#4 - Kodo Drumming
WHAT IS IT?
The Kodo Drummers are the world’s leading exponents of taiko drumming. Wannabe professionals undergo years of punishing training to master the skill – which is as much a martial art as it is a musical form. You, on the other hand, can pop in for a day to their Sado Island Taiko Centre and get a tour and even oneon-one drumming tuition from one of the professionals. There are some stunning views across the island from the balcony at the back of the centre (a good photo opportunity!). There’s also a small gift shop where you can buy official merchandise including T-Shirts, CDs, DVDs etc. Sado island lies off the coast of the main island Honshu and is part of Niigata Prefecture. You can fly to the island, but many people simply catch one of the regular ferries that shuttle between it and Niigata city on the mainland. Better still? Entry to the Sado Island Taiko Centre is absolutely FREE!
WHEN TO GO?
Around the end of April to beginning of May the weather should be good and it tends to be quieter meaning you avoid most of the Japanese package tours and, if you’re lucky, you can even get the entire place (and one-on-one tuition) to yourself as I had when I first went.
Sado Island Taiko Centre (Tatakokan): http://www.sadotaiken.jp/en