Taikokan Drum Museum is a traditional drum museum in Asakusa that first opened in 1988, and is the world’s first museum dedicated to the subject of drums. In Japan, drums are used in religious ceremonies, feature heavily in festivals, and are also employed in traditional theater such as Noh or Kabuki drama. Drums are therefore integral to many aspects of Japanese culture.
Taikokan Drum Museum has a huge collection of around 800 drums which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and which have been gathered from all corners of the globe. Starting with Japanese drums, called taiko, there are also traditional drums from other parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. The collection is so big, that because of limited space in the museum’s one-room display area, the drums that are exhibited undergo regular rotation, with around 200 on display at any one time.
The fun part of this museum, which particularly appeals to children, is that most of the exhibits can be played. Drums that you can play are identified with a card marked with a musical note: “♪”, and if you are unsure how to play one, staff will be happy to show you. Other percussion instruments from around the world are also on display, so visitors can enjoy playing pretty much anything that chimes, bongs, gongs, or plinks. The museum also has audio recordings of traditional drum performances from all around the world and thousands of books and reference materials.
Taikokan Drum Museum is located on the 4th floor of a shop which sells musical instruments and festival equipment. Both the shop and museum are part of the Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten company, which has a long history of its own. The company was founded as a taiko drum manufacturer back in 1861, and today it makes and sells a variety of traditional instruments and festival equipment. It also makes and repairs the mikoshi, or portable shrines, that are a major feature of traditional festival parades such as Askusa’s Sanja Matsuri. Visitors can certainly find some unique and interesting souvenirs in the museum’s 1st floor shop.
On entering the museum you can pick up an informative English language brochure, and there is also some English language display information providing notes on each drum’s country of origin with a simple description. English speaking staff are also on hand to offer information about the exhibits.
The Taikokan Drum Museum is located on the 4th floor of the Nishiasakusa store of Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten. There is an elevator at the back of the store which goes directly to the museum’s floor.
The Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten store is located on the west side of Kokusai-dori Avenue and is a 3 minute walk south from the A2 Exit of TX Asakusa Station on the Tsukuba Express Line, or a 2 minute walk north from Exit 3 of Tawaramachi Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. From Toei Asakusa Station on the Asakusa Line it is a 6 minute walk from Exit A4. And from the Main Exit of Tobu Asakusa Station on the Tobu Skytree Line, it is an 8 minute walk. Here is a map of the location.
Opening Hours: 10.00 – 17.00 Wednesday to Sunday
Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays (but open on Mondays if it falls on a national holiday).
Adults: 500 yen
Children: 150 yen
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.