Acquiring skins, authentic or artificial in Japan


Good day to you all.

I ended up buying a box for my shamisen and I get two nagauta shamisen with broken skins with it. I want to try my hands on changing it myself. Unfortunately I think it is in poor taste to directly ask shamisen repair shops where they get their supplies from so I’m hoping any of you lovely people know where I can get some skins, preferably in the kansai region.

Thank you in advance


Have you tried calling around to the local shops? The supply chains are shrouded in secrecy, by reports.

If you are in Kyoto, there should be plenty of people around who you can ask. You might call Tutaya in Osaka, even. I would be surprised if he’d sell you a skin (though I might be wrong) but even if he did, I doubt that he’d sell it at a cost that would make DIYing it worth it to you.

It cost me 20,000 yen to reskin my nagauta at Tutaya, btw.


I don’t think it is in poor taste to ask. The worst they will do is say “no.”


The guy at Tutaya is really nice. It will be unlikely that he’ll sell you a skin only, but the worst that guy will do is laugh at you.


It appears that this guy got his hands on some. You might write him.


Hi Alexander,

I agree with Pete. Perhaps 20 years ago, most shop owners would decline to sell their skin. But these days, they are more relaxed about it. Most likely they will be surprised, perhaps chuckle and say it’s difficult, but I doubt they will refuse.

However, as Pete said, they’ll most likely tack on considerable profit margin. :wink:

Yeah, just ask and see what happens! :slight_smile: