The One about Nippon Budokan

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When it comes to concerts, one of the well-known indoor arenas in Japan is Nippon Budokan located in Tokyo ala the Chiyoda ward.

Originally built in 1964 for the judo competition in the 1964 Summer Olympics, Nippon Budokan hosts many concerts, martial arts and sporting competitions, ceremonies and graduation events.

One of the first rock bands to perform at Nippon Budokan is The Beatles back in 1966 and broke the record for attendance. But while many rock fans were excited about the concert, those dedicated to the location being a martial arts arena felt the concert may defile the arena.

The attendance record was broken in 1978 by Kiss for their “Alive II” tour in which the Kiss performed 5 sold-out nights.  And from there on, Nippon Budokan became one of the top arena’s for rock bands to perform.  May it bee Cheap Trick, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton to artists such as Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross and more.

While the stigma of Nippon Budokan may not be as majestic as it once was, especially now that many artists big and small have performed at the location, other major sporting events have taken place in the arena aside from the Olympics.

Muhammad Ali fought Mac Foster at Budokan in 1972 to the hybrid rules fight between Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki back in 1976.  The location is still popular for judo championships, mixed martial arts and K-1 events.

For those who have never been to Nippon Budokan, it is near the Science Museum and not far from Yasukuni Shrine, the Imperial Palace and Edo Castle and also the National Museum of Modern Art.

So, if you are visiting the area, during your walk, you are sure to see the octagonal arena… Nippon Budokan.



Dennis A. Amith