kendo kyototaikai

Kyoto Taikai 2022

Finally, it’s back! The Kyoto Taikai has been held every year since 1895 except in cases of Tenran-jiai, war, occupation, or – as in our current situation – pandemic. The first three taikai were held in a makeshift tent in the grounds of Heian-Jingu* before being moved to the Butokuden after its completion in 1899. I’ve written a lot about it before, so please check out past articles.

Due to the current situation the taikai was very much an abbreviated one due to no spectators being allowed. Participants were also expected to do their embu and leave promptly (we were also required to submit a document detailing our temperatures – taken twice daily – and where/who they had their breakfast, lunch, and dinner with for the two weeks prior to the event). As such, participant numbers were far lower than usual.

Kyoto Taikai participant numbers

One positive did come out of this – the event was streamed live. There were two cameras set looking at each side. As it turns out this was generally fine for the kendo portion of the event when only a single pair did their tachiai at a time, but when multiple people are demonstrating at the same time – as happens on day one – you can’t see things so clearly. Anyway, I hope they continue to stream the event in the future, pandemic or not.

Today’s post is just a mini one sharing some links to the live stream as well as a handful of pics I managed to take in-between things. Nothing deep or meaningful I’m afraid!

( *Way back in the mists of time many different arts demonstrated at the taikai, including horsemanship and gunnery. These, of course, were held in different locations. )

Day one

On this day the taikai starts with koryu (starting with spear then moving on to mostly kenjutsu) then naginata, jodo, and finally iaido.

BTW, this day is always the 2nd of May, which isn’t a national holiday. This part of the taikai always has low numbers unless it falls on a weekend.

Day one (East side). Vid from the other side can be seen here.

Days two, three, and four

The next three days are the kendo portion of the taikai (all fall on national holidays, or Golden Week proper).

Day two is Renshi 6dan – Kyoshi 7dan; day three is Kyoshi 7dan; and day four is Kyoshi 8dan – Hanshi 8dan.

Day two (West). Other side is here.
Day three (East). Other side is here.
Day four (West). Other side is here.


I wasn’t really taking pictures or video this year. We were told that we would be kicked out straight after our embu… which wasn’t actually the case. If I had known that I could’ve taken better gear. Anyway, enjoy!

By George

George is the founder and chief editor of
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