The Road To KWC
(Or any other comp in Japan)
After seeing how most foreign players had some difficulty during their time at the Kendama World Cup, i thought i'd contribute a little by providing this guide of sorts.
I hope the guide below will help you loads, and let me know if there's anything you'd like to see added to this article.
Section 1 :
What to bring
- Coin purse / pouch / case : Coins are king in Japan, so a coin purse is the best way to go.
- Suica / Pasmo card : These make public transport travel easier. Accepted all over Japan, it's just tap-in, tap-out. Let the card worry about the fare, not you. Most convenience stores also accept Suica / Pasmo cards as a form of payment. Less cash in hand, less worry.
- Japan Rail Pass : If you are in Japan for extended periods of time, and you need to travel super long distances by train, look up the Japan Rail Pass. It’s a great way to travel.
- Train map : No, not the foldable kind. We're in 2018, fam. Surely there's an app for it, otherwise a simple Google image search will do. Save that map in your phone.
- Cooling towel : With temperatures reaching up to 35ºC/95ºF, July is also the most humid month in Japan, at around 70%. Do yourself a favor by getting a cooling towel. You'll be thankful you did.
- Water tumbler / bottle : In case you haven't the above, Japanese summers are brutal. Keep hydrated at all times.
- Portable Wi-Fi : Your cellular provider loves it when they get to slap you a huuuuge fee for internet roaming on your phone / tablet. Rent a portable Wi-Fi instead. They cost way lesser, it's easy to pick one up at the airport, and you can share it with multiple devices!
- Portable charger / power bank : Since you're in a foreign country, you'd definitely want to take a shipload of photos for granny and/or videos to film the ton of shenanigans us dama players create. Obviously you'll hate it when your juice runs out. DSLR and GoPro users should carry a few extra batteries.
- KWC Bonus : Bring a formal set of clothing. Gloken does not tell you this, but upon your visit to Miyajima Island, you'll be brought to a temple for a ceremony (to pray that KWC goes smoothly). A pair of pants that covers to the ankles and a shirt is recommended. Do also keep in mind that the summer is crazy hot, so a breathable set helps loads.
Section 2 :
What to do
- Learn some Japanese! As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. At least you get to show off some spiffy Japanese back home, be it accurate or not.
- Observe and follow. Sometimes, Googling "The best 20 things to do in Japan" just won't cut it. Check out where the locals hang out, break away from the touristy stuff, be lost and discover new things along the way. Ask around for the best ramen spot in the area. It's a great chance to mingle and do stupidly awesome stuff!
- Pack smart. Whenever you're in Japan, you will have the uncontrollable urge to purchase lots of merchandise and trinkets, especially kendamas. Pack your bags with that in mind, so you don't get delayed at the airport for excess baggage.
- Pack light. Japanese summers tend to be unforgiving to the average tourist. Breathable clothes, shorts and comfy, light shoes help so much.
- Don't expect Western showers wherever you go. Most places in Japan come with hot spring baths called Onsen (on-sand with a silenced D) where you're expected to go in completely.. err.. naked. This may be an awkward experience for the uninitiated, but the onsen has it's perks. You'll know when you try it.
Section 3 :
Where to go
This site on GLOKEN includes all the kendama shops and spots in Japan!
It's all in Japanese, though.
In Japan, there are several kendama stores and places of interest, and the noteworthy ones are:
TOKYO (東京) :
1 chome-7-6 3F Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo-to, Japan
- Spingear (Akihabara - 秋葉原)
GPS: 35.700947, 139.769602
(Alight at the Akihabara station, located roughly 7 mins from the Electric Town exit.)
Opening hours : Weekdays 13:00 ~ 20:00, weekends 11:00 ~ 20:00
Spingear is home to one of the most established yoyo stores in Japan, and they have started selling kendamas a few years back.
As with the other stores, imported kendamas are pricey, but Japanese made kendamas are cheaper than what you’d typically get.
6 chome-16-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo-to, Japan
- DECADE (Shibuya - 渋谷)
GPS: 35.665502, 139.703892
(Alight at the Shibuya station, it’s a 12 min walk north from the station.)
Opening hours : Everyday, 11:00 ~ 20:00
Decade is no stranger to the kendama world. Home to the infamous Nobu, Decade carries a wide range of kendamas, coupled with great streetwear.
There’s a great chance of meeting local players for jams in the evening.
3 chome-48-3 Kyojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo-to, Japan
- muu muu coffee (Sumida - 墨田)
GPS: 35.714052, 139.82377
(Close to three stations - Omurai, Tachibanadori and Hikifune. From which is a 7-15 min walk depending on disembarking station.)
Opening hours : 11:00 ~ 18:30, closed Wednesdays
I met the owner some time ago during my visit to Tokyo, purely by coincidence.
On the Facebook page, there seems to be some jams held regularly, plus they've got some good coffee!
2 chome-25-254 Kōenjiminami, Suginami-ku, Tokyo-to, Japan
- Club XIPHIAS (Koenji - 高円寺)
GPS: 35.700263, 139.649565
(30 min train ride, west of Tokyo. Alight at the Koenji station, walk 10 mins south to reach.)
Opening hours : Mon - Fri 17:00 ~ 02:00, Sat 14:00 ~ 02:00, Sun 14:00 ~ 00:00
Stylized as a biker bar (bikers do actually come here), it is home to the Kendagaya Club (you may notice some dama players that wear the Kendagaya Club rubber bracelets).
They serve up some mean burgers, soft tip darts, and a collection of damas from pros!
2 chome-30-3 Shintomichō, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama-ken, Japan
- Su Lab (Kawagoe - 川越)
GPS: 35.911525, 139.4806
(1-hour train ride northwest of Tokyo. Alight at the Kawagoeshi station, then walk for 6 mins)
Opening hours : 11:00 ~ 21:00, closed Thursdays and every third Wednesday of the month.
Su Lab is quite a travel, but worth the visit!
The shop has a pretty big place to jam, the in-house kendamas are worth buying.
Also has regular jams, home to one of the largest communities in Japan.
3-5 Sakaemachi, Nagai-shi, Yamagata-ken, Japan
- Kendama Hiroba Spike (Nagai - 長井)
GPS: 38.10672, 140.034877
(3.5-hour train ride north of Tokyo. Alight at the Nagai station, then walk for about 8 mins)
Opening hours : 10:00 ~ 17:00, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Kendama Hiroba Spike is Satoru Akimoto's workspace, so drop by and have a chat with him!
NAGANO (長野) :
#4 Arigasaki Bldg, 1 chome-1-25 Arigasaki, Matsumoto-shi, Nagano-ken, Japan
- Global Kendamas Network (Matsumoto - 松本)
GPS: 36.241557, 137.962488
(Nearly 3-hour train ride northwest of Tokyo. You need to take two trains to get to Kita-Matsumoto station, after which is a 10 min walk to the building.)
Opening hours : Unknown
Home to the one and only Gloken.
It’s not exactly a shop, so be courteous and call them a day ahead to make arrangements (Sometimes, they are doing work outside of the place). After all, you don’t want that 3-hour ride to turn sour, no?
HYOGO (兵庫) :
6 chome-10-5, Koyahigashi, Itami-shi, Hyogo-ken, Japan
- Nothing But Kendama (Itami - 伊丹)
GPS: 34.774765, 135.402084
(From Osaka Station, take the train northwest to Itami, then take a bus. It's a new place, so it will be easier to get Google Maps directions to "cafe Karen, Japan", and NBK is right next to it.)
Opening hours : Everyday, 12:00 ~ 22:00
A brand new shop which opened its doors on April 2018, NBK is frequented by the superhuman players from the Itami Dojo (Sweets Japan's Nonoka Kyodo, Ruri Kato, to name a few).
Finding it is a bit of a challenge, but you won't regret it.
HIROSHIMA (広島) :
2 chome-3-10 Hatsukaichi, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken, Japan
- Kendama Shop Yume (Hatsukaichi - 廿日市)
GPS: 34.35646, 132.336402
(2-hour train ride, west of Osaka. Take three trains and you’ll end up right in front of it.)
Opening hours : 10:00 ~ 19:00, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Kendama Shop Yume (formely known as Yumeken Shop and Salon) is a pilgrimage of sorts for people attending KWC. You’ll be brought there without fail every year.
Yume is located in the heart of “Dama Village”, said to be the origin of mass-produced kendama. Nearly every shop in Dama Village has something to do with kendama.
4 chome-14-35 Kanonshinmachi, Nishi-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken, Japan
- Kendama Shop Yume - Marina Hop (Nishi - 西)
GPS: 34.359742, 132.416492
(2-hour train ride, west of Osaka. Take three trains, alight at Hiroshima station, take the bus to the Marina Hop shopping mall.)
Opening hours : Everyday, 10:00 ~ 20:00
This came into my knowledge recently, thanks to Cedric Troost.
This Yume branch operates within the Marina Hop shopping mall, overlooking the Hiroshima Bay.
It's quite a sight.
1 chome-17 Tsuchido, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken, Japan
- Kendama Rock Cafe (Onomichi - 尾道)
GPS: 34.406981, 133.200144
(2-hour train ride, west of Osaka. Take three trains, alight at Onomichi station, head east for 10 min along the coastline.)
Opening hours : Everyday, 11:00 ~ 18:00
Haven't been to this one, too.
Heard a lot of good things about them from their Instagram.
Similar to muumuu, this is a coffee/kendama shop.
Pretty popular for jams too.
FUKUOKA (福岡) :
SK Bldg III-101, 1 chome-5-28, Kego, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka-ken, Japan
- DECADE FUKUOKA (Fukuoka - 福岡)
GPS: 33.58441, 130.395776
(Located down south of Japan, it's a good place to visit, should you find yourself around the area.)
Opening hours : Everyday, 11:00 ~ 20:00
Have never been here either, so about the only thing that can be said is that this is DECADE's Fukuoka outlet!
KAGOSHIMA (鹿児島) :
2F Ugawa Bldg, 18-7, Higashisengokucho, Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima-ken, Japan
- BOUNCE (Kagoshima - 鹿児島)
GPS: 31.592723, 130.553847
(Located at the southern most tip of Japan, on Kyushu Island. 10 mins southwest from the centre of Kagoshima, by two tram rides - get down at Temmonkandori station and walk northwest for 3 mins.)
Opening hours : Everyday, 11:00 ~ 20:00
Not much detail is known about this shop, other than it being a retailer to streetwear. Their website shows mostly imported kendamas, and Bounce is home to the Kagoshima City Kendama Crew. A small walk towards the shoreline, and you'll be greeted with the gorgeous (yet active) Mount Sakurajima.
HOKKAIDO (北海道) :
5 chome-1-20 Nishimachiminami, Nishi-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaidō, Japan
- Yoyospace AS (Nishi - 爾志)
GPS: 43.078177, 141.289923
(30 min train ride northwest of Sapporo station. Two trains, disembark at Hassamuminami station and walk 6 mins south.)
Opening hours : Mon - Fri 15:00 ~ 19:30, Sat - Sun 11:00 ~ 20:00. Closed Thursdays.
While not as big in popularity to Spingear and Rewind, Yoyospace AS is a pretty well known yoyo store in Japan, selling kendama goods.
You'll see the best 1A yoyo player in northern Japan here (and also skilled in kendama) - Kentaro Mannen.
20170421 - Added Gloken "Kendama Spot" website link.
20170205 - Added new tip in "What to bring". Thanks @htimSxelA for the submission!
20170201 - Added Bounce Kagoshima (thanks @RodDama for the submission!). Added Yoyospace AS. Added new tip in "What to do".
20170131 - Added Changelog section. Added opening hours to store info. Removed la terra chicken (moved to other location).
20180313 - Added more info to Sulab's opening hours
20180526 - Promoted to article, streamlined look and feel. Massive updates to text, and addresses. Added Yume - Marina Hop, Nothing But Kendama, and Hiroba Spike.
The Road to KWC (or any other comp in Japan)
By azleonhart on Jan 12, 2017 at 9:57 PM
Last edited: May 25, 2018Jan 12, 2017