Experience Genuine Japanese Culture! Japanese Martial Arts Lesson in English


photo by MIKI Yoshihito

Judo, Kendo, Aikido and Karate, Japan has many types of traditional martial arts. In modern days, many people in overseas are learning these Japanese martial arts. Of course, there are a number of martial arts classes in Japan, and many children and adults are training every day. Normally, you need to become a discipline of a dojo to have regular training of a martial art, but there are some dojos that provide one-day lesson for foreign tourists.


Kendo Experience Tour: Samurai Trip

It was about the middle of the Heian period that so-called “samurai”, warriors who fight using a sword, appeared in the history of Japan. In the 15th century, many dojo and kendo schools were established to teach kendo to sons of samurai families. The modern style of Kendo training using a bamboo sword and protectors was developed in the 17th century. Accordingly, Japanese Kendo has a long history. Samurai Trip is a Kendo school that provide Kendo experience tours for tourists in Tokyo. They have four courses with different price settings, for example, one of the courses costs 19000yen per person for 2 hours lesson (for a group of 2 or more participants). Other than that, there are optional activities such as a guided tour of Kendo tool making and Kendo izakaya tour.

Kendo Experience Tour: Samurai Trip



While most martial arts are designed to actively perform movements on an opponent, Aikido is uniquely based on throwing and grappling technique by fully utilizing the momentum of an opponent. Aikido is very popular in many other countries as an art of self-defence, as it enables a person to defeat an opponent who is larger in size by using his own body in a rational manner. At Seishinkan, Aikido experience class for foreign tourists are held on Monday and Wednesday morning. Fees are 10000yen per person for 2 hours lesson plus 3500yen for rental uniform (including fitting). You can learn the basic techniques and manners of Aikido in the lesson. Booking is required to attend the class.

Address (Head Office): 2F, 2-31-30, Fujimidai, Nerima-ku, Tokyo
TEL: 03-5983-3959


Daikanyama Karate School

Among Japanese martial arts, Karate is the most popular one across the world. There are numerous dojos of many different schools in many countries other than Japan. Karate is so commonly trained all over the world, therefore many overseas dojos don’t even have Japanese members at all. As Karate is such a popular martial art, there are many foreign tourists who wish to attend a one-day Karate lesson during their stay in Japan. Daikanyama Karate School runs a trial lesson, which participants can join their normal lesson, and one-to-one lesson for foreign tourists. Fees are $127 for joining a normal class and $217 for a private lesson (both include rental uniform). Trial lesson can be booked on their website.

Daikanyama Karate School
Address: B1F, 3-4-7 JIngumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
TEL: 03-3489-7553


“Tate” Samurai Sword Play

“Tate” Samurai Sword Play is very unique school where you can experience the daily manners and training that samurais in the Edo period were actually doing. You can learn the basics of horse riding, sword handling and Kenjutsu, as well as how to dress kimono, the way samurai walks, manners. In Kenjutsu lesson, you will use wooden sword and practice sword used in Iaido to learn how to draw out, swing and sheathe the sword. Kenjutsu is different from Kendo, as only a bamboo sword is used in Kendo therefore these techniques are not practised. Fee is 15000yen per person for 2 hours lesson. Booking can be made from the following website.

“Tate” Samurai Sword Play


Wax on, wax off!

From Kendo with hundreds of years of history to Aikido which is rather new, established in the Meiji period, there are many types of martial arts in Japan. The common spirit among all these martial arts is to train your mental strength more than pursuing the physical strength to defeat an opponent. Even in these days, learning a martial art is popular among all generations from children to adults. In a one-day lesson, you can learn the basic movements and manners of each martial art. If you enjoy practicing the martial art while you are staying in Japan, why not look for a dojo in your area and become a member? Also, this column introduced only one-day lessons, but martial art dojos accept long-term students as well. If you are living in Japan and wish to learn a martial art, just visit a dojo and inquire.





あきらことほ Kotoho Akira

Living outside Japan for a good many years, I often rediscover nice little things about this country every time I return here. I would be more than happy if this column may help you find your "nice little things about Japan"!

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