The Best Japanese Acoustic Guitars

By Miles Jarvis
Japan produces a number of choice acoustic guitars.

If you're in the market for an acoustic guitar, don't overlook the many Japanese models available. Japan has been producing high-quality guitars for decades, and although many of these guitars have been replicas of American guitars, such as Gibson and Fender models, Japan's acoustic guitars have a formidable presence on today's acoustic guitar market.

Takamine TF360SBG-MAG

Like many Japanese guitar companies, Takamine is well-known for manufacturing both high-end and entry model guitars. The TF360SBG-MAG is perhaps Takamine's crown jewel, thanks in part to its vintage tone and new electronics system, which includes an internal preamp -- the first of its kind. This Tradesman Series dreadnought is constructed using solid Adirondack spruce and Madagascar rosewood for deep, rich tones and a sensitive dynamic range.

Yamaha LJ36

Yamaha makes everything from motorcycles to pianos, and its guitars range from affordable entry models to high-end acoustic, electric and classical guitars. The LJ36 is constructed using solid spruce and rosewood, and like all high-end Yamaha acoustics, features Yamaha's Acoustic Resonance Enhancement electronics system. This medium jumbo guitar has a particularly warm tone and low range not until Martin acoustics, with a price that also closely matches Martin's entry and medium-end guitars.

Alvarez Yairi DYM85

Alvarez is not a Japanese company, but the Alvarea Yairi range of guitars is entirely handmade in Japan under the renowned Japanese luthier Kazuo Yairi. The DYM85 is member of the Yairi Masterworks Series and is made from solid spruce and kihada. The lack of electronics, vintage design and coupled bridge creates a playing experience that matches the guitar's warm, sweet tone and will remind you that you are playing an instrument made by some of Japan's finest luthiers.

Tokai CE165

Tokai is perhaps best known for its Gibson replicas, but it has been producing guitars and other stringed instruments since the 1940s and has made a name for itself outside of its reputation as manufacturers of "lawsuit guitars." The CE165 is a dreadnought guitar constructed with solid spruce and Indian rosewood, and abalone inlay and binding. This guitar has a sparkling presence matching its tone and wide dynamic range.

About the Author

Miles Jarvis has been writing since 2009, with expertise in the field of East Asian languages and culture. He earned a B.A. in Chinese studies at the University of Waikato and has also studied at universities in Hong Kong and Japan.