Experience a Japanese musical instrument! Relax and enjoy playing the Japanese zither, koto!
In some traditional Japanese ceremonies, you can still hear the Japanese zither, koto, being played. The unique, graceful way the koto-player plucks the strings is truly moving, and in a way, one will undoubtedly feel envious of the great skill it takes to play the instrument. So I ask you: would you like to try your hand at this ancient craft?
In Kyoto, you can find a course taught completely in English, conveniently located close to Nijo Castle, held in a century-old traditional Kyoto-style machiya townhouse. You start by learning the basics of playing koto, but don’t worry – the teacher is both friendly and patient. In the end, you also get to perform together with the teacher. This short 80-minute course is bound to make you even more enthralled with Japanese culture. If you have already tasted the world-famous Kyoto-cuisine and seen the temples this ancient city has to offer, consider learning how to play Japanese zither, koto, as the next step on your cultural journey to Kyoto. We absolutely have to recommend this experience – I’m sure it will make your trip to Kyoto unforgettable!
Japanese zither, koto
The Japanese zither, koto, is said to resemble one of Kyoto’s most famous sweets, yatsuhashi. It has 13 strings. The player wears three nail clips on his or her right hand and plucks the strings to produce a sound. Pressing or depressing the strings with your left-hand raises or lowers the pitch. Advanced players can simultaneously play with both their hands.
Professional instructors offer personal lessons
The lessons are taught by professional instructors. Even if you don't know how to read music, the teachers will offer friendly explanations to reassure you. With enough practice time, you can experience the elegant charm of the Japanese zither.
Zither practice tune
Under the teacher's careful guidance, I have finally completed the current practice tune "Sakura" (Cherry Blossoms). When I completed playing this song, I was deeply moved by the way this Japanese music class is run! The elegance of the Japanese zither is indeed charming!
Listen to the professional instructor's performance
In the end, you can hear your teacher play a more advanced version of "Sakura" live. Looking at the teacher's hand constantly plucking the strings, swaying the tune and listening to the saturating sounds of the zither, it was just like a small concert. As the audience, we were completely intoxicated by the music.