With a 600-year history, noh is a symbolic form of theater adapted from Japanese traditional literature. Originally performed for the shogun (the military ruling class) and nobility, it has over the centuries become a more popularized form of entertainment.
Noh is a striking blend of traditional carved masks (omote), elaborate brocade costumes, and instruments, in which the main actors (shité), secondary actors (waki), musicians and chorus are perfectly synchronized. A key feature is the main actor, who wears an iconic mask representing his character, and who through symbolic and highly stylized movements expresses an elegant beauty and a deep feeling of humanity.
The noh theater, or Nogaku-do, is an austere yet dignified space, with a stage designed around specific historical elements that heighten the experience of the traditional performance.
As one of the oldest surviving forms of theater in the world today, noh has been designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, recognized as a classical form of Japanese dance and musical theater.