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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 11:46 PM
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,111
Views: 1,681,450


In General Iwata Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #13 New 07-30-2010 09:00 AM
Iwata I went to Iwata budo supply store recently. The real name is Iwata Shokai.

In aikido we usually call the uniform a keikogi. In judo they call it a judogi - I suppose because they use the gi for other things (shiai and kata) as well as for normal keiko.

I used to buy my keikogis near Suidobashi station. Years ago there were many budo supply stores around there. The Kodokan (the world headquarters of judo) is close by. Most of those stores have closed down now.

My first keikogi from around there had a crazy-looking Daruma on the label but after that I usually went to Iwata. And I got my first hakama from there too. At that time they had a little shop right on the corner of the main crossing in Suidobashi.

That shop was knocked down many years ago. Now you have to go to Shin-Okubo, the next station to Shinjuku in Tokyo. It's a very cosmopolitan area. There are many ethnic shops and restaurants. You can buy photos of Korean pop stars there, or get dubious-looking phone cards cheap.

To get to Iwata you turn right out of the station and cross the street, then turn left down a narrow road towards the Lotte chewing gum factory.

Iwata is a small building on the left just before the factory. You slide open the door and step inside. It's very small - there's only room for three or four customers at a time. There is a rack of wooden weapons on the left and shelves upon shelves of keikogis and hakamas. There is the distinctive smell of new cotton keikogis.

The staff in Iwata have always been very, very kind. Years ago whenever I went there to order something they always chatted to me about Asoh Sensei or Arikawa Sensei. They knew lots of stories about the old days.

I still like Iwata white or black label keikogis very much for aikido. And Iwata hakamas are superb quality. I only wear Iwata hakamas now.

In Japan the relationship between a customer and a shop or company can have surprising depth. It isn't purely commercial. I remember a company president once explaining that in a severe economic downturn his employees worked for almost nothing so that they could keep giving a little business to small sub-contractors. Then when the economy improved those sub-contractors were still in business and the company could prosper with their help. So my relationship with Iwata, although it started out with me as an ordinary (and clueless) customer, has perhaps changed over the years into something a little more. I feel like a valued customer.

So thank you, Iwata, for my keikogis and my hakamas and your kindness and your smiles of welcome over nearly thirty years.         
Doumo arigatou gozaimashita. どうもありがとうございました. Korekara mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu. これからもよろしくお願いします. Thank you very much. I hope we can continue our good relationship in the future.

This is the link to the Iwata home page in English:


They accept PayPal now for orders from overseas. I recommend their aikido keikogis and especially their hakamas unreservedly.

By the way I never wash my keikogis or hakamas in hot water and I never use a dryer. And maybe I'm going to try this vinegar tip... http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...gar#post261909

photo: Iwata by lunasea1 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/27963866@N07/4841513700/) used under creative commons licence

niall matthews 2010
Views: 14623 | Comments: 14

RSS Feed 14 Responses to "Iwata"
#14 08-14-2011 09:39 AM
niall Says:
Yes Iwata products are very good quality. I like those furoshikis. It's the best way to carry a folded gi and the Iwata furoshiki is a perfect size - quite large. My friend Del always carried one of the duffel bags.
#13 12-21-2010 01:03 PM
guest1234567 Says:
We were in 2 stores on the other street side than the Kodokan, the 2nd one crossing a street from the other, I'll send you photos from the inside of the first one. Thanks for the google map so I have an idea were the other Iwata store was. Iwata has new products, a few tote bags, nice gi bags and furoshiki
#12 12-21-2010 09:44 AM
niall Says:
Maybe it was the same one but there were more budo shops there in those days. Iwata's shop was in Suidobashi too right on the crossing of Hakusan Dori and Sotobori Dori. You can see it on maps.google.com
#11 12-21-2010 05:11 AM
guest1234567 Says:
I started translating this post and realized that you used to buy your Keikogis near Suidobashi station,there are 2 stores there, I have been there also, in the first one coming from the Kodokan and crossing the street, one of my collegues were in there aprox. 4 hours, the man who does the embroidery has his right arm double so thick than his other arm, do you remember? And soon you will reach your 40.000 visits
#10 11-14-2010 04:56 PM
niall Says:
Sure, Carina!
#9 11-14-2010 10:17 AM
guest1234567 Says:
continued.. In the past years I ordered a few hakamas and black belts to Iwata for my spanish companions who doesn't understand english, and now I even know the name of the nice lady who always answered me and has all the information about me: Rieko. Pls Niall next time you go there give her my regards
#8 11-14-2010 10:16 AM
guest1234567 Says:
When we were in Shinjuku training in the Hombu Dojo we also went to Iwata, my teacher told me to buy a hakama as I would need one soon, I liked a blue one in a material that looked like silk, the nice employee told me they had only one left, but it would fit a woman, so I answered I'm a woman, but he said: a japanese small woman, my teacher who workes in a budo supply store in Las Palmas asked about the size: 24, he told me that it would be perfect for me, so I bought my first and only hakama.
#7 08-28-2010 04:09 AM
niall Says:
Thanks for that. In that interesting video they say that they made their hakama after discussions with aikido teachers. O Sensei wore Iwata hakamas. Also Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei and Saito Sensei wore Iwata hakamas and the present Doshu wears Iwama hakamas. How cool is that - to wear the same hakama as O Sensei. I don't know this company. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has bought aikido supplies from it. Iwata accepts PayPal. http://blog.export-manga.com/?lang=en
#6 08-27-2010 01:20 PM
export-manga Says:
Please have a look to this shop, I could get any kind of aikido Iwata products there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCOAuUmC6lY Export-Manga offers you exclusive handmade aikido products of the prestigious brand "Iwata Aikikai Aikido" from the heart of Japan. Visit our products section Iwata Aikikai Aikido link: http://www.export-manga.com/tienda/index.php/en/aikido_products.html
#5 08-01-2010 08:53 AM
niall Says:
Thanks Billy!
#4 08-01-2010 06:25 AM
Makochan Says:
I completely agree with Niall's comments about Iwata: I clearly remember my first (clueless) visit, my last visit when I left Japan & my final visit upon my return trip. The staff were always wonderful, always remembered me always made me feel very special. I thank them for that! Great blog Niall Best Billy
#3 07-30-2010 07:27 PM
niall Says:
Most aikidoka have a kind of relaxed attitude to their keikogis. Judoka have to be concerned about things like precise sleeve widths. And kendogis are sometimes very expensive.
#2 07-30-2010 07:22 PM
niall Says:
Thanks Rab (and thanks for your vinegar tip!). I don't know the shop but I've seen the keikogis. I'll check it out. I'm looking forward to seeing how Janet Rosen's hemp gis turn out too. Please call me Niall by the way.
#1 07-30-2010 01:26 PM
I have never seen an Iwata keikogi first hand but I've heard very many positive things about them. There is a small budo shop in Shinjuku called Sakuraya that is frequented by the Yoshinkan and others (if memory serves, Meik Skoss speaks highly of the shop). Are you familiar with them Matthews Sensei?

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