In addition to being the headquarters of the All Japan Naginata Federation, Itami is home to “Shubukan”, one of the top three privately run dojo in Japan. The city hosts a number of national level tournaments every year, and as such is known as a major center for naginata training.
Naginata is a martial art not dissimilar to kendo or Western fencing, and uses a long polearm called a “naginata”. In its modernized form, naginata matches resemble kendo matches, though there are ways of using the naginata that are unique to the weapon.
At Shubukan in Itami, the “Tendo-ryu” school of naginata is also practiced. Tendo-ryu is a composite martial art incorporating an array of weapons, but it is best for the techniques of the naginata.
The naginata itself was an important weapon in ancient Japan, but with the arrival of firearms became obsolete in battle. At this point, they were either owned by samurai as a decorative weapon or used by their daughters for self-defense. This association with samurai daughters persists today, with most practioners in Japan being women. However, naginata is also enjoyed by men, particularly outside Japan.
Visitors to Itami can visit Shubukan Dojo to watch or participate in a training session (reservation needed).