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March to the Beat of Your Own Drum


Experience creating a real taiko drum


Travelers interested in traditional Japanese performances will be familiar with taiko, the handmade wooden drums that are present in many events, from festivals to theater performances to religious ceremonies. What may be less well-known is the history of this instrument, its production, and its decoration. 

Located about 90 minutes west of Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet train, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, offers visitors a unique chance to learn not only about the history of taiko drums, which date back to the 15th century, but also how they are made and played. The host of festivals held in May and October where taiko play a key part in performances, Hamamatsu is also one of the few taiko production centers left in Japan. What’s more, there is a special workshop in Hamamatsu where visitors can learn how to make these precious traditional instruments. 



Ando Taiko Drum Shop, a workshop dating back to 1894, offers the rare opportunity to tour their taiko factory and try your hand at creating your own version of this instrument, which you can bring with you or send home as a souvenir of your experience. 

Master craftsmen will patiently guide you through the process of finishing a small taiko drum, with full interpretation to ensure nothing is lost in translation. As the whole process of creating a handmade wooden drum can take up to ten years, you will be adding the final touches to make it uniquely yours. After choosing which drum you wish to use, pull a leather cover tautly over the top, pinning it down with round, black pins. Then choose a colorful silk tassel or a decorative metal handle to give your instrument a signature flair. Give your drum a few taps to hear its rhythmic beat.

This one-of-a-kind experience is not to be missed by any music enthusiast. Holding this precious handmade instrument, you may proudly march to your own beat with your very own taiko.

Access: From Tokyo Station, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Hamamatsu Station (about one hour 24 minutes), then take the No. 20 bus to the Sugawara bus stop (about six minutes) and walk about nine minutes to the shop.




Taiko Drum Making (Ando Taiko Shop, Ltd.)


2-6-6 Nishi Asada, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka-ken


Approx. two hours or more




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