Traditional Instrument Tour

Experience traditional Japanese music
by learning to play the “koto”!

We hold Koto workshops for our guests living in Japan or visiting Japan. We hope that they can contact Japanese culture through the instruments and become more fond of Japan.

Hear Japanese traditional instruments “Koto” and “Shamisen” or “Shakuhachi” during a live ensemble.

During this specially curated experience, you will take a short lesson of how to play the Koto. By the end, you and the ensemble will play the famous “Sakura song” together! ♪

What is the “Koto”?

Koto is a string instrument that was introduced from China during the Nara period (710-784). It is long bodied (measuring 180cm) with 13 strings. You play it wearing picks on three fingers of right hand. Koto has been played as a part of Gagaku (Shinto religious music and also ancient imperial court music and dance) orchestra since the Heian period (794 -1185).

Soukyoku, which is a tune mainly played by Koto sometimes with vocals and other instruments, is believed to have been born as an accompaniment of singing, since Koto was used for temple art during the Middle Ages (post Heian period).

During the Edo period (1603-1868), a blind musician named Yatsuhashi Kengyo composed a modern Soukyoku which was the seed of present-day Koto music. Soukyoku is also an origin of Shamisen song “Jiuta” which then was succeed to the followers by another blind musician.

Currently there are two major Ryuha (Schools), which are Ikuta Ryu created by Ikuta Kengyo (1656-1715) and Yamada Ryu which originated from Yamada Kengyo (1757-1817). We belong to and teach the Ikuta Ryu school.

Tour Details

Duration: 90 – 120 minutes

Location : Traditional teahouse in a beautiful Japanese garden , Buddhist temple, Koto & Shamisen Museum, or Noh Theatre.

Meeting Place: You’ll be met by an English speaking guide at your hotel or requested location and transferred by private car.

Why not try experiencing the best of Japanese culture together with us?