Puppet theaters include a diversity of hand-manipulated puppet performances, with the puppets made and used in different ways. Many of them are influenced by Bungaku and Ningyō-Jōruri. The stories are often taken and dramatized from popular legends or hero stories, which made them popular especially in rural areas. Akita Prefecture has only three examples of puppet theater, all of which started in the former Chokai Town in the late 19th century. In agricultural off-seasons, stages were set up in private houses or in shrines.
Kabuki is a popular theater, in which various folkloric arts such as Nō play, Kyōgen, and Ningyō-Jōruri merged. Kabuki in rural areas does not have formalistic or institutionalized systems as do the Edo-Kabuki or the Kamigata-Kabuki (most notably the hereditary systems), but their programs have been much influenced by urban Kabuki traditions. Sometimes just a highlight from a famous Kabuki play is performed in combination with other performing arts.