Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, c. 1965.

1960sArchitectureNotable LandmarkSports & Athletics
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Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, c. 1965. The arena was designed by Yamada Mamoru, strongly influenced by the Yumedono (Hall of Dreams) at Nara. The roof lines are meant to suggest Mt. Fuji.

See also:
1964 Summer Olympics Venues, Tokyo.
Olympic Village née “Washington Heights” US Military Housing Complex, Tokyo, 1964.

“The Nippon Budokan (‘Japan Martial Arts Hall’, often shortened to simply Budokan) was purpose-built for the inaugural Olympic judo competition in the 1964 Summer Olympics.

“It is located in Kitanomaru Park, originally the location of the northernmost section of Edo Castle during the Tokugawa period, which served as both a medicinal garden and a secure residential compound for members of the Tokugawa extended family. Two gated entrances survive there from Edo Castle – the Shimizu-mon and further north the Tayasu-mon.

“Yumedono at Jioguoin”, Horiuji, Nara, c. 1910. The octagonal Yumedono [“Hall of Dreams”] is one of Horyuji temple’s most impressive buildings. It was commissioned in 739 C.E. as a monument to Prince Shotoku Taishi. The historic temple served as the model for the design of Nippon Budokan in Tokyo more than 1,200 years later.

“While its primary purpose is to host martial arts contests, the arena has gained additional fame as one of the world’s most outstanding musical performance venues. The Budokan was a popular venue for Japanese professional wrestling for a time, and it has hosted numerous other sporting events such as the 1967 Women’s Volleyball World Championship. Most recently, the arena hosted the Olympic debut of karate in the 2020 Summer Olympics, as well as the judo competition at both the 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Summer Paralympics.

“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.

Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, 1964, under construction.

“A number of famous rock music acts have played at the Budokan. The Beatles were the first rock group to perform at the Budokan in a series of five shows held between June 30 and July 2, 1966. Their appearances were met with opposition from those who felt the appearance of a western pop group would defile the martial arts arena. ABBA ended their last tour and held their final live performance there in March 1980. Numerous acts have recorded live albums at the Budokan, most notably the rock quartet Cheap Trick.

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


Nippon Budokan, across an imperial moat in Kitanomaru Park, c. 1970.

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