The Japan Alps and the North Chubu Coast Feature
- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Japanese Phrases
Heartbeat of Sado Island
A hawk flies overhead as the sky deepens to the indigo of the kimonos the two women are wearing. With an elegant flick, the batchi resounds against the stretched hide of the taiko drum and a rhythm begins. Soon all the members of Kodo bound onto the outdoor stage with their vibrant and distinctive blend of ensemble taiko, percussion, flute, song, and dance. The annual three-day Earth Celebration, held in August, kicks off.
On the second and third evenings Kodo are joined by artists they meet on tour, ranging from African and Asian drummers to a Romanian brass band, Fanfare Cio Carlia, and Carlos Nuñez, the Galician bagpipe revivalist. On-stage collaborations offer surprises; cleated geta (Japanese clogs) were custom-made for New York tap star Tamango to dance with.
Kodo (which can mean heartbeat, child, or drum) was started in the 1960s to revive Japanese folk music. About 20 core members live communally on Sado Island with their families, growing rice and vegetables organically. To play the largest odaiko, an 800-pound, double-headed drum, takes immense stamina; and all members train intensively.
Not only is this an opportunity to catch Kodo on their home turf, but there are fringe events, workshops, a flea market, local festivals, and a pier-side send-off when the ferry leaves. Tickets and accommodation should be booked well in advance through their Web site, www.kodo.or.jp.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe