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8 Best Japanese Guitar Brands – Find a New Guitar Today

If you are a guitar player, you might want to learn about the top Japanese guitar brands before purchasing a guitar.

In this article, we have arranged a list of the best Japanese guitar brands. We look at their history, some notable guitars, and famous players.

I love exploring the history of guitar companies. It’s so interesting to find out the heritage of iconic guitar brands, and get an insight into what inspired the founders to enter the guitar manufacturing world

The more I find out about guitars from brands, the more I want to own one! So be careful how you go…

There are many popular Japanese guitar producers around. Each company has their unique approach to the instrument, and include personal choices in their designs. Some are more focused on acoustic guitars, others specialize in classical guitars. There are a lot of electric guitar companies in Japan too, many with a specialism in heavy metal style instruments.

Keep reading for our full set of picks for the best Japanese guitar brand. 

Alternatively, check out this post about the best guitars for beginners.

Or for something else, have a look at our list of the best American-made guitars.

Best in our tests

Top 8 Best Japanese Guitar Manufacturers Reviewed in Detail 

1. Yamaha

Yamaha

(Browse Yamaha Guitars on Amazon)

Yamaha Musical Instruments Overview:

  • Founder: Torakusu Yamaha
  • Year Founded: 1887
  • Location: Hamamatsu, Shizuoka
  • Net worth: $5bn

Yamaha is a Japanese company that has been making guitars since 1887. They are one of the best-known brands in the world and their guitars are used by many famous guitarists.

The company was founded by Torakusu Yamaha and it’s still run by his family to this day. The company started out as a piano and reed organ store, but soon enough they were making violins, violas, and cellos too. 

When Torakusu Yamaha died in 1916, he left his son to take over the business which he did until 1950 when he retired. His son was then succeeded by his grandson who ran the business until 1974 when he also retired. This cycle repeated today where Yamaha is still run by members of the family who have been in charge for generations.

Yamaha is known to be a reliable brand and is a very popular Japanese guitar manufacturer. Every musician plays on a Yamaha at some point in their life. They offer some fantastic instruments. I have a big love for the nylon string classical design range they have, and many of their acoustic models are top-notch.

Best Yamaha Guitars: 

YAMAHA FD01S

Famous Yamaha Players:

  • Bob Marley
  • Mick Jones
  • James Taylor
  • Bob Dylan
  • Paul Simon

Why we love Yamaha:

  • They offer a wide variety of acoustic guitar models. From steel-string acoustic guitars to acoustic-electric guitars, Yamaha does it all.
  • Yamaha is one of the most popular Japanese guitar brands. They have been around for over 100 years and have been making instruments that are known for their quality, reliability, and durability.
  • Yamaha offers instruments at a wide range of prices, from affordable beginner models to premium professional models. They also offer a bunch of important guitar accessories.

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2. Ibanez

Ibanez

(Browse Ibanez on Amazon)

Ibanez Overview:

  • Founder: Hoshino Gakki 
  • Year Founded: 1908 
  • Location: Nagoya, Japan

Ibanez is one of the best brands for electric guitars. They are made in Japan and have a rich history that dates back to 1957. They were originally created as a replacement for Fender guitars because the latter was not able to produce enough guitars due to World War II.

Ibanez has been making quality instruments for over 60 years now, and they are still going strong with their innovative designs and sound quality. The original models were inspired by a famous Spanish guitar designer. 

The company initially manufactured acoustic guitars for the Japanese market, but eventually expanded to electric guitars and other instruments as well. They originally made some iconic flamenco guitars. 

Ibanez is one of the world’s largest guitar manufacturers, producing more than 100,000 guitars annually and selling to more than 120 countries. It has been associated with some of the biggest names in rock and metal over the past four decades.

I love Ibanez, they have a huge amount of signature models in collaboration with iconic artists. Some of their vintage guitars are also exceptionally nice to play (albeit rare).

Best Ibanez Guitars:

Ibanez GRG 6 String

Famous Ibanez Players:

  • Steve Vai
  • Gene Allen
  • Lizzy Borden
  • Rocky George
  • Richie Kotzen

Why we love Ibanez:

  • Ibanez is definitely one of the most popular brands around. They are known for their quality, sound, and affordability. They offer both acoustic and electric guitars. 
  • Ibanez instruments are made in Japan by skilled craftspeople. They have been around since 1957 and they have a rich history of guitar making.
  • Guitars from Ibanez are generally affordable but they still provide high-quality sound.

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3. Takamine

Takamine

(Browse Takamine Guitars on Amazon)

Takamine Overview:

  • Founder: Mr. Ozhone, and his family business. 
  • Year Founded: 1959
  • Location: Mount Takamine, ​​Sakashita
Takamine Founders

Takamine guitars are one of the best brands in Japan. The company was founded in 1962 and has been manufacturing guitars since then. They have a wide range of guitars that are designed for different purposes.

Takamine guitars come in a variety of types: acoustic, electric, and bass guitars. Takamine guitars are a favorite among guitarists of all levels. They have a rich history that involves a small family company. The company was founded by Mr. Ozhone, near Mount Takamine.

The Takamine G-Series guitars are some of their most popular models. This variety of Takamine Acoustic guitars is noted for their high quality and affordability. They can be found in many different styles and colors, making them great for any player looking for an instrument that is both durable and visually appealing.

Takamine has been making guitars for years to come, so they know what it takes to make a quality instrument that will stand up to years of use and abuse!

They are widely regarded as the best Japanese guitar manufacturer for acoustics. They have an impeccable guitar manufacturing process that creates superior acoustic instruments. This guitar brand takes inspiration from vintage guitar designs and brings them to the modern guitar format. 

Best Takamine Guitars: 

Takamine EF341SC Pro Series

Famous Takamine Players:

  • Jon Bon Jovi
  • Steve Wilson
  • Simon Neil
  • Biffy Clyro
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Garth Brooks

Why we love Takamine:

There are many reasons why we love Takamine guitars. 

  • They are affordable, so they are accessible to everyone.
  • They produce high-quality guitars that sound great and last for a long time.
  • They have a great variety of models, so there is something for everyone who wants to buy their own Takamine guitar.

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4. ESP Guitars

ESP Guitars

(Browse ESP Guitars on Amazon)

ESP Overview:

  • Founder: Hisatake Shibuya
  • Year Founded: 1975
  • Location: Tokyo

ESP (Electric Sound Products) is a guitar company that produces and distributes electric guitars and bass guitars. The company was founded in 1975 by Hisatake Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan.

The company’s first product was the ESP-100, a guitar with a single pickup and body shape similar to the Fender Stratocaster. ESP Guitars went on to become one of the most popular brands for heavy metal musicians.

ESP Guitars has been producing high-quality instruments for over 40 years now and is considered by many to be one of the best Japanese guitar brands out there.

This is a company that specializes in manufacturing and selling guitars and basses. They produce instruments and basses that are well-known for their performance.

It is one of the first companies to produce electric guitars with HSH pickup configuration and the first to introduce the six-string bass guitar.

The company has always been focused on delivering quality instruments at an affordable price point, which is why they are one of the most popular brands today.

Best ESP Guitars: 

ESP LTD EC-Black

Famous ESP Players:

  • Alex Wade
  • Willie Adler
  • Stephen Carpenter
  • Reba Meyers

Why we love ESP:

High-quality and unique designs, as well as their association with metal and hard rock bands. ESP manufactures guitars with an attitude, with the tone to match. I use a couple of these for my own instruments, which I think many metal guitarists do. 

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5. Morris

Morris

(Browse Morris Guitars on Amazon)

Morris Guitars Overview:

  • Founder: Toshio Moridaira
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Location: Nagano
  • Net worth:
  • Other:

Morris Guitars is a Japanese guitar company that is located in Tokyo. One of the most interesting things about this company is that they have been making guitars since 1967. The founder Mr. Moridaira worked with Gibson and Fender guitars. Thanks to this relationship he spent a lot of time in their guitar factories, which inspired him to create his own company. 

Morris Guitar has a lot of different guitars to choose from with different shapes and sizes. They also have a wide range of colors for their guitars as well as other accessories to make your playing experience more enjoyable.

The company was started by Morris Okano who was born in 1912 and died in 2002, but he had been making guitars since before the Second World War. He was originally from Hawaii and moved to Japan with his family when he was very young, but he never forgot about his Hawaiian roots. He would often go back to Hawaii every year and bring back new designs for guitars that he had seen there, which helped him create

When it comes to Japanese guitars, there are a lot of factors that you need to consider. There are many different brands and models in the market and it can be quite tough to pick the right one.

Morris guitars is a good choice if you want a quality guitar at an affordable price. They have been making guitars for years and they have been able to keep their prices low by cutting out the middleman from the guitar production process.

Why we love Morris:

We love this brand because they offer some really unique instruments. They have manufactured guitars for decades, and their level of quality competes with many American guitar brands. Even the most iconic guitar brands only come close to the level of understated swagger provided by these guitars. 

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6. Fender Japan

Fender Japan

(Browse Fender Japan Guitars on Amazon)

(Fender – Made In Japan Guitars on Fender.com)

Fender Japan Overview:

  • Founder: Kanda Shokai
  • Year Founded: 1982

A business collaboration between Fender, Shokai, and Yamano Gakki.

Fender Japan is a Japanese guitar company that has been producing musical instruments since the 1950s.

The company was originally established in 1954 as Fujiya Co., Ltd. and changed its name to Fender Japan in 1982. They are one of the most famous guitar brands in Japan with a long history of making guitars for some of the world’s most famous musicians, including The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and many more.

The company is also renowned for its high-quality guitars at an affordable price. Their guitars are usually made out of mahogany or maple – materials that are known to produce a warm tone with good sustain. I love the quality offered by the Fender Japan brand. This company had a huge impact when they started making electric guitars and redefined the market. 

Why We Love Fender Japan:

These Guitars are the best guitars in the world. They are made with high-quality materials and have a great design.

This company has been making guitars for more than 50 years, and it is known for its quality products that always meet customer expectations.

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7. Tokai

Tokai

(Browse Tokai Guitars on Amazon)

Overview:

  • Founder: Tadayouki Adachi
  • Year Founded: 1947
  • Location: Hamamatsu, Shizuoka

Tokai Guitars are another highly recommended Japanese manufacturer. They have been around for over 50 years and their guitars are used by a number of famous artists.

Tokai was founded in 1956 by Masao Tokai, who built his first electric guitar at age 18. Tokai’s guitars are known for their quality and tone that have been refined over decades of experience.

Tokai still produces guitars to this day, with the most popular models being their T-Series and E-Series models.

Why we love Tokai:

This Japanese manufacturer has been around for over 50 years and their guitars are used by a number of famous artists. They offer premium guitars for fingerstyle guitarists. They have some excellent signature models. 

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8. FujiGen Gakki

FujiGen Gakki

(Browse FujiGen Gakki Guitars on Amazon)

FujiGen Gakki Overview:

  • Founder: Yutaka Mimura,
  • Year Founded: 1960
  • Location:
  • Net worth:
  • Other:

FujiGen Gakki Guitars have been around since the 1960s. It is a brand of guitars that have been around for a long time and have had a lot of success. They are one of the best Japanese brands out there and they have been making fantastic guitars for decades.

The company is known for its acoustic, classical, and electric guitars. They have a wide range of guitars that are worth checking out if you’re looking for a new guitar to purchase.

FujiGen Gakki guitars are one of the most popular Japanese guitar companies because of their high quality and durability. The company is also famous for its acoustic guitar and electric guitars.

They have been around since the early 60s and have been producing musical instruments ever since, which makes them one of the most trusted names in the industry. They have a wide range of products, from acoustic guitars to electric guitars, as well as other stringed instruments such as violins, banjos, ukuleles, mandolins, dulcimers, etc.

Why We Love FujiGen Gakki:

They are known for their guitars which are used by many famous musicians including the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley.

FujiGen Gakki guitars are known for their quality and durability. 

The company produces guitars in all different shapes and sizes, but they are most well-known for their acoustic guitars. Many of these acoustic guitars come with a lifetime warranty which means that if anything happens to it, FujiGen Gakki will fix or replace it.

– – –

Tips to Pick the Right Japanese Brands

When you are looking for a guitar from Japan, there are many brands to choose from. This section will give you some tips to help you pick the right one.

  1. Consider your budget
  2. Pick a brand that has a good reputation in the market
  3. Consider what kind of sound you want from your guitar

1. Price

A Japanese-made guitar can cost anywhere from $200 to $5000 or more. This varies depending on the brand and style of the guitar. If you are on a tighter budget, it is best to choose more affordable brands like Yamaha or Takamine. Alternatively, if you can afford it then Ibanez and ESP offer many superior instruments.

2. Size

If you want an acoustic guitar for playing at home or performing gigs then you should go with a full-sized guitar. Alternatively, choose a ¾ if you need a guitar you can travel with.

3. Sound

There are many Japanese guitar brands out there. Each one has a slightly different approach to guitar. They all have their own unique sound and feel. You should be able to tell relatively easily what kind of music the guitar is designed to be used for.

FAQs

What is the most popular guitar in Japan?

The most popular guitar in Japan is the Yamaha Pacifica. It has a solid body, a tremolo system, and two single-coil pickups. This is a versatile electric guitar that can be used for different genres of music.

The Yamaha Pacifica is an electric guitar that has the vintage feel of a Stratocaster, with a slightly updated design.

Are Japanese-made guitars good?

Japanese-made guitars are not only good, but they are among the best. They have a reputation for being some of the best-made guitars in the world.

First of all, Japanese-made guitars are known for their excellent sound quality. The wood used to make these guitars is often more expensive than other types of wood used in guitar-making. 

Japanese guitars are well-known for their high quality and craftsmanship. They are more expensive than other guitars but they last longer and sound better too.

Are guitars expensive in Japan?

Guitar Can be expensive in Japan, but not as much as they are in the US. There is a high demand for guitars in Japan because of their culture and history.

In the United States, professional guitars can cost $2000 or more, while in Japan they can cost $1000 or more.

The cost of guitars in Japan is dependent on what you are looking for too. An affordable guitar will feel the same price no matter where you are. And professional models are always going to set you back more.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this list of the best Japanese guitar manufacturers. These are just some of my favorites and there are many more great companies out there!
Are you still looking for a cool guitar? Check out this list of the best resonator guitars.