Japanese Traditional Music: The Best Instrumental Songs

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for some great Japanese traditional music to listen to? Look no further than this list of the best instrumental songs from the Land of the Rising Sun!


Traditional Japanese music is known for its beautiful melodies and intricate rhythms. It is often used in traditional ceremonies and events, and has been popularized in recent years by many Japanese films and television shows.

There are a variety of traditional Japanese instruments that are used in this type of music, including the shamisen, koto, and taiko drums. These instruments create a unique sound that is unlike any other type of music.

If you are looking for some great Japanese traditional music to listen to, we have compiled a list of some of the best instrumental songs for you to enjoy.

The Best Traditional Japanese Music

Japanese music is incredibly diverse, from the traditional to the modern. This list features some of the best traditional Japanese songs, perfect for a calm and relaxing evening. These songs are instrumental, meaning they don’t have any lyrics, so you can focus on the beautiful music.


One of the most popular traditional Japanese songs is “Sakura.” The song is often associated with the cherry blossom season, and it is commonly used as a symbol of springtime in Japan. “Sakura” is also the title of a famous painting by Ito Shinsui, which depicts a young woman looking at cherry blossoms.

The music of “Sakura” is very simple and elegant, and it features the traditional Japanese instruments of the shamisen and the koto. The shamisen is a three-stringed instrument that is plucked with a large pick, and the koto is a 13-stringed zither that is played with thin picks. Both instruments have a very distinctive sound, and they are often used in traditional Japanese music.

“Sakura” is a very beautiful and peaceful song, and it is perfect for Relaxing or for background music.


“Hana” is a traditional Japanese music genre that dates back to the Heian period (794-1185). It is characterized by its soft, melodic sound and use of traditional instruments, such as the koto, shakuhachi, and shamisen. “Hana” is typically performed solo or in small ensembles, and often features vocal expressions of nature or emotions.

“Yumeji’s Theme”

“Yumeji’s Theme” is a popular traditional Japanese instrumental song. It was composed by Shigeru Umebayashi and originally appeared in the film “Yumeji”. The song has been covered by many different artists over the years, and has become a staple of traditional Japanese music.

“Aoi Sora”

Aoi Sora is a beautiful traditional Japanese instrumental song. The name Aoi Sora means “blue sky,” and the lyrics of the song are about longing for someone who is far away. This song is often played on the koto, a traditional Japanese musical instrument.


“Umi” is a beautiful traditional Japanese song that has been popular for centuries. The name of the song means “ocean” in Japanese, and it is said to represent the vastness and beauty of the ocean. The melody is very simple and elegant, and it is often played on the shakuhachi (Japanese flute) or the koto (Japanese zither).


In conclusion, the best Japanese traditional music are the ones that have been passed down from generation to generation, and have been influenced by the different cultures of Japan. These songs typically feature instruments such as the koto, shamisen, and taiko drums. If you’re looking for some great Japanese traditional music to listen to, be sure to check out some of the songs on this list!

Similar Posts