Learning Japanese Martial Arts in Tokyo – Karate, Judo, Kendo and Aikido

Poste date: Monday, July 5, 2021

Many countries around the world have their own forms of martial arts. Japan in this respect is no different. The most well-known forms of martial arts originating in Japan are Karate, Kendo, Judo, and Aikido. Each of these different forms of martial arts have different philosophies and goals that they teach. A great way to experience some of Japan’s culture is to participate in martial arts lessons. At some international schools they also have this kind of classes for children. Here is some info about each form of martial arts along with some places within Tokyo that you can take lessons.


Perhaps the most well-known martial art of them all is karate, which originated in Okinawa. It means “empty hand” in Japanese and is known as a striking martial art with many punches, kicks, elbow strikes, and open hand techniques. There are numerous sub-styles throughout Japan and dojos (training halls) all over Tokyo dedicated to the practice of the art. There are quite a few that offer classes in English. The Japan Karate Federation would be a good place to start.

Karate schools and information in Tokyo

School Name Description


  • See the web page for tournament information and more.
  • Information of what Karate is all about



Mas Oyama



  • Yomiuri Culture Yokohama & Ebisu, Tokyo
  • Karate Lessons for Women
    Karate Girls Dojo
    Children's Karate-do in Easy English


Karate related books


If karate is the most famous of Japan’s empty handed, martial arts styles, judo is a very close second. Where karate is characterized by strikes, judo, which means “gentle way” in Japanese, emphasizes throws and takedowns. In competition, strikes are actually forbidden, and the goal is to pin or otherwise immobilize an opponent using a variety of joint locks and choke maneuvers. As with karate, there are numerous dojos around Tokyo where you can take classes. The Kodokan Judo Institute offers classes where at least one instructor speaks English and would be a good option for those interested in learning this very distinctive martial art.

Judo schools and information in Tokyo

School Name Description

Judo techniques videos and instruction

Kodokan School of Judo

Embassy Judo Club


Brazilian Jij-Jitsu in Tokyo

School Name Description

Carpe Diem Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

  • The winner of the Best Health or Wellness Facility 2020 by Tokyo Weekender Readers' Choice. There are several dojos in Tokyo.
  • Carpe Diem Brazilian Jin-Jitsu


Judo related books


Kendo, or the "Way of the Sword," is a Japanese sport descended from the samurai swordsman style. A contest consists of two individuals armed with bamboo swords called shinai while wearing armored jackets and helmets. The two combatants strike and thrust at each other with repeated yells and shouts as they duel, attempting to land a strike on defined targets, including the head, wrists, and torso. The first combatant to three points wins the match.

If you’re interested in participating in Kendo, there are plenty of schools around Tokyo where you can take lessons and compete. One notable school that offers classes in English is Tokyo Kyumeikan Kendo Dojo. There are also Kendo competitions throughout the year if you want to observe a match or two. The best combatants participate at contests put on by the All Japan Kendo Federation and some are held in Tokyo.

Kendo schools and information in Tokyo

School Name Description

All Japan Kendo Federation

All Japan Kendo Federation Online shop

Tokyo Kyumeikan Kendo Dojo

Katsushika Jodokai

Kendo Jinko Fuyashitai


Kendo related books


Aikido is a modern form of Japanese martial arts. The focus of Aikido is to defend its practitioners while avoiding causing their attackers injury. Traditionally there are no tournaments or fights using Aikido as its goal is not to defeat an opponent but to work / train together. Aikido is also translated as The way of harmonious spirit.

Aikido schools and information in Tokyo

School Name


Pacific Aikido

  • Aikido classes in English at various locations in Tokyo and Yokohama. Kids classes are from 5 years old and adults classes are from 15 years old and older.
  • Pacific Aikido

Seidokan Aikido of Tokyo

Aikido Yoshinkan Honbu Dojo

Aikikai Foundation Honbu Dojo


Aikido related books

Japanese Marcial Arts books you may be interested in

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