See Geisha Singing and Dancing
Surrounded by the serenity of the mountains, Yamanaka Onsen boasts more than a 1300-year history as a hot spring town that has nurtured a unique culture and various entertainment arts. Yamanaka-za is the town’s theatre which is adjacent to the ladies’ public bathhouse (Kiku no Yu). Possessing an elegant stage made of cypress and a back panel featuring a drawing of a pine tree, the theatre is dedicated to preserving Yamanaka-bushi, Yamanaka Onsen’s iconic folk song. The town used to be a popular relaxation destination for sailors of Kitamaebune merchant ships in the 18th and 19th centuries. Yamanaka-bushi originated when local women created their own versions of the sailors’ shanties. Nowadays geisha perform Yamanaka-bushi at the theatre on weekends and public holidays. Yamanaka Onsen is also famous for its lacquerware production, and the grand interior of the theatre is decorated with highly detailed lacquer motifs and designs.