TENRI, Nara Prefecture--Foreign tourists wanting to hear and to play traditional "gagaku" ancient court music here should join a special event offered every Thursday evening at the Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun facility.

The event is organized by Nagoya-based event planning and management company Andnext Inc. in collaboration with the city government and Tenri University.

Andnext founder Tomoro Ando said that he found in his research that inbound tourists are extremely interested in gagaku although they hardly have access to the traditional court music, and he came up with ideas for the project.

The Gagaku Experience event offers string ensembles and dances performed by about 10 former members of the Gagaku Music Society of Tenri University. Visitors can listen to explanations of the history of gagaku, in addition to the “sho,” “ryuteki” and other traditional instruments used in gagaku.

They are also treated to a hands-on experience to play the instruments while they are dressed in “kariginu” and other costumes for court musicians.

It takes between 90 and 120 minutes for visitors to complete the Gagaku Experience, which is offered at the Parkside Kitchen cafe and restaurant inside Cofufun.

All programs are offered in English.

The charge is 3,800 yen ($34). An optional package that includes a dinner featuring local ingredients is available for 6,800 yen.

Reservations are accepted through Andnext’s website at (https://gagakuexperience.jp/), while the company said it is also asking hotel operators in Nara and other parties to encourage their guests to join the gagaku event.

Andnext was founded in the spring by Ando, 32, who had worked as a reporter and editor for Tenrikyo Doyusha, the public relations and publishing arm of the Tenrikyo religion.

“I want to re-energize Tenri. I also want to organize tours for ‘kofun’ (burial mounds), many of which are here in the city, and other attractions,” Ando said.