sumi
  8. Shōsaki
  9. Wakiza-mae