I understand that the best judo (elite guys and girls) mostly train at the universities. But for a complete novice (with very little japanese language ability) where would be a good place to train? The kodokan the best option?
Anyone trained at the Kodokan? Any comments appreciated.
For a novice, without doubt, the Kodokan is the best place in Tokyo for judo.
You can take a beginners course leading up to black belt.
When I was going there, there were instructors who knew some decent English, but also a lot of Japanese who spoke English and some foreigners who spoke Japanese, so language was never an issue.
If you're more advanced, usually only on wednesdays will you find some solid competition, but the Kodokan office or other foreigners you meet may introduce you to other place to train that are recommended by the Kodokan.