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FAQ For Foreign Visitors

For those who are living abroad and wish to train at Hombu Dojo
Anyone who is a member of the Aikikai Foundation can train at Hombu Dojo. Information below are frequently requested regarding this.

Etiquette for Practice

Etiquette for Observation

Other General FAQ

Etiquette for Practice

P-01) Can I practice at Hombu Dojo if I am not a member of Aikikai?
 No, basically you need to be a member of Aikikai.
 If your dojo is under the umbrella of Aikikai, please complete the enrollment procedures through your dojo before you come to Hombu Dojo. You can enroll in Aikikai at Hombu dojo, in that case, the consumption tax will be charged.

P-02) If I am a member of Aikikai, do I need to bring my Aikikai ID?
 Yes, please bring your Yudansha book and/or your Aikikai ID card.

P-03) Does the Aikikai Foundation provide any kind of support for visa application to enter Japan?
 The Aikikai Foundation Aikido World Headquarters has previously supported some applications for "Cultural Activities" visas for persons enrolled in Aikikai.
 Aikikai accepts inquiries only from Aikikai-affiliated organizations.
 For in-depth information on entering Japan and visas, please contact your local embassy or consulate, or the Immigration Services Agency of Japan.
 Aikikai is unable to support all interested parties.

P-04) Do you have trial classes?
 No, we don’t have such a system.

P-05) Can I enter the class at any time?
 No, please be on the mat before the class starts. Please see the timetable.

P-06) Can I practice for just one class?
 Yes, if you are a member of Aikikai, you can pay a one-day fee which allows you to practice in as many classes as you wish (except the women’s special course). For class fees please see Join Us.

P-07) Can I practice for one month?
 Yes, if you are a member of Aikikai, you can practice for one month. (Please pay the monthly fee.)

P-08) Can I get a keiko-gi/do-gi (practice uniform) at Hombu Dojo?
 Yes, you can get a keiko-gi at the reception desk. However, keep in mind there are size and inventory limitations.

P-09) Can I rent a keiko-gi at Hombu Dojo?
 No, we don't provide a rental keiko-gi. However, you can borrow a white obi (belt).

P-10) How to practice at Hombu
 Please refer to this movie.

P-11) Can I practice in sportswear?
 No, only a white keiko-gi is acceptable.

P-12) For how many classes can I use the same keiko-gi?
 As a general rule, please use a clean keiko-gi for each class. Please be considerate of your practice partner(s).

P-13) Can I wear a hakama?
 Yes, but at Hombu Dojo a hakama is worn by women from 3rd kyu and by men from 1st dan. Please follow Hombu Dojo’s customs.

P-14) Can I leave during the class?
 No, essentially you should stay on the mat until the class is finished.
 If you need to leave early for some reason, please get the instructor’s permission in advance.

P-15) How can I enter the dojo?
For Beginners Class (2nd Floor) - You have to enter through the left side door.
- Kneel down (seiza) and bow to the front (shomen).

For Regular Class (3rd Floor)  For men, please enter through the door inside the men’s changing room.
 For women, please enter through the door next to the stairs.
- Kneel down (seiza) and bow to the front (shomen).

P-16) How can I leave the dojo?
 Go back to the same entrance where you entered, kneel down and bow to the front, then leave the dojo.

P-17) Can I practice in the beginners’ class even though I am 1st Dan or higher?
 No, if you are 1st Dan or above, please practice in the regular class.
 The beginners' class is for persons without Dan grades (white belts) only.

P-18) Can I drink water during practice?
 Drinking water or sports drinks during class is allowed on a necessary basis. In the hot season, the instructor will make a break for drinking during the class, otherwise you should ask permission from your partner to drink. Please keep in mind to:
- Leave your bottle at the back of the dojo against the wall (cans are not allowed).
- Don't drink when the instructor is teaching.
- When you drink, please sit down in seiza and face the wall.

P-19) What happens if the class starts and I have no partner?
 Please sit in seiza on the wooden floor and say to some pair ”onegaishimasu”, then join them.

P-20) Can I take videos or photos during the class?
 No, taking videos is not allowed during the class. Taking photos (still pictures) is also not allowed during the class; except the case that previous permission and agreement are obtained from Hombu about taking pictures and purpose of using them.

P-21) Can I participate in the cleanup after practice?
 Yes, please join the cleanup in a positive manner. We appreciate it if you could help clean up the dojo which you have practiced.

P-22) Can I put on my hakama in the dojo?
 No, please finish changing in the changing room before you get onto the mat.

P-23) Where can I fold my hakama?
 You can fold your hakama on the mat after the dojo clean-up. We recommend you do it at the back of the dojo close to the wooden floor so as not to disturb others that are cooling down and not to block the bowing areas near the entrance.

P-24) What else should I be aware of to not be disrespectful during the class?
 When the instructor is teaching in the front, please focus on his instruction in seiza.
 Please refrain from the following:
- Using a towel during the instructor’s teaching.
- Rearranging your keikoi-gi, belt or hakama during the instructor’s teaching.
- Rearranging your hair during the instructors teaching.

P-25) Can I enter the dojo at any time?
 You may enter the dojo 30 minutes before the class starts including the time to get dressed and warm-up and can stay in the dojo for 30 minutes after the class for cooling down.

P-26) Does Hombu Dojo provide accommodations?
 No, we don’t provide any kind of accommodations.

P-27) Does Hombu Dojo have laundry facilities?
 No, we don’t have laundry facilities available for members.

P-28) Can I wear socks during class?
 No, as a general rule socks or tabi (Japanese traditional socks) are not allowed.

P-29) Can I wear accessories during practice?
 No, please remove rings, earrings, piercings, necklaces watches and other jewelry before practice.

P-30) Can I leave my fingernails long?
 No, please keep your fingernails clean and cut short in order not to hurt your partners.

P-31) I have a Kyu grade, can I practice in the regular class?
 Members with Kyu-grades are not restricted to the beginners class. However, Hombu Dojo members usually start practicing in the regular class from 3rd Kyu.
 If you feel insecure about joining the regular class, we recommend you to watch a regular class first and make up your mind.
 Another option is to try a beginners class first and consult the instructor in charge.

Etiquette for Observation

O-01) Can I do kengaku (observing a class) anytime?
 Yes, you can watch any class. Preferably please come to the dojo before the class starts. Please refer to the timetable.
 If you want to watch an Aikido Academy class, you need to ask beforehand. You can’t watch the grading exam.

O-02) Do I have to take my shoes off?
 Yes, please take your shoes or footwear off and leave them in the shoe boxes on the left side wall of the entrance hall. Also, please take off your coat, hat, scarf, gloves and sunglasses.

O-03) When I observe, what kind of clothes should I wear?
 Please visit in moderate clothes. You don’t need to wear a keiko-gi (practice uniform).
 (Please avoid skimpy clothing and gaudy dress).

O-04) Can I wear socks when I do kengaku (observing a class)?
 Yes, you can wear socks during kengaku.

O-05) How can I enter the dojo to do kengaku (observing a class)?
Case A: Please follow the receptionist’s guidance and instruction.
Case B: If a receptionist it is not available and you have to go up by yourself, please follow the instructions bellow:
 Please wait in front of the door until you get the permission from the instructor.
(He will make eye contact or nod as his permission to enter the class.)

For Beginners Class
- Please enter through the left side door.
- Kneel down (seiza) and bow to the front (shomen).
- Please sit down on the wooden floor next to the emergency exit area.
(To reach the sitting area, please walk along the wall and don’t cross the center of the dojo).

For Regular Class
- Please enter through the door next to the stairs.
- Kneel down (seiza) and bow to the front (shomen).
- Please sit on the wooden floor under the kengaku sign area.
(To reach the sitting area, please walk along the wall on the wooden floor. Do not cross the center of dojo).
 For a more accurate view, please see the Hombu Dojo Virtual Tour.

O-06) How should I sit during kengaku (observing a class)?
 Please sit in seiza (Japanese traditional sitting style) when the instructor shows techniques, if possible. If it’s difficult, you can sit in agura (sitting cross-legged) but please sit with good posture, and please don’t watch with your chin resting on your hand(s) nor lean against the wall. We can prepare a simple chair, if you want.

O-07) Can I leave during the class?
 Yes, you can, but please avoid frequent coming and going which might interfere with the practice.

O-08) Can I take photos or videos during kengaku (observing a class)?
 No, taking photos and/or videos is not allowed.

O-09) What else should I be aware to not be disrespectful during kengaku (observing a class)?
 Would you please refrain from the following:
- Using a cell phone   - Leaning against the wall   - Standing up
- Crossing your arms   - Stretching your legs   - Drawing up your knees
- Stretching   - Talking/chatting   - Taking notes
- Watching with your chin resting on your hand(s)
- Behaviors/actions/movements which will interfere with the practitioners.

Other General FAQ

G-01) I am a member of Hombu Dojo. How can I take a grading examination?
 If the number of training days reaches the specified number of days for the grading examination before the examination date of application, please apply at the reception desk with the application form along with the fee. Please refer to here for details.

G-02) I am a member of Aikikai but not practicing at Hombu Dojo. Can I take a grading examination at Hombu dojoduring my stay in Tokyo?
 If you wish to take an examination at Hombu dojo, you need to satisfy the following conditions :
1. Basically examinations shall be taken at the dojo where you normally practice. Only if there are unavoidable circumstances, you will be approved to take the examination as a visitor at Hombu dojo.
2. Aikikai members who will take a grading examination at Hombu dojo need to participate in regular class for at least one (at Hombu dojo) before the examination.
3. Please submit the application form together with the fee to the front desk by yourself by Thursday prior to the day of examination.
4. Examinees who apply for the arrangement above are limited to those who can submit the following documents prepared by the head of their dojos/organizations:
*a written permission for taking the grading examination at Hombu dojo
*certificate of the number of training days after you took current grade
*examinees need to submit the copy of your current rank certificate/diploma
5. The results of the examination will be announced on the next Tuesday of the examination. After checking the results, successful examinees need to take procedures of registration together with payment of the fees and then receive the diplomas at the front desk of Hombu dojo. (The diploma can be received on Wednesday morning at the earliest.) Basically request for registration by remittance and/or diploma delivery by mail will not be accepted.

G-03) Can I be a live-in student at Hombu Dojo?
 No, as a general rule, we don’t have such a system at Hombu Dojo.

G-04) Do you provide a scholarship program to practice at Hombu Dojo?
 No, we don’t provide such a program.

G-05) Could my 8-year-old child practice at Hombu Dojo during our stay in Tokyo?
 Yes, but there are some conditions, so please inquire by e-mail in advance. (

G-06) Can I buy sport safety insurance if I will practice for one month only?
 Yes, you can buy it. It is non-refundable insurance and valid until the end of March from when you buy it. Please contact us at the reception desk for details.

G-07) How much is the initial cost?
 Roughly 20,000 JPY for the enrollment fee and monthly fee.?
 10,000~15,000 JPY for dogi / keiko-ogi (practice uniform) depending on your body size.

G-08) Do you know any dojo near where I live?
 Would you please check our website section Overseas Organizations.
 For dojos in Japan, you can search here (Japanese only).

G-09) Could I ask some questions about waza (techniques) to instructors?
 Yes, please ask at the front desk after the lesson. The receptionists will pass on your questions to the instructors or introduce you to them if they are available.

G-10) Could I use credit card at Hombu Dojo?
 No, we accept Japanese yen only.

G-11) Can I meet with my Aikido friends in front of the building across the street of Hombu Dojo?

 No, please stay on the Hombu Dojo side of the street when you meet, wait for, or chat with your Aikido friends before/after the class. Please cooperate with us in order NOT to cause any annoyance to the neighborhood.

G-12) What is written in Japanese language in the Dan grade diploma?
 Please click here.

G-13) What kind of fees do I need to prepare if I will take a grading examination at Hombu Dojo?
 You need to pay an examination fee by Thursday of the week prior to the examination date. If you pass the examination, you need to pay registration fee for your promotion.