Badminton was introduced in Japan during the early 1900s, initially confined to private clubs catering to the wealthy. Post-World War II, the sport, like rugby, gained prominence, particularly in schools and local clubs. In response to this surge, the Nippon Badminton Association (NBA) was established in 1946 to foster the sport’s development.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) contributes to making badminton accessible globally. Collaboratively, the Japanese government, NBA and private organizations support this objective, offering funding and facilities for young players to practice and learn the game. This collaboration has significantly contributed to the popularity of badminton in Japan.
Today, badminton is widely embraced in Japan, prominently on television and in news discussions. Renowned Japanese players, including Kento Momota and Nozomi Okuhara, have succeeded internationally, increasing the sport’s popularity.
Badminton Tournaments in Japan
Japan hosts several prestigious badminton tournaments, each playing a unique role in the sport’s development. These tournaments include:
- Japan Open: The Japan Open is an annual international event as part of the BWF World Tour, renowned for its high level of competition and generous prize pool.
- Japan Masters: Japan Masters is a BWF World Tour event providing Japanese players with opportunities to compete internationally, contributing to the sport’s promotion.
- Osaka International Challenge: Osaka International Challenge is a BWF International Challenge series event attracting players from Asia and offering a platform for international exposure and ranking improvement.
- All Japan Badminton Championships: Focused on national talent, All Japan Badminton Championships provide a platform for Japan’s best players and contribute to developing national badminton standards.
- University Championships: Tailored for university students, nurturing young Japanese badminton players and contributing to the sport’s growth within academic settings.
- Inter-High School Championships: A cornerstone event for youth badminton in Japan, bringing together high school teams nationwide and serving as a platform for future talent.
Each tournament is crucial in supporting badminton at various levels, fostering a strong community of players and enthusiasts.
How to Start Badminton in Japan
In Japan, there are numerous options available for badminton enthusiasts, whether you’re a beginner or looking to improve your game. Local clubs and community centers throughout the country are perfect for those just starting, with a warm and friendly atmosphere and equipment rentals for those new to the sport.
For students, educational institutions often have badminton teams and excellent facilities, making it an ideal place to learn and socialize. Furthermore, aspiring professional players can greatly benefit from Japan’s top-tier training centers, where experienced coaches provide advanced training to help you refine your skills and elevate your game to a professional level.
If you live in Tokyo, you have specific options including:
- Tokyo Gaijins Badminton Club: A popular club among foreigners, Tokyo Gaijins organizes singles and doubles games for players of different skill levels. They usually played on weeknights and weekends.
- Tokyo Badcox: Tokyo Badcox is a club that offers five weekly double badminton games at different locations across Tokyo. Players of all levels and residency status are welcome to join, including short-term visitors to Japan.
- World Sports Tokyo Badminton Club: WoSP Badminton Club organizes casual sessions in central Tokyo, catering to players of various skill levels. The club primarily plays doubles but may switch to singles depending on the number of participants.
- Green Badminton Club: Green BC is a local club intended for intermediate players, so to join, you need to have a basic understanding of strokes and the ability to play doubles. This club usually holds practices three times a week.
Clubs Outside of Tokyo
If you live outside of Tokyo, there are still some options available to you, such as:
- Omoroi Badminton Osaka: Omoroi Badminton is a club in Osaka that offers casual games for anyone who loves the sport. In addition to badminton, they also enjoy playing other racket sports like pickleball.
- Ling’s Japanda Badminton Fukuoka: Japanda Badminton Club in Fukuoka is suitable for playing the sport more seriously. They offer personalized training for people of all ages and skill levels in group and individual sessions.
- Go Go Badminton Osaka: Go Go Badminton is a club in Osaka that welcomes players of all levels, with games played on weeknights or weekends. If you don’t have a racket, you also can rent one from them.
- Kyoto Badminton Group: Based in Kyoto, this badminton group is more aimed at beginners because the games are more casual than serious matches. They usually organize the game twice a month, mostly on weekends.
Do you play badminton in Japan? What clubs are out there for foreigners living in Japan. Let us know in the comments!