Wadaiko Artist Art Lee and Wadaiko Ensemble Tokara Image Collage TOP


TOKARA offers one of the most well-known and respected taiko residency programs in the world. Since being given the title of Master Wadaiko Artist by Grandmaster Daihachi Oguchi, Artistic Director Art Lee has gained an international reputation for offering a diverse range of community and school programs that give students a chance to explore the culture of Japan and the world of Taiko in Japan. Programs range from two to five hour workshops, weekend taiko retreats, weeklong intensive courses (outlined below) to two month residencies.

In addition to workshops and classes, a variety of residencies are available for all levels. To date, Wadaiko Artist Art Lee has visited more than ten countries to teach specialized residencies, including two month residencies as Visiting Artistic Director in both the United Kingdom and Australia. TOKARA also presents lecture- demonstrations for schools, lasting 45 minutes in which students are given a basic introduction to Japanese taiko and culture, as well as a chance to view a performance of wadaiko pieces from the groupís repertoire.

Click here to see Upcoming Workshops and Class Schedule


  • Short workshop - one to three hours.
  • One Day Workshop - four to six hours including breaks.
  • Weekend Workshops (Sat. and Sun.) - four to five hours per day including breaks.
  • Weeklong Intensives - four to five days.
  • Two-month Residency - various programs are available.

  • Hip-Up Taiko - Aerobic-style taiko workshop
  • Taiko Stairmaster - Extremely popular kumidaiko workshop
  • From All Sides - Learning the basics of Tachiuchi, Nanameuchi, and Yokomenuchi (Upright, Slant, and Horizontal playing).
  • Dento Yori - Traditional taiko styles and pieces
  • How to tighten and play the Shime Daiko
  • Odaiko - Style and Creativity
  • Miyake Daiko - Tokara-style and uchikomi

1 to 1.5 hour workshop

Wadaiko Artist Art Lee and Wadaiko Ensemble TOKARA introduces a new style of taiko/aerobic workshop from autumn 2009 called HIP-UP TAIKO.
"Hip Up" is a phrase used in Japan meaning to become physically fit. Hip-Up Taiko is a new style of workshop for both taiko practicioners and those who have no experience in taiko at all, and is designed to with the idea of playing very simple taiko rhythms mixed with a full aerobic body workout. Movements are dynamic upper and lower body movements based upon the unique TOKARA style of taiko. Rhythms are extremely simple and fun, allowing all participants to get a good full-body workout.

Two day workshop

Taiko Stairmaster is the ultimate taiko excercise
to make both left and right hands equal.

As many taiko drumming pieces emphasize the right hand over the left, many practicioners gradually find a large difference strength and control between the right and left hands. With this in mind, Art Lee created the Taiko Stairmaster in 2004 with seven levels of difficulty. The Taiko Stairmaster workshop has become one of the most sought after taiko workshops among intermediate to professional taiko players as well as percussionists of many styles. Intermediate to professional levels are recommended, although beginners are welcome to take the challenge.

3 hour to two day workshop

To fully understand what taiko is,
it is necessary to study the history and traditions.

This is one of the guiding principles upon which Wadaiko Ensemble TOKARA is founded. Each member must learn and master many traditional pieces before being allowed to perform the original pieces. Dento Yori Taiko Workshops brings taiko practioners into the fascinating and abundant world that is traditional wadaiko. Participants will study the history, theory and playing styles of one or many traditional taiko pieces, depending upon the length of the workshop.


Beginners Course - JAPAN
This course is designed for the purpose of bringing the taiko practitioner closer to understanding the art that is Wadaiko in Japan. For this reason, the training site, nestled between the mountains of Shimoina, was specifically chosen to enhance an experience and atmosphere which cannot be had in any other country of the world. This course offers a unique experience as it takes place in the heart of Japan - Nagano Prefecture. It is here that taiko, as a performing art, was created. Each participant will be surrounded by and immersed in the culture from which comes the heart and spirit of the Wadaiko.
Details and application can be found on the course website:

Intermediate/Advanced Course - JAPAN
The TOKARA Wadaiko Camp (also known as TOKARA Boot Camp) in Japan takes place during the most lively time of year in Japan; Obon Festival Season. This course will allow the taiko practicioner to fully immerse themselves in the world of taiko in Japan; from intensive training during the day to enjoying the rural life of Japan through festival performances every evening. On the weekend, participants travel to Tokyo to see the Tokyo International Wadaiko Contest - a grouping of some of the up-and-coming taiko groups from all over Japan. Then the Taiko Kenbunroku - the All-Star Concert featuring Honoo Daiko, Imafuku Yuu, Yoshikazu Fujimoto of Kodo, and other specially chosen guest performers. This is an opportunity for participants to experience what it is like to live in Japan as a taiko player, and to train in and see firsthand the vast abundance of taiko styles that abode in Japan.
Details and application can be found on the course website:

Intermediate/Advanced Course - WORLD
This course is for teachers who already do or are planning to teach taiko classes and workshops, as well as for teaching assistants within a group. Theory and demonstration will accompany drills and playing technique. Participants will also have a chance to view teaching principles in action. During the morning sessions, participants will be taught movement and technique in various taiko performance styles. Afternoon sessions will include details/drills/information for teaching successful workshops and classes and group interactive sessions.
Details and application can be found on the course website:

All workshops are available for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
For certain workshops, material able to be covered depends upon available drums.

If you would like to book any of the above workshops, or you have a specific request for a workshop other than those listed above, please contact the Wadaiko TOKARA Japan Office.

Wadaiko TOKARA Office
831-1 Kega, Iida City, Nagano Prefecture Japan  TEL: (81)265-59-8768   Email: info@tokara.net