'Taiko Japan'

Fukui, Japan

April 06 - April 24, 2020



Nicole was married last year and is having a baby in May. 
Congratulations and thank you Nicole for all your great work ! 

Chiara Parisi from Italy will continue with Taiko Japan 
And lead the drumming courses in Fukui going forward

As soon as the way is clear, we will announce future Course dates
Thank you for keeping in touch - Espirita

April 06 - April 24, 2020

Japanese 'Taiko' Drumming Courses

Taiko Master - Masaaki Kurumaya
Nicole Weepers - Chiara Parisi

Facebook Introductory Course
Mon April 06 - Fri April 10, 2020
Intermediate Course
 Mon April 13 - Fri April 17, 2020
Advanced Course
Mon April 20 - Fri April 24, 2020

Early Booking Discount - end November 
There is a ¥3,500 discount for Course reservations made by the end of November

Under the guidance of Kurumaya-Sensei and in a wooded valley outside Fukui, a custom built Taiko Centre ( Dojo ) was founded in September 2001. Fully equipped with a complete range of Taiko Drums, and capable of taking classes up to 20 people, it is a superb facility.

In this secluded, and dedicated setting, the Fukui Dojo is designed to deepen the technical and spiritual understanding of the form and to connect with the Japanese essence of Taiko Drumming.

Fukui Dojo

The Courses progress from basic training in posture, technique, rhythm, through awareness of various Taiko drum techniques, towards the learning and performance of more complex Taiko compositions. The drumming technique is based on the traditional and unique ‘Hokkuriko’ style of Taiko, fused with other Taiko styles and world music influences. The Fukui style of drumming is recognised as one of the originating forms of Japanese Taiko music. 

During the courses, emphasis will be placed on mental and physical focus and discipline, on developing a pure creative space within oneself and on integrating the deeply respectful ways of Japanese Taiko.

Kurumaya Sensei - will be working as previously with Nicole Weepers in the first two weeks.
In the proposed Advanced Course in the third week, Sensei will be working closely with the group with Chiara Parisi, an experienced Taiko player with good Japanese, as assistant and translator.

Advanced Course 2020 - Kurumaya Sensei invites top level Taiko performers to join this week, 
To immerse themselves in the original Fukui mitsu-uchi semi-spontaneous style of playing -
to create, and bring to a high performance level, a shorter and a longer piece of Taiko music 


Monday April 06 - Friday April 10 2020 Orientation - Sun April 05, 19.00
5 days - ¥65,000 Yen + £25 pounds deposit
(At forex rates 4 wks before Course)

Designed as an introduction to local drumming techniques, especially for beginners to Taiko drumming, but also advisable for any newcomers to the Fukui Dojo.

Beginners - need to display a basic aptitude for Taiko drumming, and be reasonably fit. Drummers and musicians, dancers and active sports players, should have the necessary co-ordination, level of fitness and sense of rhythm and timing to progress in the art form.

Experienced Taiko Players - generally require 2-3 days technical transfer for learning new rhythms and modifying playing positions, and are encouraged to start with the Introductory Course.

Professional and semi-professional Taiko players, familiar with different Taiko styles, may apply for direct entry into the intermediate course.


Monday April 13 - Friday April 17 2020 Orientation - Sun April 12, 19.00
5 days - ¥65,000 Yen + £25 pounds deposit
(At forex rates 4 wks before Course)

For all those who have completed previous courses at Fukui, and as a continuation course for those completing the introductory course, April 06 - April 10, 2020.

Professional and semi-professional Taiko players, familiar with different Taiko styles, may apply for direct entry into the intermediate course. 


Monday April 20 - Friday April 24 2020 Orientation - Sun April 19, 19.00
5 days - ¥65,000 Yen + £25 pounds deposit
(At forex rates 4 wks before Course)

All those who have completed previous Intermediate courses at Fukui may apply. 
Subject to references, professional and semi-professional Taiko players familiar with different Taiko styles, may apply for direct entry into the Intermediate Course, then onto the Advanced Course. 
Advanced Course applications require approval from the Taiko Dojo

Masaaki Kurumaya
Masaaki Kurumaya

- the Japanese concept of 'Ki' (Life Force) is central to Kurumaya-sensei's Taiko style and forms the basis of his passionate, dynamic and intuitive technique.

Playing and performing Taiko since 1969, Kurumaya-Sensei has performed throughout Japan with Hibiki Daiko, and was the guiding force of the British based Taiko group, Mugenkyo, performing at 300 concerts throughout Europe in 1998/99 with them, culminating in a Japan Festival Award in London in 1999. He is an experienced tutor of Taiko with schoolchildren, students and adults and with foreign residents in Japan. 

Nicole Weepers
Masaaki Kurumaya
Nicole Weepers -together with Katie Daly, Nicole Weepers leads the Japanese drumming group 'Matsuri Taiko', formed in 2003 at The University of Adelaide, South Australia and originally composed of percussionists studying at The Elder Conservatorium of Music. Matsuri Taiko travelled to Japan in 2007 and 2008 to study with their Sensei, renowned Taiko Master Masaaki Kurumaya, and brought back with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. As well as a highly accomplished performance group, Matsuri Taiko offer workshops for schools and businesses, introductory sessions and ongoing classes.
Liz Walters - Taiko Drums

Course Information

The natural position of the Dojo, about a half an hour outside Fukui, means that transfer to and from the Dojo will be by local train at ¥640 return per day. The only mid-morning train leaves Fukui at 9.00am - the next one at 13.00 is too late - so course members are lodged within easy reach of the station, to gather for breakfast by 7.45am, set off for the station at 8.30am and take the 9.00am train. Upon arrival at 9.30am, it is then a beautiful 12 minute walk through the woods by a river (see photo right). The fresh air and the gentle exercise, even if it's raining, are an ideal preparation for the physical exertions of the day ahead

Five hours drumming per day is about optimum - the day's session lasting from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm, breaking for lunch at a nearby restaurant.

The social aspect of the Dojo enables course participants and local Taiko players to meet informally at session breaks.

Please note - Kurumaya-Sensei retains all rights to his compositions learned at the Dojo

Travel Information

Flights - unless travelling to other parts of Japan before or after the course, all International flights should arrive at the nearest major airport at Osaka Kansai. As all Espirita itineraries are available internationally, we do not quote international flights. We can advise on best flights and routings, and can generate flight proposals which clients are responsible for confirming by credit card. 

Flight Prices - there is increasing pressure on flight prices at the peak times of April and November, especially as the date of travel gets closer. Ideally, prospective clients for April Courses should book their flights by early September. If booked 7- 8 months in advance, flight prices to Japan can be quite reasonable, with economy fares to Osaka of £550-700 on Lufthansa - KLM - Air France - $800-900 from West Coast USA. From 6-7 months before Tour, flight prices can start increasing into the £700-£850 range. China Southern, China Eastern, Air China, Korean Air, Asiana & Cathay Pacific are well worth considering and may have more convenient flight times.

Transfer - (Yen 14,600-17.700 - Kansai Airport / Fukui return). From the train station next to the International Arrivals Terminal at Osaka Airport, it is one and a half hours to Kyoto station. Changing to an adjacent platform, trains depart regularly for Fukui - one and a half hours north east of Kyoto. For cheaper less convenient routings, change at Osaka or Shin-Osaka stations.
See all Japan train schedules at : www.hyperdia.com

Komatsu Airport - ( Bus to Komatsu Train Station - 10 mins / Train to Fukui - 30 mins )
If arriving at Osaka Kansai Airport, the nearest major airport, then the train connections as stated above apply. However, if one arrives at Tokyo Haneda or Fukuoka Airport, there are 4 flights a day on ANA from both to Komatsu Airport. So depending on inernational flight selections and internal flight connections, Komatsu airport might come into play for international flights arriving into Tokyo Haneda or into Fukuoka. There are a very limited number of international flights going to Komatsu - from Seoul on Korean Air, from Shanghai on China Eastern and from Taipei on EVA Air.


Return Train Transfer Costs to Fukui :
Komatsu - Y3,000 - 1 hr
Osaka Kansai - Y17,000 - 3 hrs
Tokyo Haneda - Y30,800 - 4 hrs
Fukuoka - Y36,800 - 5hrs 20 mins

If the ANA domestic flights to Komatsu are not too expensive or inconvenient, there would be a saving if a flight into Tokyo Haneda was cheaper by more than Y12,200 / £75 / $100 than a flight into Osaka Kansai. Or if a flight into Fukuoka was cheaper by more than Y19,800/ £120 / $175 than a flight into Osaka Kansai. ( approx.) 


Accommodation - reasonable value in Japan, will be based at a conveniently located standard hotel (room and ensuite bathroom) at about Y4,000 - Y5,000 per night. Traditional Japanese style accommodation, without private bathrooms, is available at a related ryokan - Y5.000 / nt. 
Typical international standard accommodation is also available at Y2,000-Y4,000 extra per night. Please make contact if of interest. 

Japan Rail Pass - those wishing to travel elsewhere in Japan should consider obtaining a Japan Rail Pass purchasable only from official Japan Tourist Offices, only outside Japan. Eg : if someone travels from Tokyo on the Sunday before Course and returns to Tokyo the Saturday after Course, plus the the local train to the Dojo each day, there would be a saving of approx.Y3,000-Y4,000.
Please check prices and schedules at the all Japan rail planner : www.hyperdia.com


Fukui  - Cherry blossom season coincides with the course dates, and Fukui has a famous riverside blossom walk. Weekends are free to explore the Fukui part of Japan with numerous places of historical and cultural interest in the area - the nearby charming Daianzenji Remple, open for Zen meditation every other Friday evening and the awe inspiring valley and forest Zen temple and seminary of Eiheiji. Visiting one of Japan's most famous gardens at Kenroku-en in historical Kanazawa (1 hour by train) is a very pleasant day trip. Kyoto is also easily accessible.



Two films on Japanese Culture, one at Cherry Blossom time, the other in the Autumn.
For general viewing, for viewing whilst in Japan………

Shishu - Intuition and Feeling In The Japanese Garden - 53 mins

Streaming - Free

Sen Shin An - the other world of Tea - 67 mins

Streaming - Free

Espirita - Forest Donation Policy