Best Shakuhachi in 2021 (TOP 7)

Besides food and travel destinations, Japan has also been famous for its music. Using shakuhachi to perform zen music is a unique feature that makes a lot of people love listening to Japanese songs.

If you are a beginner, you can find many kinds of shakuhachi on the market today. And it is hard to choose with ones to buy.

In this article, we have picked the 7 most popular Japanese flutes on Amazon including traditional to modern ones.

Additionally, we also provided a lot of information about this instrument as well as Japanese traditional music.

Let’s check them out!

The Top-Rated Shakuhachis (Recommendation)









What Is A Shakuhachi?

A lot of traditional Japanese music is written for the shakuhachi.

It is an end-blown flute that has been popular in Japan since the 8th century CE.

Following, the shakuhachi is simply the sound of historic Japan for many people.

The traditional best shakuhachi is made of bamboo root, although modern ones can also be made of hardwood.

It is played by blowing straight into the end, unlike other flutes, which produce a pitch by blowing over the top.

It is a flexible instrument that can play a wide range of notes.

However, it is tuned to a minor 5 notes scale that is popular in East Asian music.

“Shaku” is a traditional unit of measurement. An average shakuhachi is a little under two feet long.

The shakuhachi was widely played in Japan. It was especially connected to Zen Buddhism.

In particular, it was a favorite music gadget of the Buddhist monks.

From the 13th century, they decided to replace the traditional flute with shakuhachi.

This results in the blowing zen tradition after that.

It becomes an important side of meditation methods.

As a result, some of the most famous songs of zen music have been written to use with it. 

Who Created The Shakuhachi?

In the past, various cultural traditions from China and Korea have made their way to Japan island.

After that, they have been mixed with the Japanese unique culture.

The same thing happened with shakuhachi.

It is said that the first flute of this form came in Japan in the 6th century from China.

It was known as one of some Chinese musical instruments transferred to Japan at that time.

For a long time, this instrument was popular among Japanese musicians.

In China, though, the same flute had fallen out of favor of people. By the 10th century, shakuhachi was only found in Japan.

Shakuhachi has become a unique Japanese instrument since then.

The Chinese version has six holes, but the Japanese one has just five.

This gives a different sound.

People also changed it to play songs that were totally different from those in China.

Shakuhachi was actually a highlight of Japanese culture during the Middle Ages time.

This period is known for the growth of the government, powerful lords, and, of course, the samurai warriors.

The flute was developed into many versions, many of which can still be found until now.

And there are old tales of princes, musicians, monks, and also warriors playing it.

How To Make A Shakuhachi Japanese Flute?

It is very hard and requires a lot of skills to make a handmade bamboo best shakuhachi.

Nevertheless, with a PVC pipe, you can make an easier version to practice at home.

You need:

  • 21 ½ inches piece of 1” Sch40 PVC pipe
  • A coping saw
  • A drill
  • Axacto knife
  • Tape measure
  • Steel square
  • 100 and 220 sand paper
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Angle measuring device (optional)

Step 1:

Make two marks about 1 1/8″ wide and 9/16″ in as indicated by the red arrows and the black arrow.

Then draw an ellipse between them and use the saw to cut away the part.


 Step 2:

Place the part you just cut flat on 100 sandpaper, then sand it smooth with 220 sandpaper.

There will be some flashing after sanding.

Trim it with a xacto knife, but be careful not to blunt the edge in the process. 

This step is crucial because you want the edge you just created to be razor-sharp.

This is where it starts to sing. 

You can measure the angle at this stage, although it is not necessary. 
This one is at a 30-degree angle.


Step 3:

Draw a curved line at the bottom, cut it out.

Then sand it like the top half, but without the sharp edges.

The curvature is designed to comfortably suit the area below your bottom lip.

So the shape is not as significant as long as it is comfortable. 

You can try to generate music after you have removed the flashing and smoothed it using sandpaper. 

Don’t worry if it does not appear to function.

To make one of them sing, you will need to practice blowing into it. 


Step 4:

Draw a line down the center with your straight edge.

Then draw a line where your finger holes will be. 4 3/4″, 6 7/8″, 8 7/8″, 11 1/8″ from the bottom of the flute (the end opposite where you blow).


Step 5:

With the unibit, drill all four holes to a diameter of 1/2″, then clean the insides out with a xacto knife. 

Then, using 220 sandpaper, sand the outer edges of the holes to make them more comfortable for your fingertips.


Step 6:

Now, on the bottom, opposite the four holes on the top, drill one additional hole.

Measure 12 3/4 inches “from the flute’s end (the end opposite the blowing end).

Make a 1/2-inch mark and drill a hole in it.

 Clean with the knife and sand with 220 sandpaper.

You have completed the task. You can either paint it or leave it unpainted.

When it comes to removing the lettering from the pipe, it depends on the type of ink that was used, which varies.

Sometimes it comes off with solvents, and sometimes it doesn’t.


Step 7:

Play it! Cover all of the holes with your fingers first. 

Then, where your lower lip finishes (as shown by the red arrow), place the apex.

As if you were blowing on an empty bottle, pucker your lips, and blow in the same manner. 

Adjust the flute’s position to make it sing by moving it up and down slightly. 

Blow slowly and evenly at first until you get the hang of it. 


Otherwise, watch a quick tutorial on how to make a daily shakuhachi flute: 

Best Shakuhachis Shortlist (Updated List)

Product imagesProduct namesEditor's ratingPrice

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can be changed

Best Shakuhachi: Which One To Choose?


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Key features:

  • Length: 1.8 Japanese feet (about 23.6 inches)
  • 2 options: Key of C and Key of D
  • Material: Bamboo
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Includes a protection box

If you are looking for the best shakuhachi flute for new entry players, the JIM product is our top suggestion. This is a 1.8 shaku long traditional flute, which means that it is very suitable for beginners.

Moreover, it is a pentatonic (5 notes) end-blown flute with four finger holes in the front and one thumb hole in the back. The bamboo root stems at the end create a bell.

The mouthpiece is cut obliquely outward with a small piece of oxhorn inserted at the blowing edge.

Thus, this helps to create a variety of subtle tones, a special characteristic of shakuhachi music.

The flute is made of real bamboo wood.

Moreover, growth in the natural rough conditions of a bamboo forest with sunshine and rain gives it natural speckles.

Because each shakuhachi is handmade, this product may come a little bit different from the photo.

The manufacturer also provides a soft case to protect the flute be harmed from accidents.


  • Beautiful tone
  • Affordable price
  • Plays well through all notes
  • Responsive seller


  • Not found yet


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Key features:

  • Length: 1.8 Japanese feet (about 23.6 inches)
  • Material: Bamboo
  • Includes a thick fabric sleeve bag
  • Handmade

What we like about this flute is it is handmade.

The manufacturer also noted this feature in the product description.

Because each flute is handcrafted, thus it might arrive a little bit different from the illustration photos.

However, you should not worry.

The quality, material, and model are always the same.

We also like Sunix’s customer service.

This flute comes with a personal, handwritten letter from the seller and a beautiful fabric pouch.

Besides, a shakuhachi finger chart is included as well.

On the other hand, some users complained that their flute broke after just 1 or 2 months.


  • Has a protection plan
  • Standard bamboo flute for masters
  • Comes with a beautiful fabric sleeve
  • Well crafted


  • Easy to crack
  • Hard to play


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Key features:

  • Length: 1.8 Japanese feet (about 23.6 inches)
  • Material: Bamboo
  • Includes a thick fabric sleeve bag

 This is the perfect option for beginners which has all the basic features of a traditional Japanese flute.

Its sound is rich, mellow with a true tone. Similar to the previous product, the Mijimoto flute is also handcrafted.

Playing it will definitely give you a zen feeling.

It makes you feel connected to nature and get closer to Japanese culture.

One disadvantage of this product is its weight.

It seems heavier than other products, maybe this depends on the kind of bamboo used.


  • Best of the price
  • Has a protection plan
  • Ideal for both beginners and experts
  • Beautiful look
  • Perfect tone


  • A little bit heavy


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Key features:

  • Length: 2.5 Japanese feet (about 30 inches)
  • Material: Bamboo
  • Comes in keys of G and F
  • Brass joints in 3 locations

Maybe this flute is more suitable for people who play Chinese shakuhachi xiao.

It is made of natural black bamboo and air-dried for over 4 years.

Thus, the bamboo has a very clear and sweet tone.

In the contrast, this dryness makes it easier to crack, so you have to be careful when playing.

This handmade flute is very comfortable to hold and play.

You can choose between 2 options: Key G or Key F.

Most beginners will pick the Key G, however, it depends on your preference.

An advantage of this product is its brass joints in 3 different locations along the flute body.

This feature allows you to adjust for embouchure.

Thus, you can have to sound you want.

Moreover, Oriental Shakuhachi is an ideal product to use in recordings as well.


  • Good customer care
  • Sounds good
  • Made of natural black bamboo
  • Has brass joints, easy to adjust
  • Has a protection plan
  • Cheap price


  • Bad smell to sensitive people

The dryness makes it easy to crack


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Key features:

  • Length: 1.8 Japanese feet (about 23.6 inches)
  • Material: Bamboo
  • Includes a thick fabric sleeve bag
  • Handmade

 Dragon Jing product has been known as one of the best shakuhachi on Amazon.

Everybody loves it because each flute is handcrafted.

Thus, buyers feel like owning a personalized shakuhachi for themselves. The flute has a gloss coating, which makes it shiny and good-looking.

However, some people do not like this feature.

They said that it makes it very hard to play the instrument.

Professional musicians commented that it has a truly great tone.

Do not hesitate to get this one, it is worth the value and will not disappoint you!


  • Excellent sound guaranteed
  • Worth the value
  • Good handmade appearance
  • Solid
  • Good for beginners


  • Heavy
  • Hard to play at the beginning


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Key features:

  • Length: 1.7 Japanese feet (about 21 inches)
  • Material: Metal aluminum alloy
  • Tone: Key D

Are you a modern person but still want to play shakuhachi?

You do not like the bamboo material and sick of the wood smell?

Thus, this metal flute is the right one for you.

Made of metal aluminum alloy, its modern appearance is the most special thing.

The metal material makes it durable and long-lasting.

It is also tough so you do not have to think about the crack issue.

Whereas, one big problem is that it does not provide a very natural tone.

It comes with Key D tone, different from the traditional ones, which are mainly in Key G.

Additionally, it is heavier than the traditional ones.


  • Made from metal aluminum
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Modern feel


  • The sound is not natural
  • Heavy


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Key features:

  • Length: 1.8 Japanese feet (about 23.6 inches)
  • Material: Plastic
  • Good for entry-level

Plastic shakuhachi is ideal for players who first come into this kind of instrument.

Despite the price is even higher than the natural bamboo ones, the manufacturer said they have the same appearance and sound.

A big bonus of being made of plastic is it will not crack easily due to humidity changes.

Furthermore, you do not have to take too much care of it as wooden flutes.

Along with that, the manufacturer impressed us with its fast delivery speed.

The product arrives quicker than we expected, which makes us satisfied.


  • Surprisingly good tone
  • Quick delivery
  • Good for beginners


  • Not bring a very true feeling
  • Not suitable for professional players

Best Shakuhachi: 5 Tips On Choosing The Right Flute

It can be very confusing when buying your first flute.

There are so many different makes, models, and types available, and the variations in price can be hundreds of dollars.

Below, we have some top tips to help beginners on making the right purchase. 

1. Do some studies on the brands available:

There is a lot of information on the Internet from players and teachers, some good and poor brands.

If you already have a flute teacher, they should be able to give you some recommendations on what to buy.

2. Do not choose flutes that too cheap

This is an important factor to consider.

There are still many low-quality, inexpensive flutes on the market, and the maintenance costs can quickly outweigh the cost of a good branded one.

In our opinion, you should not choose these products.

Besides, cheap flutes are difficult to play.

It usually generates a bad tone, even for a skilled player.

We meet a lot of players who nearly give up because they believe they are not talented enough, while the problem is actually due to a poor-quality instrument.

We recommend spending between $100 to $200 on an entry-level flute.

Buying high-quality flutes can help you save money in the long run.

3. Do not buy anything that is not made for beginners

You should go with the ones that labeled as “beginning flutes”.

The best shakuhachi for beginners should be simple to play, lightweight, and resistant to bumps and bangs.

On the other hand, professional flutes, and other such instruments, are created for players who can already play the flute to some level.

They are heavier, have a richer tone, and provide more projection for expert players.

Thus, they are not simple to play. 

4. Choose the right size

Shakuhachi does not exist in too many different sizes.

However, curved headjoints are available.

This reduces the stretch by bringing the flute’s keys closer to the body.

Furthermore, the truth is that if you require a curved head joint, the cost will be higher.

However, complications that may arise if you do not obtain a curved head joint.

This may much outweigh the cost difference.

Overstretching can cause neck and back pain, and players can easily develop a bad posture.

It can take years to correct a bad posture that would not have occurred if the headjoint was curved.

5. Choose a reliable shakuhachi brand

Flutes can keep their value for a long time, unlike many other items in today’s society – automobiles, computers, phones, etc.

Many models have been there for a long time, so you do not have to worry about your flute being broken in the next six months.

A reliable brand with a warranty plan will ensure you get the best shakuhachi.

Best Shakuhachi: Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Much Does A Shakuhachi Cost?

Normally, a handmade Japanese flute can cost up to $300.

It does not very expensive in comparison to Western instruments such as a piano.

However, nowadays, you can buy cheaper ones on Amazon and many other sites.

We suggested some good products on the list above. 

 2. What Shakuhachi Should I Buy?

Choosing a length is generally depends on personal preferences.

Nevertheless, if you are looking for shakuhachi for beginners, you may need a 1.8 one.

Many people like the sound of longer instruments.

Thus, we suggest you choose the one which has its length down to 2.5 or shorter, to begin with.

3. What Are The Differences Between Japanese Traditional Music And Other Countries?

Japanese music is the art of blending vocal and instrumental sounds to praise a beauty or emotional expression. 

Japanese traditional music usually attempts to represent natural sounds and the sounds of life through instruments.

In addition, the pace and the appearance of regular chords is an interesting feature of this kind of music.

The rhythms are all ‘ma’-based. Moreover, silence is a key part of the songs.

4. Is Shakuhachi Difficult To Play?

Yes, it is. The embouchure is different from any other type of flute.

Therefore, it is far more difficult to master.

With the shakuhachi, you can bend notes by at least a whole tone (approximately a semitone down and up) based on your embouchure.

Thus, it is very easy to get out of tune.

5. Why Do The Flute Keys Have Holes On Them?

You can find the keys with holes on most intermediate to professional flutes.

The advantage of having holes in your keys is that you can partially cover them and play notes that are not in the scale’s typical range.

Players can also use the holes to move from one note to another.

This is especially useful for modern music that employs advanced methods.


Advice for beginners who start to play shakuhachi is “Be Patience” and “Do not give up”. Traditional ones are always not easy to play obviously.

Indeed, practice makes perfect.

If you still confused do not know which one to choose, we recommend our top pick JIM JAPANESE ZEN SHAKUHACHI PENTATONIC FLUTE.

It is the best among these flutes so far, which gives a natural tone as well as a beautiful bamboo appearance.

MOON ANGLE SILVER METAL ALUMINUM FLUTE is not a bad choice if you are looking for a durable product.

Because being made of metal, it will not break easily.

Best shakuhachi comes with the best quality. We hope you can find the right product after reading our article.

Further Reading: 

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