Wanna get some kendo equipment? This is your quick list of some retailers!

I assume you are attending the beginners’ course of HY, you are pondering about purchasing some of your own equipment(s), and you were told to check this out, so we don’t have to copy the same text to the WhatsApp group all the time. It’s all cool, we are happy that you are readimg this, because it means you will continue kendo! Yey!

In case you are not a beginner in our club, but you ended up here because our SEO optimization works: still cool! Also: don’t worry, this post will not only focus on Finland, so hopefully you will be able to make something out of it – if nothing else, you will get to know about different stores.

But now, let’s get down to business, so you can start practicing suburi at home, and so you can finally get rid of the stinky club bogu, and get your own!1

Are you located in Finland?

E-Bogu Finland (https://www.ebogu.fi/)

E-Bogu (see later) is a pretty well known store for kendo and other martial arts equipment. Its local branch, E-Bogu Finland is run by one of the head coaches of the Ki-Ken-Tai-Icchi Kendo Club in Helsinki, Mikko Salonen (7.dan kyosi). Mikko’s name is of course not only known in Finland: he has been a prominent kendoka internationally, has coached the Finnish kendo national team, and is frequently acting as a shinpan at the European Kendo Championships, the World Kendo Championships, as well as other international competitions.

Mikko is reliable, very fair, and in case there would be some issues with the product that you purchased from him (e.g. unexpected faults, etc.) he changes it back, or helps you in finding a good solution. Also, in case you wanted something, but you don’t find it on his website, he most likely can sort it out for you.

I usually advise our beginners to purchase the goods from him, as he allows them to take a look at the goods, explains about the products. In most cases he has the equipment in stock, so he is pretty easy to purchase from – naturally, with this option, you avoid the hassle with shipping, customs, etc.

Meijin Budoshop (http://www.meijin.fi/)

Meijin Budoshop is run by Jari Lampinen (5th dan) who is a regular practitioner of the Turku University Kendo Club. I personally do not have any experience in purchasing anything from him, but I know that his shop has been around for a fairly long time, catering not only for kendo and other martial arts, such as koryu, aikido practitioners.

Not having purchased anything from him myself, I can hardly share any personal experiences or insights. However, taking a quick look on the website, there is quite a bit selection of goods. Similarly to the case of E-Bogu Finland, you spare yourself the customs and/or trying-to-catch-the-postman-annoyance with buying from Meijin.

For Helsinki people: Jari visits Helsinki regularly, so you can probably check the equipment out yourselves in those instances.

The plus side about both E-Bogu Finland and Meijin Budoshop is, that you are able to check what you are buying, and you can get a person consulting you on your choice on the spot.

Other stores (AKA le wild selection, outside Finland) in random order2

All Japan Budogu – Zen Nihon Budogu (https://alljapanbudogu.world/)

All Japan Budogu is a very well-known seller of kendo (as well as other martial arts) equipment. They cater for the needs of practitioners all over the world. A number of kendoka from the Japanese national team use their products as well. My personal experience with AJB has always been very good. Even with the customs (about 27% of the price per product), their prices are very affordable, and the quality is great.

KendoStar (https://kendostar.com/)

KendoStar is owned and run by Andy Fisher (6. dan), who used to be a member of the national team of the United Kingdom, has previously been a shinpan at the EKC and other international competitions and he is currently coaching the GB team. The good thing about KendoStar is, that Andy puts quite a lot of effort into introducing his products to the wider audiences. This may be very useful when you don’t know much about kendo goods, but you are keen to learn. He also has a number of videos on etiquette, basic techniques, etc. so in case you wanna brush-up what you learned at our keiko, you can check his videos out. Anytime I ordered from him I found the service very quick and reliable – in special cases, there is always a disclaimer on his site, so you won’t be surprised. Whilst shipping from the UK, for most products KendoStar takes care of the customs charges – above a certain limit, which makes life a tad easier, I gotta admit.

Yokoo Budogu (https://yokobu.com/)

Based in Germany, run by two former German national team members, Dance Yokoo (7. dan) and Sascha Yokoo (7. dan). Both are well-known and very successful European kendoka. Sascha has previously been coaching the German national team, Dance has been in the most successful European female kendo team for years. Nowadays they are frequent shinpans at various international competitions, including the European Kendo Championships. Unfortunately I don’t have any experience in buying from them, but I know that they only offer Japanese high quality brands (incl. Bushuichi and Matsukan) and their shinai selection is pretty unique, also used by top kendoka in Japan. Big plus: no customs on your order, since the delivery comes from Germany!

E-Bogu (https://www.e-bogu.com)

The “original” E-Bogu, run by Taro Ariga (7. dan) who is a very successful former member of the Canadian national team, has coached the US junior team, as well as the Portugese team. As mentioned much earler, E-Bogu is perhaps amongst the most well-known retailers of kendo (and other martial arts) products for a pretty long time. Similarly to all non-European stores, if you order from them, you will need to bare the fees of the customs (27%-ish). I have actually never ordered from the “mother company” of E-Bogu, but of course I do have some E-Bogu products which I am pretty satisfied with!

Kendo24 (https://www.kendo24.com/)

Kendo24 has also been around for quite some time. They are located in Germany – AKA no customs! I have little to no experience with ordering or buying much from them besides shinais – which were pretty good actually. They have some nice accessories that don’t seem to be available at other places, for example amazing handmade tsuba and leather goods, which they also prepare on custom orders. So if you want to invest in some nice, unique tsuba, you might wanna hit them up. Also: they fix kendo equipment extremely well. I have asked them to change the palms on my kote multiple times, and they always did an amazing job, so in case you get to the point that your fingers are jiggling out of your kote: the place to go!

Nishiguma Budogu (https://www.nishigumabudogu.com/)

Nishiguma Budogu is based in France. Many of the current and former members of the French national team use and wear their products. They have very unique designs, and things you are surely not able to find at regular retailers. I have no personal experience with them, but if you are looking for something extravagant, they might be the place for you. Again, as they are based in France you don’t have to worry about the customs when you order from them.

Tozando International (https://tozandoshop.com/)

I have little to no experience with ordering things from Tozando. For some time, they were the only ones who sold my favorite heel protector (I know, it sounds silly) – so I was a returning customer of theirs for that. I bought a few things from them years ago when I lived in Japan and I needed something fairly basic. Unfortunately, as they deliver from Japan, you cannot avoid paying the customs for the orders either (as mentioned previously, 27%-ish).

Nine Circles (https://www.ninecircles.eu/)

Nine Circles has also been around for fairly long. In addition to kendo equipment, they also cater for quite a range of martial arts practitioners’ needs. They are based in the UK, but they do have a dedicated EU store (=no customs). I personally don’t have any experience with them, but they do seem to have a fairly big selection.

I guess this is it in a pretty big nutshell!

Ps.: not strictly kendo equipment, but go and check out our SpreadShirt store HERE if you want some HY merch for yourself to honor your new hobby.

  1. This post will not compare prices or specific products. This is partially due to the fact that as probably many kendoka who last a sufficient amount of years in this “business” I do have my preferences, and once I find something cool, I tend to buy and re-order that. This does not mean that other products or sellers would not be good enough, it simply means that I have my preferences. Of course, I have certain opinions about the pricing of certain sellers, but I feel like in many cases it would be semi-unfair to make comparisons between them, or if it would not be unfair, I would need to compare identical products (which I don’t want to do, really). ↩︎
  2. These will be much shorter descriptions, than those about the two Finnish retailers. Simply, because I don’t want to re-write War and Peace. ↩︎

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