Nippon Budokan

The Nippon Budokan (日本武道館, Nippon Budōkan?), often shortened to simply Budokan, is an indoor arena in central Tokyo, Japan.

It was here that The Beatles made their Japanese debut and the location where many "Live at the Budokan" albums were recorded. The Nippon Budokan, however, was originally built for the judo competition in the 1964 Summer Olympics, hence its name, rendered in English as Martial Arts Hall.


The Nippon Budokan is located in Kitanomaru Park in the center of Tokyo, two minutes' walking distance from Kudanshita Subway Station, and near Yasukuni Shrine. This 42 m (140 ft) high imposing octagonal structure holds 14,201 people (arena seats: 2,762, 1st floor seats: 3,199, 2nd floor seats: 7,760, standee: 480) and is modeled after Yumedono (Hall of Dreams) in Hōryū-ji in Nara.

Venue history
Martial arts

Though it still functions as a venue for big musical events, its primary purpose is for Japanese martial arts (indeed, the name literally means "Japan Martial Arts Hall"). The national championships of the different branches of the martial arts (judo, kendo, karate, aikido, shorinji kempo, kyūdō, naginata, etc.) are held annually at the Budokan. For wrestling fans the Budokan means professional wrestling's big shows. Now, the Budokan is mostly used by Pro Wrestling Noah, who often hold major events there.


The Beatles were the first rock group to perform here, in a series of shows in June/July 1966; their appearances were met with opposition from those who felt the appearance of a western pop group would defile the martial arts arena.

However, the Budokan gained worldwide fame when American artists Cheap Trick and Bob Dylan used the arena to record their concert albums, At Budokan (1978) and Bob Dylan at Budokan (1979), respectively. In explaining the popularity of the venue for live albums, Eric Clapton described the Tokyo audience as "almost overappreciative" in interviews promoting his own live Just One Night (1980), recorded at Budokan.

Other artists to release live recordings from this venue include:

  • Blur recorded a live compilation CD here at the height of Britpop
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Deep Purple for the last of the three concerts making up their Made in Japan live album
  • Tin Machine who recorded a portion of Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby
  • Quincy Jones, Live At Budokan (1981)
  • Dream Theater (who recorded a live 2DVD/3CD Live at Budokan)
  • Ozzy Osbourne (who filmed Live at Budokan)
  • Michael Schenker Group, One Night at Budokan (1982)
  • Oasis, Three Nights in a Judo Arena (1998)
  • Faye Wong, "Budokan Live" (1999)
  • Blur Live at the Budokan
  • Judas Priest Rising in the East (2005)
  • Bay City Rollers, Rollerworld, Live at the Budokan 1977
  • Doobie Brothers, Live at Budokan (1993)
  • Mr. Big (who recorded Live at Budokan (Mr. Big album) in 1997, and Back to Budokan in 2009)
  • Bryan Adams (Live at the Budokan)
  • Taylor Swift
  • Dir En Grey (Uroboros -With the Proof in the Name of Living...- At Nippon Budokan)

The original Beatles concert is heavily bootlegged on audio and video; the first night's concert video was officially released by Apple 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, though two songs actually performed there appear in other places; "Nowhere Man" utilizes a studio-"dreamscape" sequence, while "If I Needed Someone" is placed at their legendary Shea Stadium concert from the summer before.Chatmonchy currently holds the record for the largest crowd at Budokan.

Other events

A national ceremony to mourn the Second World 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.

Building Activity

  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov activity.buildings_person.create
    about 5 years ago via