Pioneering Japanese drumming troupe Drum Tao (stylized as DRUM TAO) are known for their fresh take on traditional Japanese taiko drums. The group, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2023, has held acclaimed performances in over 500 cities across the USA and Europe, with more being added to the list every year. Drum Tao takes their performances to new heights — both literally and figuratively — at Tao no Oka (Tao Nature Theatre), custom-built in the mountains of Aso-Kuju National Park. 

In Tune with Nature

Watching a taiko performance in Japan, the country of its origin, is a unique experience. To ensure audiences enjoy a next-level, awe-inspiring performance, the troupe constructed Tao no Oka among the rugged peaks of Oita Prefecture. At 1,036 meters above sea level, Tao no Oka offers visitors a chance to see taiko as never before. 

The theater is built into the mountain itself and the natural slope allows for optimal viewing from any seat. This “stage in the sky” creates a new experience with each performance, as it is exposed to the elements. The drummers match their rhythms with the changing weather surrounding them.

Stay for a Spell

The venue also boasts Tao House, which is an attraction in itself. An on-site café serves sumptuous dishes developed by Drum Tao members, while the bar caters to those who prefer their cocktails virgin, as well as those who enjoy their drinks with a little extra spice.

In addition to food and drink, visitors to Tao House are treated to a wealth of Drum Tao related experiences, including a movie showing past performances and exclusive clips, as well as a shop with official Drum Tao and Tao no Oka merchandise. For those who enjoy the memorable Tao regalia, there is a permanent exhibition featuring actual costumes worn by members. These are all designed by the formidable designer Junko Koshino and displayed alongside behind-the-scenes footage of Drum Tao tours. Elsewhere is Tao Hall, a space with 12 monitors showing different Tao-related clips — almost like a moving picture exhibition. Visitors can even glimpse the sky stage from the hall’s windows.