Takada was born in in Tokyo and began to study the marimba at the age of eight. She first appeared as soloist with orchestra at the age of eleven, when she played with the Tokyo Symphony and Tokyo Chamber Orchestras. Takada continues to perform in Japan, and recently gave a recital at Tokyo's Suntory Hall.
In Japan, she studied with Akiko Suzuki and Keiko Abe and attended Waseda University in Tokyo, majoring in psychology. She then decided to focus to more extensively on her marimba studies, and entered California State University at Northridge as a student of Karen Ervin-Pershing. At CSU, she won the school's Concerto Competition, was on the National Dean's list, and returns this year as guest lecturer. After receiving her Bachelor of Music degree, she earned a Master of Music degree from Ithaca College, working with Gordon Stout, and studied at Boston Conservatory with Nancy Zeltsman. Takada has performed in the Los Angles Philharmonic Percussion master-class with Raynor Carroll, as well as master-classes for Ney Rosauro and William Moersch. Naoko Takada is a Yamaha performing artist.
Takada won First Prize at the 2001 Sorantin Young Artists International Competition in Texas. Moreover she won First Prize in the 2000 Japan International League of Artists Competition in Tokyo, the Percussive Arts Society's Thomas Siwe and Larrie Londin Memorial Scholarships, and the Marimba Special Prize at the 2001 IBLA Grand Prize International Competition.
Takada was awarded First Prize at the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg National Young Artist Competition, resulting in critically acclaimed performance as soloist with the San Angelo Symphony Orchestra in Texas, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony in North Dakota, Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay. She appeared as guest artist at the Belgium International Marimba Festival.