A Koto (箏) performance on the Noh Stage of the Yasaka shrine in Kyoto, during the 2014 Gion Matsuri. The koto (箏) is a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument. The koto is the national instrument of Japan. Koto are about 180 centimetres (71 in) length, and made from kiri wood. They have 13 strings that are strung over 13 movable bridges along the width of the instrument.