Tokyo • Saturday, July 2, 1966 • 6:30pm show

ConcertBy The Beatles • Part of the 1966 Japan and Philippines Tour
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Nippon Budokan

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On this day, The Beatles performed their two last shows at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, the first one at 2 pm, and the second one at 6:30 pm. Those were the fourth and fifth of five concerts they played at this venue during their 1966 Japan tour.

Throughout their stay at The Tokyo Hilton from June 30 to July 2, The Beatles welcomed a variety of visitors — journalists, merchants, and others — in their suite. They also had enough to create a collaborative abstract painting.

Before this last concert, they met with journalist Hoshika Rumiko, who previously interviewed them in London in June 1965. The result was published in the August 1966 edition of the Japanese music magazine “Music Life”.

[…] I met the Beatles for the first time since their arrival in Japan on the afternoon of July 2. I was the only journalist to receive an official invitation to visit them in their presidential suite on the tenth floor of the Tokyo Hilton. There was a constant stream of people coming and going, and the atmosphere wasn’t at all conducive to a conventional interview. The band members hadn’t been given permission to leave the hotel, and were whiling away their time sketching doodles for fans and listening to the records of Japanese folk songs they had received from the tour’s sponsors. When I entered the room they were looking at cameras and other souvenirs that had been brought in for their perusal, including various kimono and obi. They seemed particularly interested in cameras, and I remember them asking Hasebe Hiroshi, my photographer, for advice on which were the best to buy.

John kept coming and going in and out of the room. Suddenly he picked up a glass of orange juice that had been sitting on top of a table, raised it high and shouted out something. I wasn’t sure, but it sounded to me like “The Beatles will fade out.” Everyone treated this as a joke and laughed it off, but Ringo who was next to me pointed over at Epstein and said “Brian. We’ve made all this money, but where can we spend it? We’re not allowed out of the hotel.” Later, Epstein came over to me and put his finger to his lips. “You mustn’t write anything about what John just said,” he told me. He was serious. […]

Rumi Hoshika – From When Beatlemania Came to Japan |, July 28, 2016

They had the seating exactly arranged in all the cars. Amazing efficiency, that we’d never seen the like of in Britain. When we went to the gig they had the fans organised with police patrols on each corner, so there weren’t any fans haphazardly waving along the streets. They had been gathered up and herded into a place where they were allowed to wave, so we’d go along the street and there’d be a little ‘eeeeek!’ and then we’d go a few more hundred yards and there’d be another ‘eeeeek!’

At the Budokan we were shown the old Samurai warriors’ costumes, which we marvelled at dutifully in a touristy kind of way: ‘Very good! Very old!’

We were more amazed to see the women leaping up out of the seats for the promoter, because we’d never seen that in the West. The subservience of the women was amazing. They’d say, ‘Oh God, I’m sorry – was I in your seat?’ I remember us getting back to Britain and saying to our wives and girlfriends, ‘I wouldn’t want you to do that, but maybe it’s a direction worth considering?’ Promptly rejected.

We got into our yellow shirts and natty bottle green suits. The thing about suits was that they always made us feel part of a team. When we arrived we were in our civvies, but once we put those on we were The Beatles! – the four-headed monster. It was good for me that we all wore the same, in that I really felt part of a unit.

Peeping from behind the stage to watch the place fill up, we saw police walk in from either side and fill the whole of the front row, upstairs and downstairs. After them, the crowd was allowed to come in. They were very well behaved compared to what we’d seen of Western crowds, but they seemed to enjoy it.

There was a funny local group on stage before us. This was in the days when the Japanese didn’t really know how to do rock’n’roll, although they’ve now got the hang of it pretty well. They sang a song that went, ‘Hello Beatles! Welcome Beatles!’ – something pretty naff in rock’n’roll terms, but it was very nice of them to do it. Our show went down quite well.

Paul McCartney – From “The Beatles Anthology” book, 2000

The audience were reserved, but they were up on their feet – or they tried to be, but there were police all around the stadium with cameras with telephoto lenses, and anybody who stood up and looked like they were going to run toward the stage was photographed. The people were very restricted as to what they could do and how they could respond to us. It was a warm reception – but a bit clinical, as Japan is.

George Harrison – From “The Beatles Anthology” book, 2000

George’s version of what the security people got up to in the Budokan was blissfully naïve, to say the least… Those guys were hoping to spot potential snipers in the audience and if they had done so the cameras could have been exchanged for firearms in a split second. At the same time Paul told the Anthology how efficiently the guards along our two-mile route from the Tokyo Hilton to the Budokan collected up the fans and grouped them neatly at street corners and on bridges rather than letting them wander around haphazardly. The truth is that the authorities feared the studios might have placed terrorist gunmen along the route and by herding the fans into well-contained little groups they were clearing their own field of fire and reducing the risk of stray bullets hitting fans.

Tony Barrow – From The Beatles Bible

Paul McCartney played the Budokan again in 2015 as part of his “Out There” tour and in 2017 as part of his “One On One” tour.

What was the most memorable thing about playing the Budokan concert [with The Beatles] and why did you decide to return to the venue [in 2015]?

The most memorable thing about the concert was the fans, who were sensational. But what struck us as being just as memorable were the security arrangements that were put in place. The whole front row of the balcony was police, and we saw them all walking in. And as we were going to the show, all the fans were corralled on each street corner and guarded by police. So as we went by they went, ‘Eeeeeeehh!!’ And then there’s nothing for the next block or two. And then ‘Eeeeeeehhh!!’ It was zany because we’d come from England and the US where it had been mayhem. So when I think of the Budokan show I think of the fans first, and then security second.

Why go back and play there again? Just because it was such a special venue to play and I have a particularly special feeling about it. So when someone said there was a possibility of playing there again I jumped at the chance for old times’ sake.”

Paul McCartney – From, March 28, 2015

From Tokyo Performance – The Beatles History (
From Tokyo Performance – The Beatles History (
From Tokyo Performance – The Beatles History (
From Tokyo Performance – The Beatles History (
From Performance in Tokyo – The Beatles History (
From RollingStone – Shimpei Asai – “I had never felt this before. I did know about hysterical fans, but the atmosphere in the Budokan was different. It was as if all the audience shared one idea, and this was the only time they had.”
From Tokyo Performance – The Beatles History ( – Photo by Robert Whitaker.
From Performance in Tokyo – The Beatles History (

Last updated on November 4, 2023

Nippon Budokan

This was the 5th concert played at Nippon Budokan.

A total of 8 concerts have been played there • 1966Jun 30thJul 1st (2pm show)Jul 1st (6:30pm show)Jul 2nd (2pm show)Jul 2nd (6:30pm show)2015Apr 28th2017Apr 24thApr 25th


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