Takahara was a successful driver winning the Japanese Formula 2 title in 1974 and 1976. He also won the Grand Champion sports car series three times. He also became the first Japanese driver to finish a World Championship Grand Prix in 1976.
Takahara began racing in 1969 in a Honda S800 coupé, and was a successful driver Japan driving March's in the early seventies. In 1973 he drove a GRD in a couple of rounds of the European Formula 2 Championship and the following season saw him race a works March 741 in the International Trophy finishing 11th after a steadily drive. He then went back to Japan and won the national Formula 2000 title, the Japanese equivalent of Formula 2, in a March-BMW. He repeated that success in 1976 also winning the Grand Champion sports car series for the third time.
He rented a Surtees TS19 at Fuji in 1976 and finished 9th earning him the distinction of being the first Japanese driver to finish a World Championship Grand Prix.
Much to the chagrin of Hasemi, who was probably a bit quicker, Takahara took over his seat in the locally made Kojima 009 in 1977, racing in that year’s Japanese Grand Prix. However his race did not last long as he crashed on the opening lap.
He was a leading contender in the well-supported Japanese Formula 2 series for the rest of the decade, driving Nova, Martini and March chassis, and like Masahiro Hasemi and Kazuyoshi Hoshino, he continued to race, though much less regularly, throughout the eighties.