Nippon Budokan

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Nippon Budokan
Nippon Budokan 2010.jpg
Nippon Budokan
Location2-3 Kitanomarukōen, Chiyoda, Tokyo 102-8321, Japan
Coordinates 35°41′36″N139°45′00″E / 35.69333°N 139.75000°E / 35.69333; 139.75000
Public transit Tokyo Metro/Toei Subway
(at Kudanshita):
S Toei Shinjuku Line
T Tozai Line
Z Hanzomon Line
OwnerThe Nippon Budokan Foundation
Capacity 14,471
Field sizeHeight: 42 m (140 ft)
OpenedOctober 3, 1964
Construction cost2 billion Japanese yen
(5.6 million USD in 1964)
Architect Mamoru Yamada
Main contractors Takenaka Corporation

Nippon Budokan (日本武道館, Nippon Budōkan), often shortened to simply Budokan, is an indoor arena located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. Budokan was originally built for the judo competition in the 1964 Summer Olympics, hence its name, which translates in English as Martial Arts Hall. Its primary purpose is to host martial arts contests and for a time was a popular venue for Japanese professional wrestling. It has hosted numerous other sporting events such as the 1967 Women's Volleyball World Championship and other events such as musical concerts.


A number of famous rock music acts have played at Budokan. The Beatles were the first rock group to play there, in a series of concerts held between June 30 and July 2, 1966. Another big act to enter the stage at Budokan were ABBA. They ended their last tour there, ABBA: The Tour. Their final show, on March 27, 1980, also came to be the last live concert they did together. Several live albums were recorded at Budokan, including releases by Bryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Cheap Trick, Dream Theater, Kiss, Mr. Big, Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Journey and Deep Purple.


The Nippon Budokan is located in Kitanomaru Park in the center of Tokyo, two minutes' walking distance from Kudanshita Subway Station, and near the Imperial Palace and Yasukuni Shrine. The 42 m (140 ft) high octagonal structure holds 14,471 people (arena seats: 2,946, 1st floor seats: 3,199, 2nd floor seats: 7,846, standee: 480). [1] The building is modeled after Yumedono (Hall of Dreams) in Hōryū-ji in Nara.

Venue history

Martial arts

The 57th Japan National Kendo Championship (November 3, 2009) 57e Championnats du Japon (3 nov 2009) 2.jpg
The 57th Japan National Kendo Championship (November 3, 2009)
All-Japan Tournament Karate 2012 JKA Adult All-Japan Tournament Day 2.jpg
All-Japan Tournament Karate
The Nippon Budokan during the cherry blossom season Budokan sakura.JPG
The Nippon Budokan during the cherry blossom season

Although it also functions as a venue for big musical events, its primary purpose is for Japanese martial arts. The national championships of the different branches of the martial arts (judo, kendo, karate, aikido, etc.) are held annually at the Budokan. The Budokan has also been associated with professional wrestling's big shows, typically from All Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah. However, due to declining business following the death of Mitsuharu Misawa and the retirement of Kenta Kobashi, professional wrestling has ceased running regular shows in the Budokan. During Wrestle Kingdom 12, New Japan Pro-Wrestling announced that its yearly G1 Climax tournament's finals would be held at the Budokan. [2]

The Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki hybrid rules fight held at the Budokan in 1976 is seen as a forerunner to mixed martial arts. K-1, Shooto and Pride Fighting Championships have all held events at the arena.


A concert stage at Budokan Nippon Budoukan AGE Ibamoto 3.png
A concert stage at Budokan

The Beatles were the first rock group to perform at Budokan in a series of five shows held between June 30 and July 2, 1966. [3] Their appearances were met with opposition from those who felt the appearance of a western pop group would defile the martial arts arena. [4]

In July 1973, Japanese television recorded the Santana performance at Budokan.

The Budokan gained worldwide fame when American artists Cheap Trick and Bob Dylan used the arena to record their performances, Cheap Trick at Budokan (1978) and Bob Dylan at Budokan (1979). The venue is popular for recording live albums because it has good acoustics, is relatively large and Japanese audiences are known for being highly appreciative when appropriate but quiet during performances. [5] Eric Clapton described the Tokyo audience as "almost overappreciative" in interviews promoting Just One Night (1980), his own live album recorded at the Budokan.

The record for the most Budokan music concerts is held by Eikichi Yazawa, 142 times as of December 19, 2017. [6]

Artists that have released live recordings from the venue include:






American crossover thrash band Stormtroopers of Death released a live album titled Live at Budokan (1992), though the title was in jest and the album was recorded at famed New York City venue The Ritz.

The original Beatles concert is heavily bootlegged on audio and video; [27] the first night's concert video was officially released by Apple Records in Japan only as Beatles Concert at Budokan 1966, and excerpts are shown in The Beatles Anthology , while the second Anthology album included the first show's performances of "Rock and Roll Music" and "She's A Woman". The venue is one of the stages in The Beatles: Rock Band video game. [28] Chatmonchy currently holds the record for the largest crowd at Budokan.[ citation needed ]

South Korean girl group T-ara was the first Korean female artist to perform in Nippon Budokan in 2012 and the only Korean female artist to perform there twice in 2013. In 2017, Blackpink became the second such group to perform at the venue.

Other events

The National Memorial Service for War Dead is held with the attendance of the Prime Minister, the Emperor and the Empress annually in Budokan on August 15, the day of Japan's surrender.

As well as holding the Live Concert in appreciation of the Popular Anime series Lucky Star: Live in Budokan (Anata No Tame Dakara).

A concert was held in honor of Studio Ghibli's 25th anniversary at the Budokan, hosted by Joe Hisaishi. It included repertoire from most of the films Hisaishi composed for Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli filmography.

Diana Ross performed and taped her "Here and Now" television special in 1991 to a sold-out audience.

The Japan Record Awards took place in the arena from 1985 to 1993 where all of the artists from around the country receive these awards.

Muhammad Ali won a unanimous decision over Mac Foster in their 1972 heavyweight boxing match.

On February 13, 1975, a religious gathering was held to hear Rev. Sun Myung Moon speak. [29]

On August 27, 2011, Japan's three biggest professional wrestling promotions; All Japan Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah came together to produce a charity event titled All Together at the arena. On August 10, 11 and 12, 2018 New Japan Pro-Wrestling held the final 3 days of the G1 Climax in the Budokan, which marked the first time in 15 years that New Japan has promoted an event there. New Japan once again returned to the arena for the final 3 days of the 2019 G1 Climax.

Professional wrestler and legend in Japan Kenta Kobashi wrestled his final match in Budokan on May 11, 2013, at an event titled Final Burning in Budokan. Kobashi is synonymous with the arena along with fellow wrestlers Toshiaki Kawada and the late Mitsuharu Misawa.

In November, the Budokan is a two day-venue for the annual Japan Self-Defense Forces Marching Festival, a yearly tradition and the nation's military tattoo first held here in the fall of 1963. Aside from JSDF bands, foreign armed forces military bands are also invited to join the event. [30]

Other uses

The Nippon Budokan is the primary setting of the 1989 fighting game Budokan: The Martial Spirit . Players train in various Japanese martial arts, and must then face off at the Budokan arena against computer-controlled opponents.

A fictional concert hall based on Nippon Budokan appeared in the music video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (2007) under the name "Kaiju Megadome". The Beatles' appearance at Nippon Budokan was featured in The Beatles: Rock Band (2009).

Another fictional hall based on the Nippon Budokan appeared in the Japanese pro-wrestling video game Virtual Pro Wrestling 2: Ōdō Keishō (2000).

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Preceded by
Imperial Garden Theater
Host of the
Japan Record Awards

Succeeded by
TBS Broadcast Center