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Samurai Sword and Armor

Okamoto N.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Okamoto N.

Last updated : Dec 01, 20136 min read


What is Samurai??

In Japanese, Samurai is usually used as same meaning as bushi or buke, which refers to the military nobility of medieval and early modern Japan. Samurai was usually used as lower government official who worked for higher ranked Japanese Court Officials.
The word samurai was later used to describe the lower rank official bushi, who had specialized in martial arts. From the end of 12th to mid-19th century, Japan was under the rule of the Samurai Class. Samurai can be aptly described as the warriors of Japan. Only 10% of the Japanese population were Samurai; they were the lower ranked government officials. It was later in history that they gained enough military power to rule the nearby areas before they became the ruling class.
Doujikiri Yasutsuna
What is the Samurai Sword?

In Japanese, the Samurai Sword is called Katana, and they were one of the traditionally made Japanese sword of the samurai, or bushi class of feudal Japan. The katana have significant features such as a curved, slender and single-edged blade with a guard and long grip. Katana has wide varieties of lengths and each length has different names such as Tachi (Long Katana), Kodachi (Shorter Katana often used by female), and Tanto (Short Katana). Katana is referred as the Spirit of Samurai because Katana is often passed generation to generation in the family tree and the only bushi class is allowed to wear them. The katana is usually the most important family heirloom. It became the representative spirit of the samurai.
If you go to a Japanese museum, you can see many different kinds of Katana on display. In Japan, there is a series of katana called “Tenka Goken”. Tenka means the whole country, whereas goken means 5 swords,. These are the 5 most famous swords in Japan because of their historical background and the beauty of the sword itself.
The picture above shows the Doujikiri Yasutsuna. It is the one of the National Treasures of Japan. According to the legend during the Heian period, it is believed that an oni (a kind of demon) in Mt. Ooe near Kyoto called Shuten Doji. At that time in Kyoto, many kidnaps of young man and princesses occurred and after the search people found out that Shuten Doji and his clan of oni were the suspects, so the Emperor at that time summoned the samurai leader Minamoto no Raiko to hunt them down. He hunted them successfully and cut off the head of Shuten Doji with his sword- which led to its name today: Doujikiri.
天下五剣(Tenka Goken)

Doujikiri Yasutsuna National Tresure Owned by Tokyo National Museum
Onimaru Kunitsuna Owned by the Imperial Family
Mikazuki Munechika National Tresure Owned by Tokyo National Museum
Ootenta Mitsuyo National Tresure Owned by the Maeda Ikutokukai in Ishikawa
Jyuzumaru Kanetsugu Important Cultural Property of Japan Owned by Honkouji Temple in Hyogo
If you visit Tokyo National Museum, you will be able to see two of Tenka Goken. More information on Tokyo National Museumo available here.
Touse Gusoku
Samurai Armor

The most well known type of Japanese armor is called “Touse Gusoku”. Gusoku means armor and Touse means recent, so it means the most modern armor at that time. The Touse Gusoku has a wide variety of colors and designs, because the Gusoku is designed for individuals.


The Japanese Sword Museum 


4-25-10, Yoyogi, Shibuya


10:00 – 16:30 (entrance closes at 16:00)
Closed on Monday and New Year's Holiday

Adult 600 yen
Student 300 yen

7 min walk from Sanguubashi Station on Odakyu Line



If you are interested in Japanese swords and armors and actually want to buy some for yourself, here is a few shops you can actually go to and see them by yourself and you can choose your own set of sword and armor for yourself!!!
The Japanese Sword


3-8-1, Tranomon, Mitato-ku, Tokyo

Weekday 9:30 – 18:00
Saturday 9:30 – 17:00
Closed on Sunday, National Holidays, Summer Holidays and New Year's Holidays

4 min walk from Tranomon Station Exit 2 on Ginza Line
5 minwalk from Kamiyacho Station on Hibiya Line
9 min walk from Uchisaiwaichou Station on Toei Mita Line
Credit Card

JCB, Diners, American Express, UC, VISA


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Samurai Store

Samurai Store is a shop which sell many types of actual samurai swords and armors!!
It has two branches in Tokyo and Yokohama. At the Tokyo Gallery you can see many types of swords and armors. At Yokohama branch you can actually wear real samurai armor with 3000 yen. Tokyo branch has wider selection of samurai armors compare to Yokohama!! Before go to both branches reservation is required so contact them in advance!!
Samurai Armor Tokyo Central Gallery


2-1-15, Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo


Monday- Wednesday
11:00- 19:00
Make A Reservation


A few min walk from Akihabara Station on JR Yamanote Line
A few min walk from Ochanomizu Station on JR Chuo Line / Marunouchi Line
A few min walk from Ogawamachi Station on Toei Shinjyuku Line


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Samurai Store(Samurai Armor Yokohama)


Inside of the Yokohama Osanbashi Pier International Ship Terminal
1-1-4, Kaigandouri, Naka-ku, Yokohama city, Kanagawa


10:30 – 19:30
May be closed earlier on weekdays.

50 min train ride from Tokyo Station
Tokyo to Yokohama via JR Tokaido Line, then from Yokohama to Nihon Odori Station via Minatomirai Line.
By car
30 min from Edo
By foot
12 hours from Nihonbashi (which is considered as the start point for travelers in Edo)
25 hours from Hakone Gate
By horse
4 hours from Nihonbashi
8 hours from Hakone Gate
By Black Ships (the name given to Western Vessels arriving Japan in 16th and 19th centuries)
30 days from San Francisco, but you have to transfer to JR Line or Keikyu Line at Yokosuka...


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The Ultimate Hidden Spot

If you are a huge fanatic of Japanese Samurai Swords and Armors, there is a great museum in Tochigi Prefecture, that you should definitely pay a visit. At the Samurai Sword Museum, there are 1600 collections of swords and armors. 100 swords with 200 rare collections of artifacts are put on exhibit. It will be an absolutely fantastic place to visit to learn a lot about the beauty of Japanese swords and armors.
Of course, Tochigi Prefecture offers more than that! There are interesting Ninja tours available too! If you are interested, please click here!
Samurai Sword Museum
Samurai Sword Museum


20- 9, Oneda, Moka City, Tochigi

0285- 74- 2846

9:00 – 16:00 (close at 17:00)
Closed on Monday

20 min from Kugeta Station on Moka Line
Every weekend and on most public holidays, Moka Line operates a classic steam locomotive only one round trip per day. Do not miss it!!

If you want to buy Katana, you need to know many things about custom and shipping etc. Please let us know. We offer you the Katana shopping tour. We will take you to the good shops and help you to buy good Katana.
You want to know Samurai more, Kamakura is the good place.

Gifu Tour Guide - Akiko W.

Akiko W.

5.00 / 5
(8 reviews)

Hello! My name is Akiko from Gifu prefecture. I am a National Government Licensed Guide Interpreter. I like going out with my family, talking with my friends over coffee at a cozy cafe, reading books, baking bread and cake when I have time. I passed the national tour guide test in 2017 and have worked as a guide since then. I have guided in Gifu city, Seki city, Takayama city, Shirakawago , Mino city and Nagoya city. I have lived in Gifu for more than forty years. Gifu prefecture is rich in nature so you can enjoy the rural atmosphere. Gifu city has a beautiful river 'Nagara river' and Mt.Kinka which has Gifu castle on the top. You can go up the mountain on foot or use a ropeway. The view from Gifu castle is so fantastic. At the foot of the mountain , there are many places to visit such as parks, a temple having a big image of Buddha, and a street preserving the historic atmosphere. At Nagara River, you can enjoy seeing a traditional way of fishing ‘cormorant fishing’ which is thought to have started 1300 years ago. Many cafes have unique service called 'morning service' in Gifu along with Aichi In the morning (until about ten thirty or eleven) when you order a cup of tea or coffee, they serve toast and salad ! Near Gifu park , you can find a nice Japanese style cafe where you enjoy good coffee and seeing a Japanese style garden. Seki city is a small city but so famous for its cutlery. At Japanese sword museum in Seki, you can see authentic Japanese swords! Mino city next to Seki city is well known for its hand made Japanese paper 'Hon minoshi' designated as intangible cultural asset by UNESCO . Until recently it was not easy to guide guests because of COVID-19 pandemic; however the situation is getting better. Some strict rules about COVID-19 have been lifted. Please visit Gifu. I am looking forward to seeing you. Please feel free to ask me when you need information about Gifu. Thank you for reading my introduction.                                                                                                                                 

Shimizu Tour Guide - Sayori H.

Sayori H.

5.00 / 5
(2 reviews)

Hello, I can show you the real Japan. You can taste, see and feel the country. I'd like to show the beautiful culture for you to experience. I can organize the day tour from Shimizu port for Cruise customers. Tea ceremony, strawberry picking experience, anything you are interested, I would love to help you plan your tour. I can communicate in both English and Japanese. I look forward to welcoming people from different parts of the world. Thank you                                                                                                                                 

Shiga Tour Guide - Koichi W.

Koichi W.

4.94 / 5
(51 reviews)

Hi! I'm Koichi. I was born in Osaka, I studied in Kyoto when I was a university student. Now I live in Shiga next to Kyoto. I am a national government licensed tour guide. I have been guiding about 160 groups over the past twelve months. I usually guide my customers mainly in Kansai region including Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe and Shiga by public transportation systems. Well, I am curious about Japanese history, especially the history of Japan's ancient times since I was raised next to the world biggest mausoleum of the ancient Emperor called "Nintoku" in Sakai city Osaka which has just become one of the world cultural heritage sites. I dug out some ancient earthen ware vessels around there when I was a primary school student like the adventure archaeologist “Indiana Jones" (It’s our secret!!). That was my hobby. Now, one of my hobbies is outdoor activities such as mountaineering, kayaking, skiing and others. So I would like to take you to some good places where you can enjoy Japanese unique nature. I love to guide foreign visitors from all over the world. I think it is my calling or heavenly given job. Let's go and enjoy together! I hope to see you soon.                                                                                                                                 

Okinawa Main Island Tour Guide - Tateo U.

Tateo U.

4.99 / 5
(68 reviews)

My name is Tateo. I am officially registerd English tour guide and introducing about Okinawa's history,culture, and nature.I am elderly person but have gone through lots of expericences that happened during US occupation after WW2. For the example, change of monetary system(US dollar to Yen),Change of traffic regulation(driving vehicle from right to left).The reversion of Okinawa to main land Japan was biggest historical event.The US administered Okinawa for 27 years. As a result, thing were Americanized in many aspects. Historically, Okinawa was once independent nation until 1872.During Kingdum era, Okinawa actively traded with China, South Asia Countries, Korea, and Japan. In the end, our culture is quite differ much from main land Japan. For instance, architectural technique, daily customs, and culture are also unique. Okinawa is the only prefecture belong to subtropical climate zone. Even winter time, it's neither hot nor cold. People can enjoy marine sport all through the year.Canoeing, Kayaking, Diving, and Snorkeling are popular. Besides, beatiful white sand beaches and attractive coastline are abundant. Green sea water and blue sky have been lured people from all over the world. Traditional music and dance are worth seeing. Please visit Okinawa and enjoy extraordinary trip. I will be looking forward to seeing you soon.                                                                                                                                  

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