Travel around around 150 km northwest from the hustle and bustle of Kyoto and another, far more peaceful world awaits in the compact onsen (hot-spring) town of Kinosaki nestled on the Sea of Japan coast in a quiet corner of the largely rural city of Toyooka in Hyogo Prefecture.

This picturesque setting has long drawn poets, writers and painters to its many ryōkan (traditional Japanese inns), restaurants and bathhouses, which are clustered along a small canal running beside the narrow main street. Now though, this bucolic locale may be in for a pleasant shock, courtesy of one of Japan's leading dramatists.

While it may seem like something that just popped into Oriza Hirata's hatsuyume (first dream of the year, which is said to foretell the future), the 55-year-old playwright and director tells The Japan Times that his vision to create "an Asian version of the Avignon Festival Fringe" is something that he has been working on "for years."