Miyako Taiko

Sakura Taiko Fest at sylvan theater

Sponsored by Chase, Produced by Miyako Taiko

The Sakura Taiko Fest has grown from a small concert first held in a dance studio to a full day of free, family-friendly taiko performances in downtown DC. Each year, we welcome a number of North American taiko groups and feature a variety of different taiko styles as a celebration of Japanese-American cultural and artistic traditions.

Miyako Taiko was founded in 2014 as a community group affiliated with the Mark H Rooney Taiko School. The group works together to strengthen its members’ practice of taiko, develop relationships within the taiko community, and broaden public knowledge of the art and traditions of taiko. They love to share their taiko and their energy at events in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Performing Groups


Founded by Mark H Rooney in 2019, the members of MHTX have well over 100 years of combined taiko experience in the U.S., Japan and Europe. Whether performing for store openings, casino shows or cultural events, MHTX seeks to engage and inspire audiences through a shared exploration of a contemporary taiko voice. The group combines traditional taiko rhythms and styles with modern performance and musical sensibilities to truly embody the spirit of “connection.

Oto-Wa Taiko

Oto-Wa Taiko has been bringing the dynamic sights and sounds of Japanese drumming (taiko) to public and private events and schools in Ottawa, Canada’s national capital, and its surrounding region since 1989. The name consists of two Japanese characters oto (sound) and wa (harmony). The character wa symbolizes the harmony of spirit among the players and with their taiko as they make joyous sounds together. Oto-Wa Taiko also conducts general interest taiko workshops and classes for anyone interested in experiencing taiko first-hand.

Casual Fifth

Casual Fifth is the part-time performance company of Alex Pfister and Mac Evans. Alex and Mac started practicing modern dance and taiko drumming in college, have continued studying and performing in New York City, and now reside in Philadelphia.

Casual Fifth is made up of friends, mentors, and mentees, all working to improve their skills and create new works.

Swarthmore Taiko Ensemble​​

Swarthmore Taiko Ensemble (STE) is comprised of students from Swarthmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr Colleges and is a repeatable, for-credit course in the Swarthmore College Dance Program directed by taiko artist and choreographer, Asst. Professor Joe Small. With attention to artistic rigor, STE studies and performs original and arranged works of contemporary and folk-based taiko drumming that underscore the fundamental artistic relationships between music and dance stemming from both Japan and its transnational diaspora. Swarthmore’s first taiko offerings occurred through 2000-2001 by Prof. of Dance Kim Arrow, leading to the creation of a student ensemble in 2002.

Nen Daiko​

Nen Daiko is the taiko ensemble of Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Fairfax Station, VA. Since 1994, Nen Daiko has been entertaining audiences throughout the Washington, DC, metropolitan area with a repertoire that includes traditional festival songs and more contemporary compositions. Our members are from diverse backgrounds and faiths, joined by our common respect for the art of taiko, the teachings of Buddhist taiko, and our joy and exuberance for the artistic expression of taiko. The group owes much gratitude to Ekoji’s founding minister Rev. Kenryu Tsuji who provided the name “Nen,” our sister groups Soh Daiko (NY) and Hoh Daiko (NJ) for their generous mentorship, and all the causes and conditions that have allowed us to practice and share the art of taiko for the past 29 years. In October 2017, members of Nen Daiko created Dounen Daiko for youth ages 12-17. Nen Daiko members run the youth group and love to see how Dounen members embrace and integrate the joy of taiko into their lives.

Pittsburgh Taiko

Pittsburgh Taiko is a community group dedicated to sharing the art and spirit of taiko with our city and with friends throughout the world.

We perform pieces in various regional Japanese styles, as well as original compositions. As part of the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, we also do outreach to local schools and other groups, teaching a bit of taiko history and how taiko are used in Japan.

We welcome everyone in our beginner classes, and many of our performers started learning taiko with us. We hope we can share our love of taiko with you!


What began with a gift in 1912 at the Tidal Basin is now a four-week extravaganza spanning Washington, DC, and neighboring communities in Maryland and Virginia. From exciting events to convenient hotels, delectable Cherry Picks restaurants, vibrant Art in Bloom installations, and a jaw-dropping City in Bloom to joyful Petal Porches, see the Washington, DC area as you can only see it once a year!

Explore the Festival's Roots

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