This page contains links to notation and recordings for beginning shakuhachi players, and for all shakuhachi players who would like to learn Chikuho notation, as taught to me by Chikuho Sakai II.

With the following material, you can learn to play the shakuhachi and/or learn to read Chikuho notation. They are divided into three sections.

Section One has 10 very simple exercises. Section Two has 22 exercises, with the rhythm becoming progressively more difficult. Both Sections One and Two are all in the lower octave (otsu). If you can get the upper octave (kan), you may want to skip most of the exercises in Section Two and go straight to Section Three.

Section Three introduces the upper octave (kan). It gives you 4 exerecises and 17 simple Japanese songs. Section Three also has ‘your first honkyoku’, called Three Times Three. The scores of all of the exercises and songs (except for Three Times Three), as well as a fingering chart, can be downloaded below. Three Times Three should be learned ‘by ear’ – without notation.

These exercises and songs, and their recordings can be used to learn the shakuhachi. Even though I call them ‘beginners manual’, they are not meant to be a ‘teach-yourself’ manual. Rather, they were designed to be used in lessons with your teacher. Eventually, I’ll put a video clip on this page, better explaining these exercises and videos. Watch this space!


Listen to Riley’s recordings of the exercises and simple songs by clicking on to the given links. The mp3 file will appear in a new browser window. Neither the recordings nor the scores are for distribution or duplication.

Beginners Exercises Section Two.

Beginners Exercises Section Three.