In celebration of its upcoming “Edo: Art in Japan, 1615-1868” exhibit, the National Gallery of Art is staging a festival of traditional Japanese arts. The performances begin this week with a presentation by the marionette theater company Youkiza, officially classified as an “intangible cultural asset” by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Founded by puppeteer Yuoki Magosaburo I in 1635, near the beginning of the Edo period, the troupe continues to be led by a traditional Japanese theatrical dynasty. (Yuoki Magosaburo X died last year.) Dressed in Edo-period kimonos and samurai costumes, the 2-foot-high puppets are manipulated by a puppetmaster who stands in plain view of the audience. (Ignoring distractions is essential to the aesthetic of crowded, motley Japan.) The evening’s program includes “Sambaso,” the oldest piece in the troupe’s repertoire, and “Kotobuki Jishi,” a lion dance designed to drive away evil spirits. At 8 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th & Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 737-4215. (Mark Jenkins)