VIDEO: Drum Tao brings the beats in the celestial heights of Oita

VIDEO: Drum Tao brings the beats in the celestial heights of Oita

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

High on a hill inside Oita Prefecture’s Aso Kuju National Park, the rumbling of wadaiko drums draw in visitors seeking a unique and lively Japanese experience.

Tao no Oka, is the home of Drum Tao, a group of world-renowned taiko drummers, known for their stunning performances, amazing costumes, and pitch-perfect percussion.

Drum Tao was created in 1993 with the aim to bring Japan’s wadaiko drumming to the world. Since then, the group has grown to 40 members split into three sub-groups, which perform at 150 concerts globally each year.

According to Maki Morifuji, a spokesperson for Drum Tao, the group has performed in for over 9 million people in over 26 countries since 1993. What makes Drum Tao popular is the performers melding traditional wadaiko drums with modern elements and sounds. It’s this old-meets-new fusion that has led to the international success of the group, Morifujii added.

In 2020, Tao no Oka opened, an 80-minute drive from Oita City, as a performance complex complete with an outdoor theater, café, shop and museum.

Inside the museum space, I was able to appreciate the elaborate costumes Drum Tao wears, which are designed by Junko Koshino, a famous Japanese designer. I was also able to enjoy a performance by the group at the Nature Theater, an open-air theater overlooking the Oita Mountains.

The drummers’ rumbling and the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape created an almost sacred experience. It was an enjoyable performance, and I could see why Drum Tao has garnered so many fans worldwide.

A visit to Oita truly isn’t complete without Drum Tao’s impeccable beats.

“Tao no Oka” Drum Tao Nature Theater

Location: 7571-2 Shiratanji Itaki, Kujumachi, Taketa City, Oita Prefecture

Live Stage Schedule: Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon and holidays, 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Admission (Tao House): Age 13 and older, 500 yen ($3.50), ages 4-12, 300 yen

Tickets (Nature Theater): Age 13 and older, 4,500 yen, ages 4 – 12, 2,500 yen


Tel: 0974-76-0950

*Only a 3-hour drive from Sasebo Naval Base.

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