"I've decided to retire so that I can take the next step in my career," Takahashi said. "It was a quick decision but I didn't want to fuss about it for too long."
The 28-year-old Takahashi finished sixth at this year's Sochi Olympics. In the previous games at Vancouver, he finished third behind Evan Lysacek and Evgeni Plushenko to become the first Asian man to win a medal in men's singles at the Olympics.
Known for his intricate step sequences, Takahashi won the gold medal at the 2010 world championships in Turin, Italy, adding to two silver medals he won the worlds in 2007 in Tokyo and 2012 in Nice, France.
In 2008, Takahashi had surgery to repair ligament damage to his right knee and would miss the entire 2008-2009 ISU Grand Prix series. He returned to competition to win the Finlandia Trophy in October of 2009.
"Thank you Daisuke Takahashi for your magnificent career and your beautiful art," former skater Johnny Weir tweeted. "Congratulations on your next chapter and golden luck."