Stairs descending from the stage to the shirasu. Ōe Noh Theatre, Nakagyō Ward, Kyoto.
Photo credits: Shigeyama Sennojō III
A wooden ladder with two steps descends from the front of the noh stage to a stone slab surrounded by white rocks.
A bird's eye view of the short wooden staircase descending from the wooden noh stage to the moat of white rocks surrounding it.

The small set of stairs (kizahashi) descending from the edge of the stage downstage center are rarely used in contemporary performances. They are mainly used for auspicious performances, such as the play Sanbasō. In the past, patrons of the theatre would use the stairs to present gifts to the actors. The stairs descended to a boarder of white rocks (shirasu), which separate the performance space from the audience space. It is said that these rocks symbolize water and also serve a double function of helping to reflect light back up to the stage to help make the actors more visible, which would have been very important for outdoor performances before the introduction of electric lighting.

A boarder of white rocks cover the ground surrounding the base of the noh stage
A bed of white rocks cover the ground surrounding the base of the Kita Roppeita XIV Commemorative Noh Theatre in Shinagawa, Tokyo