Sunday, March 22, 2009

Taiko Center Kyoto

I just got back to Wakayama from Kyoto for the weekend and thought I'd post a quick note.

I've been to Kyoto many times, but I've yet to make my way to Taiko Center Kyoto. When I was in the US, I frequented their English website for things like tabi, ideas for making happi, et cetera. While the international shipping prices are outrageous and sometimes equal to the cost of what you're buying, I suppose most of you out there don't have easy access to tabi, instructional videos, or mute pads (though I've heard these only help minimally).

Are you looking to purchase something but don't know where to find it? Let me know in the comment section and I'll tell you what I know!



  1. Hope you had a good trip. Kyoto sounds like a fun place to visit.

    I know what you mean about international shipping prices...

    In the States, it is hard to come by these items. There are only a couple of places to purchase from.
    One thing I need most right now are reasonably priced nagado tacks. I've been working towards making my own. It's hard to justify buying tacks that cost three times more than my shell and skins combined.

  2. I've been visiting your site for a couple of months; what a great resource! I'm a music novice taking a very basic taiko class in Kanagawa Prefecture. My lack of Japanese language skills and musical ability are limiting but I'm enjoying taiko nonetheless.

    You mentioned the Taiko Center in Kyoto. I just visited the their branch in Tokyo and ordered a couple of nagado taikos & a shime taiko to take home to the States when my stay in Japan comes to an end. Someone on your page asked about buying nagado tacks - that didn't occur to me. Are there any other supplies and goodies I should consider buying before I leave Japan?

    Here's something I told my Japanese taiko friends about that you might like to share with your friends as well. Have you ever seen the American movie "Drumline"? Well, there is a stage production called "Drumline LIVE" that debuts in Japan in April 2009. I think it will be impressive and an interesting contrast to Japanese drumming. Check out ( ). Hopefully the show will come to your part of Japan.

  3. Mezozen: I'm not very well experienced in buying byou (tacks) in the US, but Perfect Harmony Taiko Store is a great resource for those out there making their own drums. They sell byou here

    Their prices seem quite reasonable, but they only sell in large quantities. How do they compare to others you've found?

  4. Hi there Anonymous in Kanazawa! Thanks for visiting--it's much appreciated.

    Since your drums are newly purchased they should last you quite a while before you need to replace any parts (i.e., have the heads replaced or need new tacks). I believe that Mezozen is making her own wine barrel drums, which means it's necessary to purchase all the parts individually.

    The main things taiko players find they need in the US that are difficult to access (apart from drum parts) are things like tabi (split-toed shoe socks), bachi, or other percussion instruments like chan chiki (a.k.a. atarigane). It sounds like maybe a pair or two of bachi would be useful for you.

    What part of the US are you moving to? Perhaps I can give you some information on groups in that area if you don't have it already.

    Thanks for the info on Drumline--I loved that movie! Unfortunately, it looks like it will only be in the Tokyo area while in Japan, but I'll keep my eye out for it in the future.

  5. Whoops! Mezozen, I also forgot to mention Rolling Thunder. Have you checked them already?

  6. Thanks for the response Carrie.

    I've already checked the two places you mentioned for buying byou. As far as I know, that's about it for purchasing in the States. There might be one more, but I can't seem to remember right now. Prices are comparable between each, but who knows what shipping will be.

    I currently have six nagado in my assembly line. Each in various stages of construction. I will likely add four more before the summers end. Whether I get all ten done by summers end ... we'll see.
    In any case, buying byou for ten makes me cringe just a little bit.

    And to 'Anonymous in Kanazawa',
    Carrie is right about drum maintenance. Unless you play your drums a lot, like in a professional touring group, you shouldn't have to worry too much about replacing heads anytime soon.

    Some people who play for hobby can go many years without any problems. Just remember to periodically alternate playing on each side of the drum, don't consistently play in one spot (like the center)and try not to make hits that slide on the head in a constant manner. Also play your rim hits(ka ra)lightly or use a softer wood bachi.

    On storage, keep out of high moisture areas and direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.

    I'm no expert, so if I'm wrong on any of this, I'll let Carrie correct me. ;-)

  7. Carrie--where in the states can I get a taiko instructional video?

    Thanks in advance.


  8. Hi Pam. There are, as you probably know, very few resources. The main reason I started this blog is because I remember trying to find resources online when I first started playing and there was basically a void.

    I have two things to share with you.

    First, according to a previous Taiko Resource newsletter from Rolling Thunder ( launced a Rolling Thunder video series. Initially, they took two DVDs from Taiko Center called "Introduction to Taiko" and "Matsuri Shu: Festival of the Year's End Night" and added English subtitles to them. They were selling these at some point, but I couldn't find any dates on the website. I contacted them directly to ask if they are still for sale, but have not received a response as of yet. If I do hear back from them, I will post the information here.

    Secondly, I know you said you'd like to purchase in the US, but because resources are limited, here's something else to try. Jonathan Kirby, the artistic director and teacher of Kagemusha in the UK has published a series of 4 instructional DVDs plus a 220-pg taiko manual.

    Since I think others might want information on this, check out an upcoming post called "Taiko Teaching Materials". Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Pam, this is from Yuko at Rolling Thunder regarding my inquiry mentioned above:

    "Both mentioned video tapes have been out of copy. We can get "Wadaiko-Complete" DVD (currently $51.99), which is in Japanese but with English subtitles, and has more information than the "Intro to Taiko" video."

    I checked the video out on the Taiko Center Kyoto website and it seems they have a special on this DVD for 4000 yen at the moment. If you're going to Taiko Conference in LA, you can pre-order (if before July) and pick up at the conference to eliminate the shipping charges. This is cheaper than ordering through Rolling Thunder.