He has been renowned since his youth. At the age of eight, he began to study the guitar with the help of his father:
- In 1972, aged eleven, he won the Kyushu Guitar Competition.
- In 1976, he was awarded First Prize in the All Japan Guitar Competition.
- In 1977, he won the Ramirez in Spain, the Alessandria in Italy and the Paris Radio France Competition.
- In 1978, Yamashita made his debut album in Japan.
Since his twenties, he has made recitals on classical guitar in prestigious venues and in different countries in Europe, North America and Asia.
Yamashita's early arrangements, mostly Pictures at an Exhibition, Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, Dvořák's New World Symphony no. 9 in E Minor, pioneered expression and virtuosity on classical guitar.