Audience seating for the Noh stage is called kensyo in Japanese.
The seating is set up to surround the stage from three directions.
Side Stage Seating
You can view the stage from the side. Seating is set up along hashigakari
which looks like a long corridor that actors use to enter the stage.
Middle Stage Seating
The seating spreads fan-like from the extended line of the front left pillar of the stage. This pillar is called metsuke-bashira
, or “sighting pillar”. In Noh plays, actors have limited eyesight since they wear masks for most plays. Metsuke-bashira
plays an important role in orienting the actors on the stage.
Front Stage Seating
You can view the stage from the front. Historically, shogun and feudal lords watched performances from this direction. It is a conventional seating.
You can view the full stage from the second floor. Only few Noh theaters have seating on the second floor. It is so rare that it’s worth to give it a try!