Open-air Performing Arts Festival under Mt. Fuji 2023

The Castle Tower

Program Information

Genre / City Theatre / Shizuoka
Dates 3-6 May at 18:45
Venue at Momijiyama Garden Square, Sumpujo Park
Duration 65 minutes
Language In Japanese with Chinese, Korean and English subtitles
Seat Reserved seating
Direction MIYAGI Satoshi
Written IZUMI Kyoka
Music TANAKAWA Hiroko
Production SPAC-Shizuoka Performing Arts Center


Once upon a time, there were spiritual demons living on the fifth floor of the White Heron (Shirasagi) Castle Tower at the heart of this tale of true love between Tomihime, an ethereal and beautiful princess, and a young samurai named Zushonosuke. Now, though, you can watch all this come dreamily alive in Sumpujo Castle’s destroyed tower as this beautiful performance blends the strange fantasy world of playwright IZUMI Kyoka and live percussion played by the actors.

“The Castle Tower” (“Tenshu Monogatari”) directed by MIYAGI Satoshi had its world premiere at the open-air theatre in Toga, Toyama Prefecture, in 1996. Since then this production — now one of Miyagi’s signature works — has been widely staged around Japan as well as in more than 30 cities in India, Pakistan, China, Egypt, South Korea, the USA, France and Taiwan.

Miyagi, who is now SPAC’s general artistic director, has created numerous contemporary plays drawing on traditional Asian theatre elements, and “The Castle Tower” has many such influences. In addition, it features cast members playing music on stage; the use of the logos and pathos (speaking and moving) method; and roles being played by two actors.

▼Special Website
天守物語 特設サイト


Set in the Warring States period of 15th- and 16th-century Japan, the drama has spirit beings living on the fifth level of the White Heron (Shirasagi) tower of Himeji Castle, from where it’s believed no one entering ever returns. When Kamehime visits her sister Tomihime, the demons’ leader, she is given the Lord Takeda Harima no Kami’s favorite white hawk as a souvenir. Later, the lord orders a young hawker named Zushonosuke Himekawa to find the bird, and he enters the fifth level prepared to die. However, Tomihime is impressed by his bravery and lets him return to the world of humans. But when he appears empty-handed, the lord is angry and orders him back to the spirit beings’ world again …

Director’s profile

© KATO Takashi

MIYAGI Satoshi
Born in Tokyo in 1959, after studying aesthetics at Tokyo University under ODASHIMA Yushi, WATANABE Moriaki and HIDAKA Hachiro, he founded the KU NA’ UKA theater company in 1990 and soon began staging plays overseas as well as in Japan. As a result, MIYAGI’s work — in which he often fuses contemporary textual interpretations with physical techniques and patterns of Asian theatre — has long been acclaimed both at home and far beyond. Indeed, in 2004 he received the 3rd Asahi Performing Arts Award, and the next year the 2nd Asahi Beer Art Award. Since taking up his position with SPAC in April 2007, MIYAGI has staged many of his own works — including “Medea”, the Hindu epic “Mahabharata”, and “Peer Gynt” — and has invited artists from abroad to present pieces casting a keen eye on the modern world as they see it. In line with his aim to make theatre “a window to the world,” he has also started a new SPAC-based project aimed at the youth of Shizuoka. In 2014, MIYAGI was invited to the Festival d’Avignon, where he received excellent reviews for his open-air version of the Hindu epic “Mahabharata” staged in La Carrière de Bourbon. Following that landmark achievement, the festival extended the honor of inviting MIYAGI to present a Buddhist interpretation he created of the ancient Greek mythological tragedy “Antigone” as its super-prestigious opening program for 2017. On that occasion, which was the first time an Asian play had ever been selected to launch the festival, MIYAGI’s exalted “stage” was the open-air Cour d’honneur du Palais des papes (the Honor Court of the Palace of Popes). By the play’s end, those towering medieval stone walls were ringing out with long and splendid standing ovations welcoming the work’s director and creator along with SPAC’s actors and staff — while more than 60 European media all gave great reviews. In 2018, he received the 68th Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Art Encouragement Prize of Drama. Also he recieved “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” from the Ministry of Culture of France in 2018.

Cast / Staff

Directed by MIYAGI Satoshi
Written by IZUMI Kyoka
Music by TANAKAWA Hiroko

Performed by SPAC / Micari, ABE Kazunori, OOTAKA Kouichi, HONDA Maki

Costume Designer: TAKAHASHI Kayo
Lighting Designer: OSAKO Koji
Prop Design : FUKASAWA Eri
Original Set Design : KIZ Junpei

Stage Manager: WATANABE Keisuke
Assistant Stage Managers: OGAWA Tetsuro, YAMAZAKI Kaoru, FUJISHIRO Shuhei
Lighting: KOBAYAKAWA Hiroya
Assistant set design: SATO Yosuke, YOSHIDA Yuna
Wardrobe: SEI Chigusa
Hair and Makeup: KAJITA Kyoko
Supertitle Operator: OISHI Takako

Technical Director: MURAMATSU Atsushi
Managing Director: NARUSHIMA Yoko
Administrator: OISHI Takako, KITAHORI Ruka, KUGA Haruko


Pre-performance talk: Starting 35 minutes before each performance


*Performances will be held even if it rains. As the use of umbrellas is not permitted during a performance, please ensure you have suitable rainwear. You are also advised to bring warm clothes for night performances at this time of year.

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