Not only can you enjoy watching Japanese fighting sports as a spectator, but also you can enjoy watching practice sessions or participating in the training for yourself. Fighting sports are very popular and embed in Japanese society in many ways. It is not just about attacking the opponent but about more broad psyche of Samurai spirit by respecting opponent. The masters will teach you the basic of those unique aspect of sports. There are many experience tours available for international tourists. All tours / lessons are in English (do not expect a good English !).
Sumo tournaments are so popular that often it is hard for tourist to get a ticket. If you missed it, you can still join a tour to see Sumo Wrestler’s practice. They train in a very traditional way and it is very fascinating to see it. This is the sumo wrestler’s real practice session (not a show). Most of tours are in Tokyo.
Viator offers a 2 hours Sumo practice visit tour in Tokyo. Click here for the details.
Voyagin offers an early morning Sumo practice session tour in Tokyo. Click here for the details
Japan wonder travels offers a 3 hour Sumo training watching tour in Tokyo. Click here for the details.
True Japan Tour offers a 3 hour Sumo training watching tour in Osaka. Click here for the details
If you are a Karate lover, the tours in Okinawa is more authentic and traditional. Okinawa is a birth place of Karate and still there are many old school Karate masters (more Samurai spirit). You can still taste of Karate in Tokyo. There are several tours available.
Japan holidays offers 1-5 days Karate tour in the sacred birth place of Okinawa. Please note Okinawa is a southern island and 2.5 hours flight from Tokyo. This tour is more for experienced Karate lovers. Check out the Karate Experience Tour
Viator offers 2hours a Karate lesson tour in Tokyo. Click here for the details.
Japan Dream Tour offers 2 hours Karate training Private Tour. You will visit one of Karate schools in Tokyo. Click here for the detail
Kendo experience tour is getting more popular as its origin is directly from Samurai fighting. However there are not many good tours available. Samurai Trip tour is good.
Samurai Trip offers a handful of specialized Kendo tours in Tokyo. Click here for the details.
Viator offers a half day Kendo experience tour in Tokyo. Click here for the details.
Klook offers 1.5 hour Kendo tour in Osaka. Click here for the details.
TripAdvisor offers 2hours Kendo tour in Kyoto. Click here for the details.
Other than hotels with fitness facilities, Gold’s Gym can be useful because they operate throughout Japan and they always sell a Day Pass to travelers at approx $25-$30. You need to bring your passport for ID check. If you are a frequent traveler in Japan and use the Gold’s Gym often, you can ask any Gold’s Gym in Japan to create the Visitor Card. It does not cost any money and you can avoid showing your passport and filling in the form each time to visit. If you are a member of Gold’s Gym in your own country, you need to ask your local gym in advance if your membership allows you to use the Gold’s Gyms in other countries for free of charge. It depends on your local Gold’s Gym membership.
Judo is so established domestically and internationally, there is no experience tour as such. However, many Judo lovers visit the Kodankan; the birth place of Judo in Tokyo. The Kodokan is open to anyone who want to learn Judo and provide many classes. (around $8 per class). A lots of Judo athletes, coaches and regular practitioners are visiting every day and there are many practice sessions are scheduled. There are some rules to join it. Click here for the details.
Aikido is an unique self-defence martial arts in Japan. It purpose is to read and control the opponent’s flow of mind and power. To do so you have to learn the balance of body, mind and spirit. They do not have any competitions or tournaments as it is not designed to fight to win. You might feel fake or dance if you see it first but it is real and Aikido techniques are used in many traditional Japanese fighting sports. This video is not a tour (it is a general explanation of Aikido).
Check out fitness hotels and gyms in other cities in Japan