A public presentation of Iwami “kagura” is given on Feb. 23 at the Iwami Kagura Naniwakan theater to announce its members ahead of its official opening in April. (Taku Hosokawa)

OSAKA--An exclusive theater opened near JR Nanba Station here to promote the traditional performing art of “kagura” (sacred Shinto music and dance) at home and abroad.

The Iwami Kagura Naniwakan in Naniwa Ward is the only permanent theater devoted to Iwami-style kagura, which is traditionally performed mainly in the western part of Shimane Prefecture.

The facility in Osaka’s busy commercial district of Minami is aimed at attracting foreign visitors and fans of the arts.

“We want to nurture souls in Osaka to pass down the traditional arts to future generations,” director Ikuo Takahashi said during the opening ceremony on April 25.

Two performances were given at the theater on that day.

During the popular act of “Orochi,” the audience erupted into applause when four monster serpents went on a rampage on the stage.

Before each performance, a video with English subtitles was played in an attempt to explain the story.

Since November last year, the troupe brought in an instructor from a kagura group called Shachu from Shimane Prefecture to train its members.

Twenty-six individuals with little experience, including students, homemakers and members of another theater company, practiced hard on a daily basis.

“I was impressed by the swordplay and spectacle,” Fukiko Uno, 66, from Yamato-Takada, Nara Prefecture, said. “I’d love to come and see it again.”

Admission for a performance is 3,000 yen ($27) for adults, and 2,700 yen per person for groups of at least 20.

The show is performed twice a day on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

For more information, visit the official website at (http://www.naniwakan.jp/).