Sayaka Nakaya was born in Hiroshima, Japan. She graduated from the Music High School Attached to The Faculty of Music, Tokyo University of the Arts.
She has studied at the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music with Professor Tatiana Zelikman on scholarships sponsored by the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and the Russian Government.
She received prestigious scholarships from the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artists.
She performed with the State Chamber Orchestra of the Republic of Belarus, Dubna Symphony Orchestra, Yaroslavl Symphony Orchestra, Hamamatsu Symphony Orchestra led by Evgeny Bushkov, Murad Annamamedov, Hikaru Ebihara.
In 2015 she has been chosen as one of CHANEL Pygmalion Days Artists, she also played at the inaugural Music Festival for Young Talented Musicians at Moscow’s National Pushkin Museum and the Music Festival "La Folle Journée" in Tokyo, at the Japanese ambassador's residence in Russia.
She appeared in the educational TV programs on RTVi and TNB.
She was awarded a diploma of honor at the International Competition for Young Pianists Arthur Rubinstein in Memoriam in Poland. And she was the youngest semifinalist at the 9th International Competition for Young Pianists in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz in Ukraine.
She has won prizes in several international competitions, including the 6th Yokohama International Music Competition (1st prize), the 18th Hamamatsu International Piano Academy Competition (3rd prize), the 11th International Competition Skavronsky in Memoriam (2nd prize), the 1st International Competition Medtner in Memoriam (3rd prize), the Romantic Music Festival for Young Pianist in Moscow (laureate and Yamaha music prize), the 24th Matsukata Hall Music Award (Encouragement prize) and Hyogo prefecture Sakai Tokitada Music Award.
She has studied piano under Machiko Tomotani, Katsuko Kaneko, Emiko Harimoto, Susumu Aoyagi, Elena Ashkenazy and Tatiana Zelikman.