Taiko (太鼓) are a broad range of Japanese percussion instruments.
Taiko performance near Nagoya Castle. The Giant Taiko drum was made out of a single piece of wood of a 1200 year old tree, and weighs about 3 tons.
In Japanese, the term refers to any kind of drum, but outside Japan, it is used to refer to any of the various Japanese drums called wadaiko (和太鼓 "Japanese drums") and to the form of ensemble taiko drumming more specifically called kumi-daiko (組太鼓 "set of drums"). The process of constructing taiko varies between manufacturers, and preparation of both the drum body and skin can take several years depending on methodology.
Taiko have a mythological origin in Japanese folklore, but historical records suggest that taiko were introduced to Japan through Korean and Chinese cultural influence as early as the 6th century CE. Some taiko are similar to instruments originating from India. Archaeological evidence also supports that taiko were present in Japan during the 6th century in the Kofun period. Their function has varied through history, ranging from communication, military action, theatrical accompaniment, and religious ceremony to both festival and concert performances. In modern times, taiko have also played a central role in social movements for minorities both within and outside Japan.