Tsuma Kirishima Ryujin Taiko group practice every Thursday night from 8 -10pm at Tsuma Kirishima Shrine in Takazaki. They have a long history of working alongside foreigners in the community to provide them with the opportunity to take part in this exciting traditional Japanese activity! Although none of the members speak English they are super friendly and always willing to try! It’s a great opportunity for people looking to practice their Japanese.
The cost is free to start with and if you are looking to take up taiko as a hobby for the entire year it’s just 500yen per month for the upkeep of the drums. You will have the opportunity to play at a variety of festivals and events!
If you’re interested in the group please get in touch with Jo Gwinnett (4th year JET in the ‘Jo) as to how to attend and who to contact.
Nahoko Torralba teaches a Salsa class on alternating Tuesday and Thursday nights at Miyakonojo’s MJ Hall. The group are very friendly and sociable and love to have foreigners in the group, even if they are beginners! They perform at a number of events throughout the year, including Miyakonojo’s cultural festival. The group also hosts fairly regular Salsa nights at Old Earth Bar in Miyakonojo! These are excellent opportunities to meet the group and see if salsa is something that you would be interested in. It’s also just a fab night out! There are a couple of JETs already attending the group so you won’t be on your own! Find El País De La Salsa on facebook!
Rehearsals are from 8-10pm and cost 500yen per session. The first lesson is free!
There are 2 well known modern dance studios in the city; Dance Studio Real and Element Dance Studio. These two studios offer hip hop, punk and breakdance but are a slightly more serious commitment (not casual classes). The classes are a little pricey (around 5,000yen for a month of classes) but the standard of teaching is excellent! Both groups cater to all levels with beginners to advanced classes and both studios regularly perform in and around Miyakonojo. Check them out at the upcoming Bonchi Matsuri if you get the chance!
For a more traditional dance style, there is the long running Cosmic Ballet Studio near Nishi-Miyakonojo Station. The studio offers four different levels of ballet; Children, Juniors, Teens and Adults. All classes are taught by Maruno-Sensei and are casual classes, meaning regular attendance is not mandatory. The first few classes are free but after that it’s only 10,000yen for 10 classes, quite cheap in the dance world. The studio has had experience teaching English-speakers and many adult and teen students are able to speak some English. Come check out the classes, no leotards needed!
College Pia (website)
The College Pia group offers a number of activities for single people living in Miyakonojo. Activities such as cooking classes, English classes, Yoga, football, calligraphy, flower arrangement etc…There is a fee to join the group (3,000 yen) and then a 6monthly charge for whichever activity you wish to attend. The group often holds larger social events so that people can have the chance to meet each other and hang out.
Miyakonojo Citizens Symphonic Band (website)
For the more musically inclined, Miyakonojo does have it’s very own Symphonic Orchestra that features all instruments except strings (sorry violinists and guitarists). The band rehearse twice a week on Mondays and Fridays, 7:30pm to 10:00pm at Hayamizu Culture Centre and perform regularly all over Miyazaki Prefecture. Monthly membership is ¥2000 and attendance isn’t extremely strict so long as independent practice is met. The required level starts from intermediate and even though the rehearsals are conducted in Japanese (pun intended), the band’s foreign musicians say it’s easy to follow.