Nippon Budokan

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Nippon Budokan
Nippon Budokan Hall Main entrance
Location2-3 Kitanomarukōen, Chiyoda, Tokyo 102-8321, Japan
Coordinates35°41′36″N 139°45′00″E / 35.69333°N 139.75000°E / 35.69333; 139.75000
Public transitTokyo Metro/Toei Subway
(at Kudanshita):
S Toei Shinjuku Line
T Tozai Line
Z Hanzomon Line
OwnerThe Nippon Budokan Foundation
Field sizeHeight: 42 m (140 ft)
OpenedOctober 3, 1964
Construction cost2 billion Japanese yen
(5.6 million USD in 1964)
ArchitectMamoru Yamada
Main contractorsTakenaka 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, John Hiatt, 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[edit]

Martial arts[edit]

The 57th Japan National Kendo Championship (November 3, 2009)
All-Japan Tournament Karate
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

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:






  • Dir En Grey; January 9-10, 2010; live DVD Uroboros: With the Proof in the Name of Living... At Nippon Budokan.
  • Backstreet Boys; February 18, 2010; recorded live DVD Backstreet Boys: This Is Us Japan Tour 2010 on the This Is Us Tour.
  • Nico Touches the Walls; March 12, 2010; "Walls is Auroras" LIVE.
  • Polysics; March 14, 2010; Budokan or Die!!!! 2010.3.14
  • One Ok Rock; 2010; live DVD This Is My Budokan?!.[11]
  • Morning Musume; 2011; Ai Takahashi's graduation concert "Ai Believe ~Takahashi Ai Graduation Memory Special~.
  • F.T. Island; 2011; Live in Budokan 'Summer Mesengger Tour'.
  • MUCC; 2011; live DVD Chemical Parade
  • Judas Priest; February 16 & 17, 2012; Epitaph World Tour
  • 2PM; 2012; 2PM Six Beautiful Day Live in Budokan
  • Milky Holmes; 2012; Milky Holmes Live in Budokan
  • Lee Seung-gi; 2012; First Japan Live in Budokan Kidou (Hope).[12]
  • T-ara; 2012; Live in Budokan, recording of a concert performed as part of their Jewelry Box tour
  • Dream Morning Musume; March 10, 2012; Dream Morning Musume Special Live 2012 Nippon Budokan~Dai 1 Shou Shuumaku 'Yuusha tachi, Shuugou seyo'
  • U-KISS; 2012; live DVD U-KISS Live in Budokan.
  • Morning Musume; 2012; Risa Niigaki and Aika Mitsui's graduation concert Ultra Smart.
  • Scandal; March 28, 2012; Japan Title Match Live 2012: Scandal vs Budokan
  • Sonar Pocket; August 3, 2012; Sonapokeizm Special - Natsu no Jin - in Nippon Budokan
  • Acid Black Cherry; 2012; "Live DVD Acid Black Cherry Tour 『2012』".
  • Spyair; December 18, 2012;
  • Morning Musume; 2013; Reina Tanaka's graduation concert, Michishige☆Eleven Soul.
  • °C-ute; 2013; Queen of J-Pop ~Tadoritsuita Onna Senshi~.
  • AKB48; 2013; AKB48 Group Rinji Soukai "Shirokuro tsukeyou janai ka!"
  • T-ara; 2013; T-ara Japan Tour 2013: Treasure Box.
  • Morning Musume; 2013; ~Chance!~
  • Berryz Kobo; 2013; Berryz Koubou 10 Shuunen Kinen Budokan Special Live ~Yappari Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai~
  • AKB48 Group Research Students; 2013; AKB48 Group Kenkyuusei Concert ~Oshimen Hayai Mono Gachi~
  • Super Junior KRY; 2013; Special Japan tour Super Junior K.R.Y. Special Winter Concert
  • Mamoru Miyano; October 4, 2013; MAMORU MIYANO SPECIAL LIVE 2013 ~TRAVELING!~ first male voice actor to uphold a one man show in Budokan[13]
  • LiSA; January 3, 2014; Live Is Smile Always - Kyo mo Ii Hi Da - In Nippon Budokan[14]
  • Avril Lavigne; February 4 and 5, 2014: The Avril Lavigne Tour
  • Babymetal; March 1 and 2, 2014 ; Live at Budokan: Red Night & Black Night Apocalypse
  • Dir En Grey; March 8–9, 2014; Dum Spiro Spero at Nippon Budokan
  • S/mileage; July 15, 2014; S/mileage Live 2014 Natsu Full Charge ~715 Nippon Budokan~
  • Junho (from 2PM); August 12 and 13, 2014; "Feel" Solo Tour in Japan 2014
  • Dish; January 1, 2015
  • LiSA; January 10 and 12, 2015; LiVE is Smile Always - PiNK & BLACK - in Nippon Budokan[15]
  • Silent Siren; January 17, 2015; Silent Siren Live Tour 2014–2015 Fuyu ~Budokan e Go! Siren Go!~ at Budokan
  • Oldcodex; February 11, 2015; "Capture" in Budokan
  • Mamoru Miyano; 2015; MAMORU MIYANO LIVE TOUR 2015 ~AMAZING!~ final at Budokan[16]
  • Kalafina; February 28, 2015; Kalafina Live Best 2015 "Red Day". March 1, 2015; Kalafina Live Best 2015 "Blue Day"
  • The Gazette; March 3, 2015; 13th Anniversary Nippon Budokan
  • Judas Priest; March 11, 2015; Redeemer of Souls Tour
  • Kana-Boon; March 31, 2015
  • Morning Musume; May 27, 2015; ~Gradation~.
  • 己龍 (Kiryu); July 31, 2015
  • Hatsune Miku; September 4–5, 2015; Magical Mirai.
  • Eir Aoi; November 2, 2015; Eir Aoi Special Live 2015 World of Blue at Nippon Budokan
  • Angerme; November 29, 2015, Angerme First Concert Tour 2015 Aki "Hyakka Ryouran" ~Fukuda Kanon Sotsugyou Special~
  • Morning Musume; December 7–8, 2015; ~Prism~.
  • Dish; January 1–2, 2016; 4 Monkey Magic.
  • Wagakki Band; January 6, 2016; Dai Shinnenkai 2016 Nippon Budokan -Akatsuki no Utage-.
  • Scandal; January 12–13, 2016; SCANDAL ARENA TOUR 2015–2016 「PERFECT WORLD」
  • Mamoru Miyano; 2016; MAMORU MIYANO LIVE TOUR 2015-16 ~GENERATING!~ final at Budokan[17]
  • Dir En Grey; February 5–6, 2016; Arche at Nippon Budokan
  • iKon; February 15–16, 2016; iKoncert 2016: Showtime Tour
  • Symphogear; February 27–28, 2016; Symphogear Live 2016
  • YuiKaori; March 12, 2016; RAINBOW CANARY!! ~Brightest Stage~
  • Shouta Aoi; March 13, 2016; Wonder Lab. ~Bokutachi no Sign~
  • Aya Uchida; August 13, 2016; AYA UCHIDA Complete LIVE 〜COLORS〜 in Nippon Budokan
  • Kalafina; September 16–17, 2016; Kalafina Arena LIVE 2016
  • Queen + Adam Lambert; September 21–23; Queen + Adam Lambert 2016 Summer Festival Tour
  • Suzuko Mimori; October 27–28, 2016; Mimori Suzuko Live Tour 2016 "Grand Revue" Final at Nippon Budokan
  • Eir Aoi; November 4–5, 2016; Eir Aoi 5th Anniversary Special Live 2016 ~Last Blue~ at Nippon Budokan
  • My First Story; November 18, 2016; We're Just Waiting 4 You Tour 2016 Final at Budokan
  • Journey; February 7, 2017; recorded live CD/DVD Live in Japan 2017
  • ClariS; February 10, 2017; ClariS 1st Budōkan Concert ~Futatsu no Kamen to Ushinawareta Taiyō~ (ClariS 1st Budōkan Concert: Two Masks and the Lost Sun)
  • Versailles; February 14, 2017; Chateau de Versailles at Nippon Budokan
  • The Oral Cigarettes; June 16, 2017; Unofficial Dining Tour 2017 at Nippon Budokan
  • Taemin; July 1–2, 2017; TAEMIN The 1st Stage Nippon Budokan
  • Blackpink; July 20, 2017, Japanese Debut Showcase
  • After the Rain; August 9–10, 2017; AtR -Clockwise / Anti-Clockwise-
  • BanG Dream!; August 21, 2017; BanG Dream! 4th☆LIVE Miracle PARTY 2017!
  • Aimer; August 29, 2017; Live in Budokan "blanc et noir"
  • Dream Theater; September 11, 2017; Back to Budokan 2017
  • Nana Mizuki; January 11–21, 2018; NANA MIZUKI LIVE GATE 2018
  • Kalafina; January 23, 2018; Kalafina 10th Anniversary LIVE 2018 at Nippon Budokan
  • coldrain; February 6, 2018; FATELESS JAPAN TOUR 2017
  • Winner; April 28, 2018; WINNER Japan Tour 2018 ~We'll always be young~
  • Mariah Carey; October 31 and November 1, 2018; #1's Tour (Two sold-out shows)
  • Maaya Uchida; January 1, 2019; UCHIDA MAAYA New Year LIVE 2019「take you take me BUDOKAN!!」[18] (Sold out concert)[19]
  • Ensemble Stars!; January 13, 2019; Ensemble Stars! Starry Stage 2nd ~in Nippon Budokan~[20]
  • Milky Holmes; January 28, 2019; Milky Holmes Final Live Q.E.D.
  • Janet Jackson; February 10 and February 11, 2019; State of the World Tour (Two sold-out shows)[21]
  • BanG Dream!; February 21–23, 2019; BanG Dream! 7th☆LIVE
  • Inori Minase; June 28–29, 2019; Inori Minase LIVE TOUR 2019 Catch the Rainbow![22]

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;[23] 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.[24] 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[edit]

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.[25]

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.[26]

Other uses[edit]

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).


  1. ^ 日本武道館建物概要(アリーナ面積・座席表) (in Japanese). Nippon Budoukan. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  2. ^ "A stacked lineup of shows announced for NJPW in 2018, including a return to the legendary Budokan Hall! | NEW JAPAN PRO-WRESTLING". NJPW.
  3. ^ Swanson, Dave. "50 Years Ago: The Beatles Headline in Japan". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  4. ^ "Japan keeps Lennon's memory alive". BBC News. December 8, 2008. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  5. ^
  6. ^ 矢沢永吉、今年もヨロシク武道館 止まらない最多更新142回へ (in Japanese). Sponichi Annex. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  7. ^ Personal memoir, Todd Fischer
  8. ^ "Janet Jackson The Velvet Rope Tour (1998-1999)". Jackson Source. January 1, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Duran Duran Music". Duran Duran Music. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  10. ^ "Duran Duran DURAN DURAN TIMELINE". Duran Duran. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  11. ^ "see 'other'". Archived from the original on May 29, 2010.
  12. ^ "Lee Seung-gi Mesmerizes Fans in Japan's Budokan". HanCinema. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  14. ^ "LiSA、自身初の日本武道館ライブを振り返る - 「LiVE is Smile Always~今日もいい日だっ~in日本武道館」 (1) 日本武道館までの道程". マイナビニュース. June 17, 2014.
  15. ^ "[LiSA]LiVE is Smile Always~PiNK & BLACK~ in 日本武道館「いちごドーナツ」&「ちょこドーナツ」ライブ映像を4週連続で配信スタート☆".
  18. ^ 制作者. "2019年1月1日、日本武道館でのライブが決定! | 内田真礼オフィシャルサイト". 2019年1月1日、日本武道館でのライブが決定! | 内田真礼オフィシャルサイト (in Japanese). Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  19. ^ "内田真礼 Official STAFF on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  20. ^ "キャストライブ『あんさんぶるスターズ!Starry Stage 2nd 〜in 日本武道館〜』|スタステ2nd特設サイト". キャストライブ『あんさんぶるスターズ!Starry Stage 2nd 〜in 日本武道館〜』|スタステ2nd特設サイト (in Japanese). Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  21. ^ "Janet Jackson State of the World Tour 2019". Creativeman Productions. December 21, 2018. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  22. ^ "Inori Minase LIVE TOUR 2019 Catch the Rainbow!特設ページ". Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  23. ^ Unterberger, Richie (2006). The Unreleased Beatles: Music & Film. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 321–322. ISBN 978-0-87930-892-6.
  24. ^ The Beatles Rock Band: If I Needed Someone- Sight Read (100% FC Gold Stars). YouTube. September 5, 2009. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  25. ^
  26. ^ "DVIDS - News - III MEF Band impresses at Budokan". DVIDS. Retrieved November 13, 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Imperial Garden Theater
Host of the
Japan Record Awards

Succeeded by
TBS Broadcast Center