How to buy Japanese Kendo equipment?

What is Kendo?

Kendo or the “way of the sword” is a Japanese martial art or budō that is technically fencing with a two-handed wooden sword. The art is derived from the fighting style of samurais. Since peace had been achieved through the unification of Japan around 1600, most opportunities for actual sword combat has been eradicated. The swordsmanship, however, has not lost all its beauty. The kendōka or kenshi turned kendo into a mean of cultivating the culture, discipline, patience, and skill for building character. The practice armor bōgu and shinai, a sword made of bamboo were introduced in the 18th century to allow realistic fencing without risk of injury. Today, kendo is often taught in Japanese schools. An All-Japan Kendo Federation was formed following the end of the occupation in 1952, and an International Kendo Federation was founded in 1970.

How does a Kendo match work?

Each contestant or kenshi wears a traditional outfit with safety gadgets. The culturally appropriate combination of uwagi (jacket), hakama (long divided skirt),  (chest protector), tare (waist protector), men (mask), and kote (padded gloves) makes every match historical. A match is won by who can garner two points first. The encounter happens on about 30 to 36 feet square. Scores are awarded for blows on the left side, right side, or top of the head; the right or left wrist; the right or left side of the trunk; and for a thrust to the throat. Additionally, the attacker should call out the strike with his or her blow. The strikes are done with the shinai, which varies from 43 to 46 inches in length, depending on the players preference. There are two sides to each shinai, blows should be made using the supposedly sharp edge, though this is not sharp, while holding it with two hands.

kendo match

Where to buy my equipment from Japan?

Buying Kendo equipment in Japan is a possibility. And it is quite easy. It is also a guarantee of authenticity and quality products. Unfortunately for consumers outside of Japan, getting your hands on Japanese equipment is often a difficult process. That’s where you’ll need Neokyo‘s help, which will make it easy for you to get all the necessary accessories!

Neokyo is an intermediary for your purchases in Japan. This means that we buy products on your behalf from Japanese stores. You can store your items and send them internationally with the shipping method of your choice. Rather useful to treat yourself with Japanese products.

With Neokyo, you have 3 ways to purchase Kendo equipment:

  • Use the Neokyo search bar. Just type in the word Kendo (剣道), choose a store and browse the offers.
  • Buy from stores that are specialized in kendo. We recommend: bokken shop and tozando.
  • Bid on Yahoo Auctions.

What are the items I need to be a full-pledged kendoka?

Here is all the equipment you need to practice Kendo, you can of course get it all from Neokyo:

  • Shinai or bamboo saber for practicing Kendo, the “way of sword”.
shinai kendo
  • Kote: hand protections. Kotes are very resistant and absorb shocks well.
kote kendo
  • You need to choose a Keiko-gi (Kimono of the West) that supports the intensive training that you go through. It is a light and resistant outfit which perfectly adapt to the movements of the kendo and provide a feeling of comfort.
Keiko-gi kendo Kimono
  • Hakama that signifies freedom in movement and weightlessness. It can come in different models by material: polyester, cotton, tetron. It provides comfort in addition to being very durable.
Hakama Kendo
  • Tenugui which is a rectangular cotton fabric put on the head to practice the Kendo.
tenugui kendo
  • Kendo Mask for protection during practice and on the actual match.  
kendo mask

Now you have the whole uniform to practice properly Kendo!


Wherever you are in the world, Neokyo has made it possible for you to immerse in the Japanese teachings of discipline through the art of Kendo. Now, good luck on your Kendo training, fellow kenshi!

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