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      14 Types of Traditional Japanese Clothing for Festival and Taiko Performance

      14 Types of Traditional Japanese Clothing for Festival and Taiko Performance

      There are various types of the costume in Japanese festivals. They are worn by taiko players, too. Let's learn the name, the meaning and the history!


      1. (Clothing) Happi & Hanten

      2. (Clothing) Haragake

      3. (Clothing) Momohiki

      4. (Clothing) Koikuchi Shirt 

      5. (Clothing) Yukata 

      6. (Footwear) Tabi 

      7. (Footwear) Zouri & Setta 

      8. (Accessories) Hachimaki  

      9. (Accessories) Tekkou (Tekou)   

      10. (Accessories) Fundoshi 

      11. (Accessories) Tenugui

      12. (Accessories) Kasa 

      13. (Accessories) Omen 

      14. (Accessories) Ougi



      1. Happi & Hanten (Coat & Jacket)

      Happi / Hanten Coat

      Happi coat is known as popular costume for taiko performance and festival. Generally, people in same group wear same happi coat with same color and pattern to unite together. Happi and hanten are traditional Japanese coat. Technically, "happi" and "hanten" refer to different clothing. Nowadays, we don't really distinguish between them when we say Japanese festival coat ("matsuri happi" or "matsuri hanten"). Some says "happi", others say "hanten". "Shirushi Banten" is the official name for Japanese festival coat that has group name and family emblem printed or sewn on the collars and back. But, most people just call it the abbreviation word like "happi" or "hanten". It's said that it appeared in Edo period (*exact year is unknown). They became popular among common people when they are banned to wear "haori (another Japanese jacket often worn by samurai warrior)". It's been often worn by common people, firefighter, and craftsmen. Nowadays, it's often worn in festival and some business purpose like Japanese inn, sake (Japanese alcohol) brewery and sales promotion event by company. Sometimes, hanten jacket is remade with a cotton into a jacket with cold protection. On the other hand, happi coat for matsuri (Japanese festival) usually doesn't have a liner and festival participants wear it while carrying "mikoshi (portable shrine)" and "dashi (float as known as "yama", "hoko", and "yatai")". Happi for matsuri is often worn over a "haragake" (apron as known as "muneate" and "donburi") and some types of Japanese shirts.

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      Happi Coat


      2. Haragake (Apron)


      Worker like craftsman and rickshaw man wore "haragake" apron under "happi" coat and "hanten" jacket. It's worn like apron with straps on the back. "Hara" means belly in Japanese and "gake" means putting something around. It's put around belly and chest in order to prevent body from cold and stain. It's said that it already exists as of the late Edo period. It has a pocket on the back or front to put coins into it. It became a typical taiko player's costume effected by 50s Japanese film, Muhoumatsu no Issho (The Rickshaw Man). It's also called "donburi" and "muneate".

      View Haragake for Sale



      3. Momohiki (Pants)


      "Momohiki" is a Japanese style work pants. Craftsman and steeplejack wear it with "happi" coat and "haragake" apron. There were loose type and tight type but tight type has been popular among people after late Edo period. It's said that the name of "momohiki" came from an old word "momohabaki". "Momo" means thigh in Japanese. In the old era, kyahan (ankle belt) is called "habaki" and "habaki" for "momo (thigh)" is called "momohabaki". It's said that a word "momohabaki" changed into "momohiki". As well as haragake, It became a typical taiko player's costume effected by 50s Japanese film, Muhoumatsu no Issho (The Rickshaw Man). Short type "momohiki" is called "hantako" or "handako". It was used for travel.

      View Momohiki for Sale



      4. Koikuchi Shirt

      Koikuchi Shirts

      "Koikuchi" shirt is popular festival clothing as well as "haragake" apron and "momohiki" pants. It's named after the shape of the cuffs. The narrow cuffs look like "kuchi" (mouth) of "koi" (carp). This tight shirt with three quarter sleeve often worn under "haragake" apron with "momohiki" pants. Tucking in your shirt makes you look stylish. It's also called "nikujuban" but a word of "nikujuban" also means skin-colored underwear with muscles and tattoo. As well as this "nikujuban" underwear, koikuchi shirt has a variety of loud patterns like flower and imaginary animal.

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      5. Yukata (Robe)

      "Yukata" is abbreviation of "yukatabira", which was worn to take a bath in the past. The old Japanese bath is a steam bath in temple. People wore "yukatabira" because they mustn't take a bath in the nude for religious reasons. From the early modern era, it became popular to take a bath in the way we do now and people take a bath naked. Then, "yukata" was changed into a kind of the robe worn to absorb sweat after bath. From the middle of Edo era, it's often worn as everyday clothes in summer. It wasn't a outerwear but a lounge wear. Nowadays, it's often worn for summer festival like fireworks display.

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      6. Tabi (Shoes / Boots)

      Tabi Shoes

      Tabi is known as ninja shoes in the world. In Japan, it's often worn for taiko performance and festivals as well as construction work. "Tabi" is Japanese traditional two-fingers shoes. It's said that the origin of "tabi" is dated back to Nara period and it was developed from an old Japanese footwear "shitozu". Two-fingers tabi appeared to wear with "zouri" shoes in Heian period. Old "tabi" was made of leather and has a long tube shape tighten with long string. In the middle of Edo period, fabric "tabi" appeared and became popular after great fire of Meireki (1657). It is because leather "haori" jacket became popular to prevent it from fire and the prices of leather became high. Short "tabi" is replaced with long "tabi" and "kohaze" hook was developed in this period. White "tabi" was popular among female and navy "tabi" was popular among male. White "tabi" was used as formal wear and navy "tabi" was used for travel in late Edo period. Rubber was imported to Japan in Meiji era and used with sole of "tabi". It is the present "tabi" worn in festival: so-called "jika-tabi" as known as ninja shoes. In the festivals, jika-tabi shoes which have thick rubber sole and air cushion inside are popular because people in the festival often walk the long distance. 

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      Tabi Shoes


      7. Zouri & Setta (Sandals)

      Zouri Sandals

      "Zouri" is sandals which has a sole with straps called "hanao". It's developed as everyday shoes woven with bamboo peel, rush, and straw. "Setta" is a high-class sandals which has a leather sole on the back of "zouri". There is "setta" with iron and it's considered that walking and making sound with it is smart. "Setta" is more popular among festival people because it's harder to slip than "zouri". Also, people often wear it with tabi (not tabi shoes with thick sole but tabi socks). 

      View Zouri & Setta for Sale



      8. Hachimaki (Headband)


      "Hachimaki" means a cloth wrapped around head.  A part of head which is wrapped around with "hachimaki" is called "hachi". "Maki" means wrapping something around. It's been considered that wearing a cloth on the head expresses honor to someone in a dignified manner. In addition, It's said that it has a religious meaning. For example, spiritual power exists by making knots on "hachimaki". Nowadays, it is worn to be pumped up. For example, fishmonger, sushi chef, carpenter, and steeplejack wear it to be pumped up and look cool. Festival participants also wear it around head and carry "mikoshi" portable shrine.

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      Hachimaki Headband


      9. Tekkou (Wrist Band)

      Tekkou Wrist Band


      "Tekkou (Tekou)" is a traditional Japanese wrist band for work and travel, which prevents wrist from damage. It has tube shape and fasten with strings, hooks, and Velcro tape. It is made of fabric but iron wrist band is used for battle. In the festival, people often put it on to protect their wrist from the damage when they carry the "mikoshi" portable shrine and "dashi" float. 

      View Tekkou for Sale

      Tekkou Wrist Band


      10. Fundoshi (Underwear)

      Fundoshi Underwear

      A cloth worn around private parts. Japanese people don't take a bath in the nude by early modern period. They wear fundoshi for bath time. There are some types of fundoshi. The popular type is "rokushaku fundoshi" and "Etchu fundoshi". "Rokushaku fundoshi" is one piece of cloth that has about rokushaku (6 shaku / 2 meters / 79 inches) in length. It's been worn since between Keicho (1596-1615). "Etchu fundoshi" is simple type of the "rokushaku fundoshi". It's easier to wear than "rokushaku fundoshi". It has only a half of "rokushaku fundoshi" in length but has thin strings to wrap around the body. It's been popular among people because of the convenience and saving of material. In the past, it's popular for adult male to wear fundoshi. So, the ceremony was held to celebrate male when he wears a fundoshi for the first time (when he becomes adult from child) as rite of passage in some district of Japan. In some summer festivals, people only wear "fundoshi" underwear without "momohiki" pants. In the "hadaka matsuri" (naked festival), people only wear fundoshi "underwear" in the nude (sometimes, people run around and get in the water in winter). 

      View Fundoshi for Sale


      11. Tenugui (Towel)

       Tenugui Towel

      "Tenugui" is a traditional Japanese towel made of cotton. It is used in various ways. For example: it's used as a headband, a sweat towel, an advertising material, a celebration gift, a belt, a sash, a string, a substitute of "hanao" strap, and a bandage. Some people just place in on the head like wearing a hat and it's called "oki tenugui". As well as "hachimaki" headband, to wear something like "tenugui" has a spiritual and ritual meaning. It's often used to wipe the face and wrap around the head instead of "hachimaki" headband in Japanese festival.  Also, the "tenugui" towel which has the image of the festival is sold as a souvenir.

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      12. Kasa (Hat)

       Okesa Kasa

      It has various name for "kasa" hat depends on the material (e.g. sugegasa / takegasa / igasa / higasa) and manufacturing method (e.g. nuigasa / amigasa / kumigasa / osaegasa / harigasa / nurigasa). It's considered that it's been used from long time ago because cray images with "kasa" hat were excavated from ancient tomb. It enables people to escape from daily life and change them into someone by concealing one's self. It's a sacred symbol as well as decoration based on "Furyu" an old virtue of Japan still now. In the Japanese dance festival, dancers often wear it. 

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      13. Omen (Mask)

       Omen Hyottoko Okame Mask

      "Omen" mask is put on the face to play the role of someone and gods in some festivals and folk performing arts. The most popular character is "Okame" and "Hyottoko". "Okame" is female character with charming smile and ugly face. It has rounded face, flat nose, droopy eyelid, large forehead, and high cheekbones. It's also called "otafuku" and "ofuku" as a lucky face. It's used for "kagura" dance and "shishimai" lion dance as a character of crown as well as "hyottoko".  "Hyottoko" is a funny male face puckered up his mouth. A word "hyottoko" is derived from the "hiotoko" (to translate directly, it means fire man). His mouth represents the mouth to breathe fire with a bamboo blowpipe. It often appears with "okame" as one of the crown characters in many folk performing arts. 

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      14. Ougi (Fan)

      "Ougi" is a traditional Japanese folding fan and one of the ceremonial tools. It's said that it's invented based on wooden tablets called "mokkan" in Nara period. It's used for traditional dance like "gosechi no mai" and "shirabyoshi". It's one of the important tools for traditional folk performing arts in Japan. Sometimes, it's been used for a subject of worship, a tool for game, and a gift. In addition, it's also used to encourage and lead people. For example, in the "gion matsuri" festival in Kyoto, one of the three major festivals in Kyoto, two people on the "hoko" float encourage people and send them signals to move with "ougi" fan. 

      View Ougi for Sale


      Related Articles

      Tabi Shoes Size Conversion & How to Wear

      Tabi is one of the essential items for Matsuri, Japanese festival.  See also this article. 

      Tabi Shoes Size Conversion & How to Wear

      Let's Make Custom Name Print Happi

      Are you interested in custom name item? See also this article. 

      Let's Make Custom Name Print Happi Coat 

      31 Best Traditional Japanese Pattern Wagara on Happi Coat

      Are you interested in traditional Japanese costume and pattern? See also this article. 

      31 Best Japanese Patterns (Wagara) on Happi


      😚Thank you for reading this to the end. Please feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments😉

      Guide to 33 Types of Traditional Japanese Instruments

      Guide to 33 Types of Traditional Japanese Instruments

      Here is the introduction to the traditional Japanese instruments (wagakki). You'll learn "name and type", "size, material, and structure", "sound and performance", and "context and history" for each instrument. They are developed and improved by a lot of musicians for a long time. We wish this article helps you understand Japanese instruments. 


      1. (Wind) Shinobue 

      2. (Wind) Shakuhachi 

      3. (Wind) Ryuteki / Komabue / Kagurabue 

      4. (Wind) Sho (Hosho) 

      5. (Wind) Hichiriki  

      6. (Wind) Nohkan 

      7. (Wind) Horagai  

      8. (String) Shamisen 

      9. (String) Sou (Koto) 

      10. (String) Biwa 

      11. (String) Sanshin 

      12. (String) Kokyu 

      13. (Percussion) Taiko (Byo Uchi Daiko) 

      14. (Percussion) Taiko (Shime Daiko) 

      15. (Percussion) Gaku Daiko 

      16. (Percussion) Dadaiko (Kaen Daiko) 

      17. (Percussion) Kakko 

      18. (Percussion) Tsuzumi (Otsuzumi) 

      19. (Percussion) Tsuzumi (Kotsuzumi) 

      20. (Percussion) Sannotsuzumi 

      21. (Percussion) Uchiwa Daiko 

      22. (Percussion) Taiko of Okinawa (Eisa Taiko) 

      23. (Percussion) Kane (Atarigane / Surigane / Souban / Yosuke / Chanchiki) 

      24. (Percussion) Shouko 

      25. (Percussion) Dora 

      26. (Percussion) Kane (Doubyoshi / Tebiragane / Chappa) 

      27. (Percussion) Kagura Suzu 

      28. (Percussion) Bonsho 

      29. (Percussion) Shakubyoshi 

      30. (Percussion) Mokugyo 

      31. (Percussion) Yotsudake 

      32. (Percussion) Sasara 

      33. (Percussion) Hyoshigi 


      [Wind Instruments]

      1. Shinobue


      Shinobue is a simple transverse flute with a blow hole and fingering holes. Because it has been played by ordinary people, the origin is not clear. It's used for folk performing arts (kagura, dengaku, lion dance, and festival), kabuki theater, and geisha music. It has about 30cm (12 hon choshi) to 60cm (1 hon choshi) according to the key. It is made by thin shinodake bamboo (also known as medake). Also, rattan bindings are wound around it. There are 12 different keys of shinobue in order to adjust to the pitch of the shamisen and the vocal accompaniment. The lowest key is called 1 hon choshi (F) and the highest key is called 12 hon choshi (E). The shorter the length of the shinobue is, the higher the key is in increments of semitone. It has soft sound and play a beautiful melody with exquisite grace note. It has wide range of pitch (2~2.5 octaves). In festivals, high-pitch sound is often used. 

      View Shinobue for Sale

      2. Shakuhachi


      Shakuhachi is popular end-blown flute made of bamboo. Blow hole is made by cutting the end part on an angle. Originally, it is said that it was introduced into Japan from continent as one of the instruments for gagaku (Japanese court music & dance). After that, it has changed the shape and name. Finally, it became current shakuhachi after fuke shakuhachi (komuso shakuhachi) which is played by monk (called komuso) of the fuke school of zen Buddhism in Edo era (1603-1868). It was used as a form of meditation and there were religious unique solo pieces. It was played by people other than komuso monk after new era (Meiji era) came and fuke school died out due to the Meiji restoration in 1871. Kinko Kurosawa (1701-1771) collected religious pieces played by komuso monk and improved the shakuhachi music. After fuke school was discontinued, the main scene of shakuhachi became sankyoku gassou (ensemble with shamisen and sou). It became Kinko school. On the other hand, Tozan Nakao (1876-1956) developed shakuhachi music by creating new piece and music notation affected by western music. It became Tozan school. It's used for sankyoku gassou (ensemble with shamisen and sou) and solo performance. Standard length is 1.8 shaku (about 54.5cm). But there are wide range of the length from 1.1 shaku (about 33cm) to longer than 2 shaku (about 60cm). It is made of bamboo. The sound produced changes depending on the length and tuning. Usually, it has wide sounds from low-pitch to high-pitch with harmonic sound.

      Main School Shape of Blow Hole Edge Notation
      Kinko Plectrum Ro / Tsu / Re / Chi / Ri
      Tozan Crescent Moon Ro / Tsu / Re / Chi / Ha

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      3. Ryuteki / Komabue / Kagurabue

      Ryuteki Komabue Kagurabue

      Ryuteki is one the traditional Japanese transverse flutes. It is said that it was introduced into Japan from continent. It's used for gagaku (Japanese court music and dance. especially, tougaku, saibara, kumeuta, and yamatouta) and festivals. It has about 40cm in length. It's made of bamboo called medake. Urushi lacquer is painted inside of it. Kaba (thin wire-like bark of cherry blossom) is wound around it. Lead is put into the end of the flute. So, it has slight weight. The sound produced is strong and loud. The sounds range is about 2 octaves. Compared to hichiriki, melody instrument in gagaku as well as ryuteki, it makes sounds with exquisite grace note. 

      Komabue is used for gagaku as well as ryuteki. Unlike ryuteki, it's played in komagaku and azumaasobi. It is thinner and shorter than ryuteki. It is a whole tone higher in pitch than the ryuteki. It produces sharp and clear sound. 

      Kagurabue is used for gagaku as well as ryuteki and komabue. Unlike them, it's played in kagurauta. It's also called yamatobue. It is longer and thinner than ryuteki. It is a whole tone lower in pitch than the ryuteki. It's played elegantly with gentle breath. It's said that the most expensive flute in these three flutes. 

      View Ryuteki for Sale 

      View Komabue for Sale 

      View Kagurabue for Sale 


      4. Sho (Hosho)

      Sho (Hosho)

      Sho is a free reed instrument made of bamboo pipes and body. It is said that it was introduced into Japan from continent just before Nara period (710-794) or in Nara period. Free reed called shita is attach on the lower part of bamboo. So it becomes hard to make sound if shita is wet by breath, it need to be dried before performance. It's used for gagaku (Japanese court music and dance). It has about 50cm in length. It's made of 17 thin bamboo pipes that attached on the body. Usually, it plays chords with 5-6 sounds called aitake.   

      View Sho for Sale 

      5. Hichiriki


      Hichiriki is a double reed instrument made of bamboo body and reed. It is said that it was introduced into Japan from tang dynasty of china in the early 7c as one of the instruments of gagaku (Japanese court music and dance). It needs to put the reed into the warm tea before attaching the body in order to open blow hole. It's used for gagaku. It has about 18cm in length and the reed is about 6cm. It's made of bamboo and kaba (thin wire-like bark of cherry blossom) is wound around it. Urushi lacquer is painted inside. Sound range is 1 octave. It produces loud sounds that you cannot be expected. It uses a playing technique called enbai (a kind of portamento) and changes it by breath and depth of the reed in the mouth. 

      View Hichiriki for Sale 

      6. Nohkan


      Nohkan is one of the transverse flutes in Japan. It's used for nohgaku (noh play and kyogen farce), kabuki theater, nagauta, and festivals. It has about 39cm in length. It's made of bamboo called medake. Especially, it is said that susudake, a bamboo on the ceiling smoked by fireplace in the old Japanese house is excellent. A short bamboo pipe called nodo is put inside of it between the blow hole and the nearest fingering hole. It's made to produce high-pitch sound called hishigi easily because the nodo part gets in the way of breath. It's played to the rhythm of the tsuzumi (percussion instrument) and freely (ashirai). 

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      7. Horagai


      Horagai is a shell-conch flute of Japan. The origin is not clear but it's said that priest brought back to Japan from tang dynasty of China. It's often used by shugenja, practitioner of the Japanese religion of the shugendo for chanting and sending signals. Or, it's played as communication tool in middle ages. It has about 20cm to about 50cm in length. It's made by cutting the edge of the large conch shell and attaching a mouthpiece on it. The sound is produced by trembling lips and shaking inside of the shell. 

      View Horagai for Sale 


      [String Instruments]

      8. Shamisen


      Shamisen is a popular Japanese three-stringed lute. Although it's a string instrument, sometimes it's played like percussion by hitting the skin with a plectrum. The history of shamisen is relatively shorter than other Japanese instruments but the sounds are extremely improved by many old players from various genres for a long time. The origin of the shamisen is sanxian of China. It is said that sanxian was introduced from China to Okinawa and it became sanshin. Sanshin was introduced from Okinawa into Sakai of Osaka, Japan In Eiroku era (1558-1570) and it became shamisen. Shamisen is developed by biwa hoshi, Japanese lute priests to change the size, skin, shape of bachi, and sawari part. There are many types of shamisen used in various scenes. It's used for kabuki theater, ningyo joruri puppet show, geisha music, and folk song. It has about 97cm in length but the size changes depending on the type. There are 3 main types classified according to the size: futo-zao (thick neck), chu-zao (middle neck), and hoso-zao (thin neck). Furthermore, there are more variations with different thickness of string and skin, weight of bridge, and plectrum. Body is made of karin (Chinese quince), kuwa (mulberry), shitan (rosewood), and kouki (redwood). Neck is made of kouki (redwood), kokutan (ebony), and shitan (rosewood). The sound produced changes depending on the types of shamisen. Shamisen is often played with a vocal accompaniment. Singing method differs depending on the genre of music and the best shamisen to the vocal accompaniment is selected. So, some makes light sound and others make strong sound. 

      Types of Shamisen Genre
      Futo-zao (Thick Neck) Tsugaru / Gidayu
      Chu-zao (Middle Neck) Jiuta / Tokiwazu / Kiyomoto / Shinnai
      Hoso-zao (Thin Neck) Nagauta / Kouta / Hauta 


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      9. Sou (Koto)

      Sou (Koto)

      Koto is a general term of the Japanese string instruments and nowadays it means sou, a Japanese zither. It is said that it was introduced into Japan from tang dynasty of China. It was 13 strings type of zither. It was played in gagaku (Japanese court music) and people of todo (a guild for blind men) prevented the technique of the instrument. Kengyo Yatsuhashi (1614-1685) started modern sou music and it's called zokusou. It became zokusou played today. Kengyo Ikuta (1656-1715) affiliated jiuta of shamisen music and it became Ikuta school. Later, Kengyo Yamada (1757-1817) play the uta joururi music popular in Edo (old Tokyo) and started Yamada school. Gakuso, a type of sou is used for gagaku (Japanese court music) and zokuso is used for sankyoku gassou (ensemble with shamisen and shakuhachi). Wagon is Japanese original zither and called yamatogoto. Gakusou has about 190cm in length and zokusou has about 180cm in length. The body is made of paulownia. The bridge of gakusou is made of wood like shitan (rosewood) and kokutan (ebony). The bridge of zokusou is made of ivory and plastic. The player puts a plectrum on the thumb, index, and middle finger of the right hand and plucks the strings. The pitch of the each string is tuned by moving position of the bridge.

      School of Sou (Zokusou) Feature
      Ikuta  Square Plectrum
      Yamada Round Plectrum


      10. Biwa


      Biwa is one of the Japanese lutes. the origin is western Asia. It is said that barbat, a Persian lute went to east and became pipa (China) and biwa (Japan). On the other hand, oud, a Arabian lute went to west and became lute (Europe). It is said that biwa was introduced into Japan from continent as one of the instrument of gagaku (Japanese court music) in 7c to 8c. Biwa used in gagaku is called gaku biwa. Latter, other types of biwa like heike biwa, mousou biwa, modern biwa (satsuma biwa and chikuzen biwa) were developed. It was played by biwa hoshi (blind Japanese lute priests) by the middle of Heian period (794-1185). From Kamakura period to Muromachi period (1336-1573), it was played by biwa hoshi as a background music of the most popular storytelling, "The Tale of The Heike". The popularity of the biwa replaced with shamisen in 16c but it was improved by blind monk in Kyusyu district and it became modern biwa later. Gaku biwa is used for gagaku (Japanese court music). Mousou biwa and heike biwa are religious use. Modern biwa is used for artistic activity. The size varies according to the types. Gaku biwa has about 100cm, mousou biwa has about 75cm, and heike biwa, satsuma biwa, chikuzen biwa has about 80 to 90cm in length. Material of wood varies according to the types. Gaku biwa and heike biwa are made of shitan (rosewood), kokutan (ebony), and karin (Chinese quince). Chikuzen biwa is made of sakura (cherry), karin (Chinese quince), and kuwa (mulberry). Front body of chikuzen biwa is made of soft wood, kiri (paulownia). On the other hand, front body of satsuma biwa is made of hard wood, kuwa (mullberry). It is due to the difference of the playing technique. Gakubiwa is set horizontally. The player holds the neck with left hand and plucks 4 strings with plectrum. Heike biwa was played while the player reads sutras and tells stories. Mousou biwa was played by blind monk in Kyusyu district and developed biwa and played shamisen music. Chikuzen biwa is made of kiri (paulownia) and makes softer sound than satsuma biwa. Satuma biwa is made of kuwa (mullbery) and the plectrum is very big and has Japanese fan-shape (ougi-gata).  It's often played with tremolo and hitting the front body strongly. 

       Types of Biwa Feature
      Gaku Biwa 4 Strings 4 Frets
      Heike Biwa 4 Strings 5 Frets
      Mousou Biwa Origin of Chikuzen Biwa and Satsuma Biwa
      Chikuzen Biwa 5 Strings 5 Frets
      Satsuma Biwa 4 Strings 4 Frets


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      11. Sanshin


      Sanshin is a lute in Okinawa, Japan. It is said that sanxian was introduced from China in the end of 14c and it became sanshin in Okinawa later. It's used for traditional music of Okinawa and Amami district. It's often played as back ground music for the folk song in Okinawa. It has about 80cm in length. The skin is made of python. The player puts a plectrum made of cow's horn and plastic on the index finger of the right hand and plucks the strings.    

      12. Kokyu

      Kokyu is an only string instrument played with bow. There are some theories of the origin. First, it is the instrument that shamisen is developed. Second, it is the instrument that kokyu in Okinawa is developed. Third, it is the instrument that rebec of Portuguese is developed. In either case, it was played in early Edo period. It was played with sou and shamisen in sankyoku gassou (ensemble of three instruments) but it was replaced with shakuhachi. Nowadays, it's played in folk performing arts like Owara kaze no bon and Gokayama mugiyabushi as a back ground music. It has about 69cm in length: a little shorter than shamisen. Material is almost same with shamisen. It is a only bowed string instrument in Japan. The player set it between both knees and play it with bows. It produces a little sad sounds.  


      [Percussion Instruments]

      13. Taiko (Byo Uchi Daiko)

      Taiko (Byo Uchi Daiko)

      A word "taiko" is a general term for drums that have a skin stretched over the body in Japanese (except for tsuzumi). It is said that it's been used in Japan for a long time from ancient times. For example, haniwa clay image holding a barrel shape drum tightened by rope (6-7c) was excavated in Gunma, Japan. Byo uchi daiko is a general name for drums tightened by tack and it is thought that it appeared since the technique of tack was developed. It is used for festivals, folk performing arts, kagura, and other performing arts. Nagado daiko is a name of barrel-shaped taiko tightened by tacks and also known as miya daiko. When it comes to wadaiko (literally means Japanese drums), most of Japanese people reminds of this drum. Hirado daiko is a nailed drum with short body and used for folk performing arts and Buddhist temples by hanging from the frame. It depends on the types but it has about 30cm to 100cm in length. For material of nagado daiko, a wood called keyaki (Japanese zelkova) is excellent and cowhide is used for the head of drums. It is played with sticks called bachi. There are various playing styles depending on how to set on the stand. Player hits one or both head(s) of drums with sticks and sometimes, changes the sound by hitting wood part and iron part. 

      View Nagado Daiko for Sale 

      View Hirado Daiko for Sale 

      14. Taiko (Shime Daiko)

      Taiko (Shime Daiko)

      Shime daiko is a general name for drums tightened by rope or other tools. It's used for festivals, folk performing arts, kabuki theater, noh play. It has about 30cm in length. It is made by stretching cowhide or horsehide over wooden body and tightened by rope. It is played with sticks called bachi. In nohgaku (music for noh play), the player sets it on the stand and plays while staying in kneeling position. Tsuke-shime daiko is another type of shime daiko with thicker skin produces louder and higher-pitch sound. It is often used for modern taiko performance. Both types of drums can be tuned by changing tension of the skin with rope. Brand-new skin doesn't make sound well and the player needs to play it again and again in order to get best sound. 

      View Shime Daiko for Sale 

      View Tsuke-shime Daiko for Sale 

      15. Gaku Daiko


      Gaku daiko is one of the drums used in gagaku (Japanese court music and dance). The origin is not clear but it is considered that it was introduced from the continent. It has about 55cm in diameter. It has wooden body and nailed skin on the body. It is hung from the frame. The player hits only one side of drum head with sticks while sitting in front of the drum. Stick on the left hand is called mebachi (female stick) and one of the right hand is called obachi (male stick). The player hits the lower left part of the skin a bit strongly with mebachi and it's called zun. On the other hand, the player hits the center of the skin strongly with obachi and it's called dou. There are some rhythm patterns made of these playing styles.  

      16. Dadaiko (Kaen Daiko)

      Dadaiko is one of the drums used in gagaku (Japanese court music and dance). The origin is not clear but it might be developed in Japan after reformation of gagaku. It has flame-shape ornament around the drum and kaen daiko is named after it (kaen means flame in Japanese). It has about 130cm in diameter. It is made by stretching cowhide over the body and tightening by rope. The player hits only one side of head with sticks on the both hands while standing in front of the drum.  

      17. Kakko


      Kakko is one of the drums used in gagaku (Japanese court music). It is said that it was introduced into Japan from China in Nara period. It has about 30cm in length. Body is made of kashi (oak) and sakura (cherry blossom). It is made by stretching skin over the cylindrical body with rope. Setting on the stand, it is played with sticks on both hands. The player decides the tempo, sends signals for enter and exit of the stage. There are three basic playing styles: "sei", "katarai", and "mororai". To play sei, the player hits a right side of the skin with right stick. To play katarai, the player hits one side of the skin slowly first and gradually faster. To play mororai, the player hits both sides of skin with sticks on both hands one after another. 

      View Kakko for Sale 

      18. Tsuzumi (Otsuzumi)


      Originally, tsuzumi was a general term for drums in Japanese. Nowadays, hourglass-shaped hand drums are called tsuzumi. It was originally introduced as one of the instruments for gagaku (Japanese court music and dance). From drums called ikko, niko, sanko, shiko, it is said that niko was played by miko (shrine maiden) in Heian period. It is said that it was introduced into noh play through kusemai dance and became otsuzumi after it was used by shirabyoshi (female dancers). It is used for noh play, kabuki theater, folk performing arts. It has about 30cm in length. Body is made of quality cherry wood and skin is horsehide. The player holds the rope by left hand and hits one side of the head by right hand while setting on the left knee. Before assembling it, the player roasts the skin and makes it dry and tension. The sound becomes higher than usual by roasting the skin. 

      View Otsuzumi for Sale 

      19. Tsuzumi (Kotsuzumi)


      From drums called ikko, niko, sanko, shiko introduced as instruments for gagaku (Japanese court music), it is said that ikko became kotsuzumi. Kotsuzumi is a small hand drum used for noh play, kabuki theater, and folk performing arts. It is a little smaller than otsuzumi and has about 26cm in length. It has an hourglass-shaped body made of wood. Skin is horsehide and it is assembled with rope. Holding rope by left hand and setting on the right shoulder, the player hits one side of the skin with right hand. Changing rope tension by power of grip, the pitch and tone can be changed. 

      View Kotsuzumi for Sale 

      20. Sannotsuzumi


      It is said that sannotsuzumi was introduced from China and Korean peninsular in Nara period. It is used for gagaku (komagaku). It is a little bigger than kakko and has about 45cm in length. It is made by stretching skin over hourglass-shaped body and assembled with rope. Setting on the stand or ground, it's played with stick on the right hand while holding rope with left hand. The player has an important role and decides the tempo and sends signals. 

      View Sannotsuzumi for Sale 

      21. Uchiwa Daiko

      Uchiwa Daiko

      Uchiwa daiko is a drum made by stretching a skin over a round frame and attach a handle on it. It's used for kabuki theater folk performing arts, Nichiren Buddhism. It has wide range of the size and is usually about 20 - about 45cm in diameter of head. The player hold it by one hand and hits by another hand with stick. For Nichiren Buddhism, the monk hit the drum while chanting "nam myoho renge kyo".  

      View Uchiwa Daiko for Sale 

      22. Drums of Okinawa (Eisa Taiko)

       Drums of Okinawa

      Okinawa is the southernmost prefecture of Japan, which consists of many islands and has unique culture. Eisa is a folk dance that performed by people in Okinawa to honor the spirits of their ancestors. It is said that the original performing arts in Okinawa became eisa dance after Buddhism song and dance were introduced from Japan mainland into Okinawa. Three drums are used for eisa dance. The biggest one is odaiko, the middle one is shime daiko, and the smallest one is paranku. These drums has wooden body and cowhide nailed on the body. It looks like taiko drums in Japan mainland but the wood is relatively light and soft. Odaiko is hung from player's shoulder with sash and played with a stick. Shime daiko and paranku are held by one hand and played with a stick on another hand. 

      View Eisa Daiko for Sale 

      23. Kane (Atarigane / Surigane / Souban / Yosuke / Chanchiki)

      Kane (Atarigane, Surigane, Souban, Yosuke Chanchiki)

      Kane is a general term for percussion instruments made of metal. So, gong is called kane in Japanese. Japanese gong is used for festivals, folk performing arts, and kabuki theater. It has about 15cm to 30cm in diameter. It is made of metal. The player hangs it with a string from left hand and hits the center of it with a beater on right hand, or holds in on his / her palm and scratch inside of it. There are some technical terms for it according to the size and purpose. Technically, gong hung from handle (like string) is called "atarigane" and gong held on palm of player is called "surigane". "Souban" is large atarigane and "yosuke" is small surigane with thinner body. In local festivals, it sometimes called "chanchiki". 

      View Kane (Gong) for Sale 

      24. Shouko


      Shouko is a gong used for gagaku (Japanese court music and dance). It is hung from the frame stand and has about 15cm in diameter. The stand looks like a gaku daiko's stand. The player hits the inside of the gong with sticks on both hands while sitting in front of the gong. If the player hits it with both sticks at the same time, a left stick should hit a little faster than a right stick. 

      Dai Shouko is large shouko and has about 24cm in diameter. the ornament of the stand looks like a dadaiko's stand. 

      25. Dora


      Dora is a large and thin gong made of bronze. It is originated from Chinese percussion called ra. It is used for Buddhism music, kabuki theater, and folk performing arts. It has wide range of the size from about 30cm in diameter. It is hung from the frame and the player hits it with a stick.  

      26. Kane (Doubatsu / Doubyoshi / Tebiragane / Chappa)

      Kane (Doubyoushi, Tebiragane, Jangara, Chappa)

      Kane is a general term for percussion instruments made of metal. So, cymbal is called kane in Japanese. Japanese cymbal is used in temples, folk performing arts, kabuki theater, and kagura. It is said that it was already introduced into Japan in Nara period. It is made of metal and has wide range of the size. The player scratches each part on both hands and changes the sound by accent. Or, the player hits the both part together and keep them touch slightly each other to make a reverberation. There are some technical terms for it according to the size and purpose. Small cymbal used in folk performing arts is often called "tebiragane". Large cymbal used for a festival in Kyusyu district is called "jangara". Cymbal used in local festivals and kabuki theater is often called "chappa". "Doubatsu" and "doubyoshi" is another name for it. 

      View Kane (Cymbal) for Sale 

      27. Kagura Suzu

      Kagura Suzu

      Kagura suzu is a Japanese hand bell used for kagura dance performed by local people and miko (shrine maiden). It has about 30cm in length. Kagura suzu that has 7 bells at lower part, 5 bells at middle, and 3 bells at upper part is especially called shichigosan no suzu. In miko kagura (kagura dance performed by shrine maiden), miko holds it on her right hand and shake bells over her head. 

      View Kagurasuzu for Sale 

      28. Bonsho

      Bonsho is a giant bronze bell used in Buddhism temples. It is struck to announce the time and send signals. It has wide range of the size and usually about 1-2 meters in length. Usually, it is hung from the bell tower and struck by a large beater. It produces deep and low sound with long reverberation. 

      29. Shakubyoshi


      Shakubyoshi is a wooden percussion made of two titual baton called shaku. It has so long history that it is described in "The Tale of Genji" written by Murasaki Shikibu. It has about 25cm in length and about 3cm in width. Shakubyoshi consist of a pair of baton. The player holds the lower end of them and make a sound by striking them each other.  

      View Shakubyoshi for Sale 

      30. Mokugyo


      Mokugyo is a wooden percussion shaped like fish, which is often used in Buddhism temple. It is said that it was introduced from China into Japan after middle ages. It has about 6cm to 31cm. It's played in time with the rhythm when Buddhist chants a sutra. 

      View Mokugyo for Sale

      31. Yotsudake


      Yotsudake is a percussion made of bamboo and has about 10cm in length. It is played for folk performing arts, kabuki theater, court dance in Okinawa. The dancer holds two bamboo plate on each hand and makes a sound by hitting them each other. 

      32. Sasara

      Sasara is a percussion made of bamboo (or, wood) and has about 30cm in length. It is played for folk performing arts and dengaku dance. There are two types: surizasara and binzasara. As name suggested, surizasara is played by scratching bamboo. The player holds a split bamboo stick that looks like brush (called sasaradake) on right hand and thin stick with saw-toothed part on left hand. Binzasara is made by string wooden plate with a handle attached at each end. The player makes a sound by bending it. 

      33. Hyoshigi


      Hyoshigi is a wooden percussion used for kabuki theater, ningyo joruri puppet show, sumo battle, and a daily life. It consists of a pair of sticks and has about 25cm in length. The player holds a stick in each hand and claps them each other. 

      View Hyoshigi for Sale


      Related Articles

      Types of Shinobue

      Do you know types of shinobue? See also this article. 

      Types of Shinobue 

      Types of Taiko

      Let's see what kind of taiko are there. 

      Types of Taiko


      😚Thank you for reading this to the end. Please feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments😉

      Types of Shinobue Flute (Name and Origin: Where Did the Shinobue Come From?)

      Types of Shinobue Flute (Name and Origin: Where Did the Shinobue Come From?)

      Shinobue is the traditional side-blown flute in Japan. It is often played in Japanese festivals. Also, played as the background music in the kabuki drama and played with vocal and shamisen in the nagauta music. In the taiko music, it makes the performance more attractive with the colorful sounds produced by the wide range of the key and the unique, natural, simple and emotional sounds. Unlike expensive Japanese flute like ryuteki played by noble people, simple shinobue has been played by ordinary people. Especially, the sounds of shinobue reminds us of the sounds of festival music.


      1. Name 

      2. Origin 

      3. Type (Ohayashi & Uta) 

      4. Key (Choshi) 

      5. Binding (Maki) 

      6. Parts Name 

      7. Painting (Nuri) 

      8. Types of Bamboo 


      1. Name

      Japanese word, shinobue is consist of "shino" and "bue". Shino is named after the bamboo called shinodake, which is the material of the shinobue. Bue (fue) means the flute. So, you can just call it shino or fue.

      Shinobue Character Hiragana Kanji

      2. Origin

      It's said that the shinobue has been played widely in Heian period (794 - 1185). Compared to the ryuteki that played by noble people, it has been popular among ordinary people. Shinobue has very simple structure. It has thin vine of tou (rattan) around it and is painted with urushi (Japanese traditional lacquer) to prevent from the split. 

      It's said that the origin of the shinobue is ryuteki that was transmitted from China. But, the basic structure and scale are different between them and it's also said that the shinobue is just a simplified instrument of the ryuteki. 

      Japanese Bamboo Flute Shinobue Ryutei Nohkan

      3. Type (Ohayashi & Uta)

      There are two types of shinobue, "Ohayashi" and "Uta". In the modern taiko performance, "Uta" type is often played. The easiest way to tell "Uta" apart from "Ohayashi" is the fingering hole size. Because "Uta" is tuned properly, it has different size of fingering holes. On the other hand, "Ohayashi" keeps the traditional look and is not tuned to the western scale, the all fingering holes are same size.  


      Uta type is the modern shinobue that invented by Hyakunosuke Fukuhara between the beginning and the middle of the 20th century. Uta type is tuned and easier to play with the shamisen and the chants. To be tuned more accurate pitch, it is even played with the western music. This type is used in the modern taiko music, too.

      Shinobue Uta Type Finger Holes

      View Shinobue Uta Type


      Ohayashi (or hayashi) is the noun form of the verb, hayasu, which means like to warm up and create the atmosphere by decorating the object with the music and chant. Although the role is close to the background music of the performance like dance and acrobatics, it has the meaning of sending off the holy sprits and decorating the object representative of the divine spirits when it comes to the Japanese festivals. Although the term of the hayashi is used in various ways, Japanese festival music is also called ohayashi and matsuri bayashi.

      Shinobue has been played in such Japanese festivals. Ohayashi type is the original shinobue and often played in Japanese festivals and with lion dances. It is specially crafted for those purpose and the the interval of the fingering holes and the tuning are set up with the traditional theories.

      Shinobue Ohayashi Koten Hayashi Finger Holes

      View Shinobue Ohayashi Type

      4. Key (Choshi)

      Key of the shinobue is called "Choshi" in Japanese. There are the lowest pitch "1 hon choshi" to the highest pitch "12 hon choshi". The lower the pitch of the shinobue is tuned in, the longer the length is. On the other hand, the higher the pitch is tuned in, the shorter the length is.  

      Shinobue Choshi Key Length

      Choshi:  1 hon 2 hon 3 hon 4 hon 5 hon 6 hon 7 hon 8 hon 9 hon 10 hon 11 hon 12 hon
      Key:  F G flat G A flat A B flat B C D flat D E flat E

      • Lowest Key: 1 hon choshi (F)
      • Highest Key: 12 hon choshi (E)
      • Popular Key: 6 hon (B flat), 7 hon (B), and 8 hon (C)

      Listen and Understand Difference Between Choshi (8 hon, 7 hon, and 6 hon)

      Types of Shinobue

      Want to know how to play shinobue? See also this article. 

      Fingering Chart of Shinobue

      5. Binding (Maki)

      Binding is often wrapped around the shinobue to prevent from the split and make it look better. 

      Shinobue Binding Sudake Tenchimaki Hanshige Soumaki


      Shinobue without any bindings.


      Same as Sudake (Ohayashi type like Shishida)


      Same as Sudake (Rippei)


      Same as Sudake (Maruyama)


      Shinobue with bindings on the both ends. Harder than Sudake.


      Same as Tenchimaki (Ohayashi type like Shishida)


      Shinobue with bindings on some parts


      Shinobue with bindings on many parts of shinobue


      Same as Soumaki (Ohayashi type like Shishida)

      6. Parts Name

      Shinobue Parts Name

      Kanto (Head):

      The end part of the shinobue is called kan-to. It writes number in Chinese characters and represents the key. 

      Utakuchi (Blow Hole):

      The hole the player blows into. 

      Yubiana (Finger Hole):

      Finger hole. There are 6 holes and 7 holes. Both 6 holes and 7 holes shinobue have the same scale. The reason is not clear but some people feel that the 7 holes shinobue sounds nice. 

      Maki (Binding):

      Binding for shinobue is made of tou (rattan), kaba (birch), thread, and vinyl.

      7. Painting (Nuri)

      Natural looks are one of the biggest features of shinobue. But, there are many painted shinobue to make the look much better and prevent from the split. 

      Urushi Lacquer


      Traditional Japanese lacquer. There are transparent urushi and colored urushi. It makes the shinobue harder and add natural texture. Also, the sound will become better as it is played.

      Cashew Urushi:

      Urushi-like artificial painting. It is more reasonable than urushi and hard to dry and humidity.

      Artificial Painting:

      It's hard to dry and humidity and cheaper than urushi.

      8. Types of Bamboo

      Shinobue is named after the name of bamboo, shinodake. Besides, there are other shinobue made of harder bamboo with and good texture.



      Shinobue is made from this types of bamboo.

      Susudake (Smoke Bamboo):

      It is often used for the roof material of the old Japanese house. It becomes amber susudake bamboo by roasting by fire place for decades and dry extremely. The natural brown taste is popular among many Japanese people.

      Artificial Susudake:

      Susudake bamboo made artificially. Hard bamboo is only used for it after placing bamboo in a strict environment to select hard bamboo.


      Related Articles

      Types of Shinobue

      Want to know how to play shinobue? See also this article. 

      Fingering Chart of Shinobue 

      Embouchure and Finger Placement of Shinobue

      Want to know embouchure? See also this article. 

      Embouchure and Finger Placement of Shinobue 


      😚Thank you for reading this to the end. Please feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments😉

      Types and Material of Bachi

      Types and Material of Bachi

      Bachi is a pair of stick used for playing taiko drums. There are 5 main materials of bachi: kashi (oak), kaede (maple), tabu (machilus), ho (magnolia), and hinoki (cypress). They have different hardness and weight. In addition, there are some variations in size and shape. If you just started learning taiko and play the nagado daiko, we recommend bachi, which has 2.5cm in diameter and 40cm in length.


      1. Shape 

      2. Material 

      3. Maintenance 

      4. Playing Style 

      5. Other 


      1. Shape

      Straight Bachi
      (For Nagado Daiko, Hirado Daiko, Okedo Daiko & Odaiko)
      Nagado DaikoHirado DaikoOkedo DaikoOdaiko

       Nagado Bachi

      Straight bachi is used for playing nagado daiko and hirado daiko.
      Thickness: about 2.1cm-2.5cm (about 0.8in-1in)
      Length: about 33cm-42cm (about 13-17in)

      Recommended Bachi

      Nagado Bachi Long

      Long and thick bachi is used for playing odaiko. It's made of light material because it's long and thick. 
      Thickness: about 3.0cm-4.0cm (about 1.2in-1.6in)
      Length: about 45cm-55cm (about 18-22in)

      Recommended Bachi

      Tapered Bachi
      (For Shime Daiko)
      Shime Daiko

      Shime Bachi

      Tapered bachi is used for playing shime daiko. Hitting end is tapered and thinner than grip end. It is easy to play fast tempo. 
      Thickness (hitting end): about 1.8cm-2.4cm (about 0.7in-0.9in)
      Thickness (grip end): about 1.9cm-2.8cm (about 0.7in-1.1in)
      Length: about 33cm-41cm (about 13-16in)

      Recommended Bachi

      Thin Bachi
      (For Katsugi Oke Daiko)
      Katsugi Oke Daiko

      Thin Bachi

      Thin bachi is used for playing katsugi oke daiko. 
      Thickness: about 1.8cm-2.0cm (about 0.7in-0.8in)
      Length: about 38cm-40cm (about 15-16in)

      Recommended Bachi


      Types of Taiko

      Do you know the types of taiko? See also this article. 

      Types of Taiko


      2. Material

      Bachi Wood Chart

      Kashi (Oak)
      Bachi Kashi Oak Kashi Oak Bachi Heavy Hard

      Kashi (oak) is the hardest wood of bachi. Player needs enough strength to play with bachi made of this heavy wood. Also, it's enough hard to hit the tacks (byou) and the edge (fuchi) of the taiko body. But, please don't hit them strongly because kashi (oak) wood is so hard that it breaks them. 

      Recommended Bachi

      Kaede (Maple)
      Bachi Kaede Maple Kaede Maple Bachi Heavy Hard

      Kaede (maple) is the second hardest and heaviest wood of bachi. It is lighter than kashi (oak) but heavier than other wood and popular among players who want a little heavy bachi. Due to the weight of the bachi, the player can play taiko without unnecessary power. 

      Recommended Bachi

      Tabu (Machilus)
      Bachi Tabu Machilus Tabu Machilus Bachi Heavy Hard

      Tabu (machilus) is a little hard wood of bachi. It has the moderate weight and easy to play. It's harder than soft material like ho (magnolia) and softer than kaede (maple). It's not too much heavy and hard. So, it's recommended for beginners. 

      Recommended Bachi

      Ho (Magnolia)
      Bachi Ho Magnolia Bachi Ho Magnolia Ho Magnolia Bachi Soft Light

      Ho (magnolia) is soft and light wood of bachi. Bachi made of ho (magnolia) is often used for taiko of which the head is soft and thin. For example, bachi for katsugi oke daiko is made of ho (magnolia) to reduce the damage on the head. However, it's easily dented by hitting hard part of the taiko like tacks (byou) and edge (fuchi). It makes a soft sound. 

      Recommended Bachi

      Hinoki (Cypress)
      Bachi Hinoki Cypress Hinoki Cypress Bachi Soft Light

      Hinoki (cypress) is the excellent wood of bachi. If you want to make loud sound, bachi made of hinoki (cypress) is recommended. This light wood is often used for thick and long bachi. For example, bachi for odaiko and miyake style is made of hinoki (cypress). Bachi for yatai style is also made of this. It fits nicely the player's hand. 

      Recommended Bachi


      3. Maintenance

      Broken bachi damages the skin of the taiko. In that case, purchase new bachi or make the surface of the bachi smooth with the sandpaper. 
      Broken Bachi

      Bachi bag prevents it from scratches. We have some recommendations. Please check. 
      Bachi Bag Sticks Inside


      4. Playing Style

      Miyake Style

      Miyake Style Taiko

      Bachi made of hinoki (cypress) is used for playing miyake style taiko. It's thick and long but shorter than bachi for odaiko. 

      Recommended Bachi

      Yatai Style

      Yatai Style Taiko

      As well as bachi for miyake, bachi for yatai style is made of hinoki (cypress). It's a little tapered shape and thicker end is hitting end (thinner end is grip end). 

      Recommended Bachi

      Kagaribi Style

      Bachi for Kagaribi Daiko

      Bachi with tassels on the ends are used for kagaribi style. Player swings it like twirling a baton. 

      Recommended Bachi


      5. Other


      Bachi for children (under 8 years old) should be lighter and shorter than bachi for adults. We recommend bachi in 2.3cm x 37cm (0.9in x 15in). If they are as tall as adults, bachi in 2.5cm x 40cm is recommended. 

      Recommended Bachi

      Taiko Game

      Taiko video game is popular around the world. There are enthusiastic users play it with their original bachi (called my bachi) at amusement arcade in Japan. 

       Bachi for Taiko Game

      To get high score, bachi with sharper end is recommended. It's easy to do drum rolls. If the wood is too light, the sensor may not be tripped. So, the bachi should be moderate weight and bachi made of ho (magnolia) is recommended. Because the hitting end is sharp, it shouldn't be used for real taiko drums. 

      Recommended Bachi


      How to Hold Bachi Sticks

      Want to know how to hold bachi? See also this article. 

      How to Hold Bachi Sticks

      Size of Taiko

      Which size should I use? See also this article. 

      Size of Taiko 


      😚Thank you for reading this to the end. Please feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments😉

      9 Most Popular Types of Taiko

      9 Most Popular Types of Taiko

      1. Nagado Daiko

      2. Hirado Daiko

      3. Odaiko

      4. Ohira Daiko

      5. Shime Daiko (Tsuke Shime Daiko)

      6. Shime Daiko

      7. Katsugi Oke Daiko

      8. Okedo Daiko

      9. Ojime Daiko

      Byo Uchi Daiko & Shime Daiko

      Types of Taiko

      There are many kinds of taiko drums, but they are roughly divided into two types. One is taiko with nailed heads, called byo uchi daiko. The other is taiko with heads stretched over steel ring and tensioned by ropes or bolts, called shime daiko. byo uchi daiko includes the most famous nagado daiko (also called miya daiko) and hira daiko, which has a shorter body. Usually, the word shime daiko refers to shime daiko that has a short body, used for accompaniment. shime daiko with a long body is especially called okedo daiko.

      Byo Uchi Daiko

      1. Nagado Daiko

      Nagado Daiko

      Nagado daiko is the most popular type of the taiko. A word, nagado means long body in Japanese. It's also called miya daiko because it's played in Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple. A, word, miya often refers to the Shinto shrine. In Japanese Shinto festivals, it's often played with the shime daiko and called odaiko (big taiko) compared to the small shime daiko. The sound produced is low, loud and deep and hears DON. There are various playing styles and special stands for them.

      See Taiko Center's Nagado Daiko

      2. Hirado Daiko

      Hirado Daiko

      Hirado daiko has a thinner body than nagado daiko. A word, hira means flat in Japanese. The structure of the hirado daiko is same with the nagado daiko's. So it's smaller and has relatively lower price than nagado daiko, it is recommended to the person who needs many taiko. The sound produced is low and light. It's often set on the stand in the taiko performance and hung from the stand in the Japanese folk music.

      See Taiko Center's Hirado Daiko

      3. Odaiko


      Big nagado daiko is called odaiko (big taiko). Usually, it's bigger than 2-3 shaku size (the head diameter: about 60-90 cm) and too big to be carried by one person. It's played by two players (one player hits one side and another player hits another side). Or, it's played by one player as known as the odaiko solo. The sound produced is low, loud, and deep. It's one of the popular types of the taiko that many taiko players yearn to play someday.

      See Taiko Center's Odaiko

      4. Ohira Daiko

      Ohira Daiko

      Big hirado daiko is called ohira daiko. The powerful look makes the taiko performance great. The sound produced is low, loud, and deep as well as the odaiko. The difference is the length of the taiko body. Compared to the odaiko, the player can make thunderous big taiko sounds more easily due to the body size.

      See Taiko Center's Odaiko

      Shime Daiko

      5. Shime Daiko (Tsuke Shime Daiko)

      Tsuke Shime Daiko

      Shime daiko (tsuke shime daiko) is essential taiko drums for the modern taiko performance as well as the nagado daiko. Unlike the byo uchi daiko, the shime daiko can be tenshioned by the rope and the bolt. The sound produced is high-pitch and clear, and hears TEN. The more the taiko is tenshioned, the higher the pitch of the sound becomes. The thick cowhide is used for the drumhead and it sounds as loud as the nagado daiko does. Usually, it controls the tempo of the taiko ensemble by the high-pitch sounds. It is easier to maintain than byo-uchi daiko because each part can be disassembled. You just replace the broken parts with brand-new one by yourself (byo-uchi daiko needs to be repaired by artisan).

      See Taiko Center's Shime Daiko (Tsuke Shime Daiko)

      6. Shime Daiko

      Shime Daiko

      This shime daiko is often used for the folk performing arts, folk song, the Shinto festival, and the traditional performing arts like noh and kabuki. It's often hung from the stand called teren dai. The drumhead is not as thick as the tsuke shime daiko's. It is tensioned with two ropes: one is used to tension heads and body by putting it through the holes and another is used to wind the rope and add more tension. The sound is more lower & muffled sounds than tsuke shime daiko.

      See Taiko Center's Shime Daiko

      7. Katsugi Oke Daiko

      Katsugi Oke Daiko

      Katsugi oke daiko is a kind of okedo daiko and popular among taiko players. It is made of the light material and the player play it by hanging from his/her shoulder. Due to the lightness, the player can move around while playing it. Because it's not made of the hard material, it shouldn't be played like okedo daiko and nagado daiko. It can be tuned by tensioning and loosening the rope. The sound produced is soft and bouncing, and hears PON. Unlike playing the okedo daiko, playing the katsugi oke daiko is close to playing the shime daiko. So, it can be played in quick tempo, too.

      See Taiko Center's Katsugi Oke Daiko

      8. Okedo Daiko

      Okedo Daiko

      Oke means a tub made of wooden staves in Japanese. The body of the okedo daiko is crafted by the same technique of oke making. The birth place of the okedo daiko is Tohoku region, Northeast Japan. There were a lot of oke craftsmen and the culture of oke has been well established. In the festivals of Tohoku region, the okedo daiko is often used. It can be tuned by tensioning and loosening the rope. Unlike katsugi oke daiko, it is set on the stand and played like nagado daiko. The sound produced is harder than katsugi oke daiko.

      See Taiko Canter's Okedo Daiko

      9. Ojime Daiko

      Ojime Daiko

      Big okedo daiko is called ojime daiko. It is as big as the odaiko but not so heavy. It produces powerful sounds and strong vibration.

      See Taiko Center's Ojime Daiko

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