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Iaido Dojo in Tokyo

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  • Iaido Dojo in Tokyo

    Hi! I will be traveling to Tokyo soon. I was wondering what are some good Iaido dojos that except foreigners. I can speak some Japanese. Also, where can I buy Iaido equipment in Tokyo? Thanks!

  • #2
    Accepting non-Japanese is not generally a problem. There are quite a few non-Japanese faces at every (ZNKR) iaido event in Tokyo.

    However, it's best if you can get an introduction. The iaido community in particular is sensitive about who is in their population since we're dealing with knowledge of how to use a restricted weapon. A few years ago there was an incident in Japan in which the only thing the media could dig up about a suspected kidnapper was that he was a member of a university iaido club in Tokyo. Despite the fact that he perhaps turned up for only one practice, the club was forced to shut down and the sensei was barred from teaching, at least for a while. That was an extreme case and a few years ago so perhaps attitudes have relaxed slightly since then but it's still a small community that does not want its image tarnished.

    The Tokyo Kendo Renmei has a dojo listing page that used to have an iaido section. It seems to not be there anymore (it wasn't terribly up to date anyway). If you cannot get an introduction, perhaps you can try showing up at an event like a taikai, shinsa and try to talk to a few sensei. Here are listings for all Tokyo Kendo Renmei taikai and shinsa (all three arts).

    There is also this website of iaidojo throughout Japan. It's not every iaidojo out there, probably just the ones that decided to allow their website to be listed (or perhaps the ones that even have a website). The dojo listed are from different umbrella organizations such as ZNKR, ZNIR, etc. Some are completely independent. Despite the name of the website are also kenjutsu dojo listed (battodo as well but I tend to see iaido and battodo naturally getting grouped together for this kind of listing). It's hard to say if all of them are legit or not but mostly look ok.

    As for iaido shops, have a look at Sakuraya in Kudanshita, a few minutes walk from the Nippon Budokan. There are also a bunch of budogu shops that are mainly kendo but have some iaido equipment on sale but the selection tends to be small. Iaido events will also have supplier stands over which you can drool for quite a while.

    Good luck! Despite the fact that dojo are everywhere, it's actually kind of difficult getting to know any of them if you arrive without introductions.


    • #3
      dillon Thanks! I'm just a beginner so I don't know anybody that could give me an introduction to the community in Japan......


      • #4
        Ask your sensei. He or she is a link in a chain back to some sensei in Japan. If the link is broken (e.g. due to someone passing away) then the inquiry may be more indirect but still possible. The main thing is vouching for your character. If that produces no results, ask at a budo shop (probably no luck as they don't want to stick their necks out for someone they don't know) or ask for suggestions at either the ZNKR offices (basement of the Nippon Budokan) or Tokyo Kendo Renmei Iaidobu offices. This is presuming you are with ZNKR. If not check with the equivalent of your umbrella organization.