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How to attend the All Japan National Kendo Championship 2017

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  • How to attend the All Japan National Kendo Championship 2017

    Greetings, I am currently planning to visit Japan in the fall (2017). Much to my delight I discovered that I had found a deal on flights during the time that the All Japan Kendo Championships will be held this year on November 3rd. Right now I am trying to plan my time in Tokyo accordingly since I will be traveling around other parts of Japan as well. Does anyone know how someone outside of Japan would be-able to get a hold of a pair of tickets to the event? Is there the ability to buy tickets on the day of the event? Do they tend to sell out quickly before hand? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Generally, the way to get tickets is to buy them from a ticket vending machine or third party ticket dealer. The channels are:

    PIA vendors (Ticket PIA agent stand, 7-eleven ticket machine, CircleK, Sunkust... not sure if last two are via machines or go ask at cash register, both are convenience stores). For this channel you need the relevant P-code, which isn't out yet.

    Lawsons convenience stores via ticket vending machines. For this you need an L-code, which is not out yet.

    Channels are national so you can buy from any of the agents/machines anywhere in Japan. The P and L codes normally appear on ZNKR website a couple of months in advance with tickets on sale from Sept. 1 until around Oct. 28/29. Taikai is on Nov. 3, Culture Day.

    I do not know if adult tickets are on sale at the door. They do give free tickets to kids middle school age and under at the door on the day so there is a chance they can sell you an adult ticket. But then again, they might not be set up for that. ZNKR can be numbingly bureaucratic like everything else in Japan if they choose to be. And they also do not think too much about foreigners who might be interested in attending so getting tickets when not resident in Japan or able to read Japanese is a bit of a pain.

    Generally, the taikai is crowded but not at capacity. Upper tier seats are free seating and you can grab any seat that isn't claimed. It's full of high school kids who come and go so more likely than not a decent seat becomes available at some point. Floor seats are reserved. Not sure about lower tier.

    Here is the ticketing info from last year (in Japanese):

    Also on the same day are the koryu and yabusame (horseback archery) demonstrations at the Meiji Jingu. Yabusame is amazing and many well known koryu (Katori Shinto ryu, Yagyu Shinkage ryu, etc.) are represented. These demonstrations run from about 10am until 3pm iirc. It's outdoors and free.


    • #3
      It seems Circle K Sunkus has merged with FamilyMart. I think the brand merging is still going on so there are still Circle K Sunkus around (FamilyMart is ubiquitous). Anyway, when ZNKR makes their announcement for this year, it will be more clear.


      • #4
        Thank you for the info! It's good to know the approximate time window for tickets in particular. I will keep an eye out as it draws closer. It looks like I could possibly even buy through Lawson's website if it maintains the same as last year. Otherwise, the hostel that I have stayed at in Tokyo before is very helpful and accommodating to helping guests with arranging tickets for travel and such, so if needed I may talk to them to see if they can help..


        • #5
          I am also headed to Japan at that time and will be flying out of Tokyo on Nov 4. Looks like a good opportunity to stop by and watch the AJKC. I've been looking at their website and can't seem to find an address for the venue. Can someone help?


          • #6
            The venue is the Nippon Budokan in the Kitanomaru area of the Imperial Palace grounds, Chiyoda-ku. The closest station is Tokyo Metro Kudanshita.

            ZNKR has their offices in the basement btw. It's also a popular venue for concerts (the Beatles played there). Be careful not to confuse it with the Tokyo Budokan at Ayase, Adachi-ku. people have been known to turn up at the wrong venue for gradings etc..

            Also near Kudanshita station is Sakura-ya budo shop

            The controversial Yasukuni shrine is also nearby. There are almost always a few extreme rightwingers hanging around. You can spot them in jacksuits.

            After the event, if you head up to Iidabashi, there are some nice cheap eats, including a really good Hiroshima style okonomiyaki restaurant. Further up, Kagurazaka is a trendy area with nice bars and restaurants.

            Have fun.


            • #7
              Thanks so much for the info!


              • #8
                Contact your national federation. ZNKR makes a certain amount of tickets available through them, and they are very good seats I am told.


                • #9
                  ZNKR has more info for those going through the Japanese system (and can read Japanese or happy to put up with online translation).

                  General info

                  Ticket info

                  P-code: 836-696
                  L-code: 34119


                  • #10
                    Thank you all for your help! I will reach out to the AUSKF as well as continuing my own efforts. It seems like I could purchase them through Lawson's somewhat easily (without an account or Japanese address). However, I am wondering how long will they keep the tickets in their system? I won't be in Japan until after purchasing closes (Oct 27th close, 28th arrival). Would I still be-able to pick them up in store after that date? Do they just keep them on file until the event date?


                    • #11
                      Just wanted to follow up on my experience in case someone's looking for information on attending the AJKC as a non-Japanese speaking tourist in the future.

                      Unfortunately I had missed the dates for the advanced booking at any of the outlets. However, I was able to walk into 7-11 and Lawson and mention the words 'budokan' and 'kendo' and the staff was able to help search for tickets.

                      I showed up at the Budokan on Nov 3 at 8am and there was already a line. I asked the uniformed people with the yellow arm band that said 'guide' where I could get tickets (in plain English) and one of them escorted to me to another line that was selling tickets. I went with the general seating (1000 yen) although I do believe the 1st tier reserved seating tickets (3000 yen) were still available.

                      I would recommend getting there at 8ish because the line gets really long by 845am or so (LOT of school students).

                      I was there until around 1pm; unfortunately I couldn't stay all day because I was in Japan with family. But the atmosphere was terrific. Especially when the kenshi assembled and the floodlights switched on.