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Samurai & Ninja history in Toyko

  • Tokyo, Kanto, Japan

Last updated: 19 April, 2024

No Japanese period drama would be complete without an appearance from the nation’s most famous fighters – the samurai and the ninja. Equally famous around the world today, the two had very different roles in Japan.

The samurai began as feudal warriors and by the Edo era (1603-1868) were part of the ruling class. The ninja had more humble roots, often functioning as farmers while operating as highly skilled spies and assassins.

Samurai and ninja get varying treatment in modern Japan – the samurai and their code of ethics are held in high regard, while ninja experiences tend to be more on the kitschy side. Part of that perhaps comes down to social status, but also the lofty status of a katana, a samurai’s sword, which are still painstakingly handcrafted by highly respected wordsmiths.

For visitors to Tokyo, there are several places you can see historic swords and samurai armour, and to learn how to hold a samurai sword or throw a ninja’s shuriken.

Recommendations

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Japanese Sword Museum

  • Tokyo, Kanto, Japan

Exterior of the Japanese Sword Museum in Ryogoku

Experience

This museum in Ryogoku exhibits a collection of around 190 supremely crafted historic katana (samurai swords) – some designated national treasures – and documents how they are made. Kill Bill fans will know them well…

Adult price: £7

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 2-3 hours

When: March, May and Sept

Freq: annually

Ninja Trick House

  • Tokyo, Kanto, Japan

Ninja Trick House, Shinjuku

Experience

This reproduction of a ninja house runs tours of the facility, teaching you the sneaky arts of the ninja as you go from room to room. Groups of up to 10 per session, children of all ages welcome.

Adult price: £12

Good for age: 6+

Duration: 35-40 minutes

When: March, May and Sept

Freq: annually

Samurai Museum

  • Tokyo, Kanto, Japan

Many Samurai costumes are shown in exhibition hall inside the Samurai museum at Shinjuku

Experience

A fairly new museum stocked with an impressive collection of sparklingly sharp samurai swords, elaborate, colourful armour, guns and other samurai paraphernalia. Visitors can try the armour on and play at pretend sword fighting.

Adult price: £12

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 2-3 hours

When: March, May and Sept

Freq: annually

Sengakuji Temple

  • Tokyo, Kanto, Japan

Graveyard of the 47 Ronin at Sengakuji Temple in Tokyo, Japan

Experience

The 47 Ronin is a legendary Japanese tale of samurai loyalty, that was even made into a US action film (2013). This temple is where the 47 were buried after exacting their revenge on the man who betrayed their master, and then being ordered to kill themselves.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 2-3 hours

When: March, May and Sept

Freq: annually

  • Tokyo, Kanto, Japan

Pair of long and short swords ,Edo period ,19th century ,Forged iron ,lacquered wood ,rayskin ,cotton.

Bucket List Experience

Tokyo National Museum

Ueno Park’s best museum, and Japan’s oldest museum, is one of the largest art museums in the world.

The museum collects, preserves and displays collections of artworks and cultural objects from across Asia, with a focus on Japanese art. It holds over 110,00 cultural artefacts and artworks, including 89 National Treasures.

For anyone interested in Japan’s fascinating past of emperors, shoguns, samurais and more, this is a must-see. The museum collection includes everything from ancient Buddhist sculptures, to samurai armour and even tea ceremony utensils.

Adult price: £6

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 2-3 hours

When: March, May and Sept

Freq: annually

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 13+
Frequency: annually
When: March, May and Sept
Duration: 2-3 hours

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Tokyo

“Kendo” is about swordsmanship, a traditional Japanese martial arts skill of the Samurai, the path of the sword in Japan. You can practice Kendo, “Unify your spirits”,”Manners”, and “Lifelong Kendo”. These three benefits can be created as a kendo. Please feel free to touch it. The experience allows you to work with a Kendo instructor who speaks English in an easy to understand way. From basic etiquette skills of “Kendo” to learning about and using armor, you will be provided a varied Kendo experience that is perfect for a first visit to Japan. ▼Highlight ・Samurai culture instruction ・Practical guidance by over 20 years of Kendo experience guide ・Hitting to instructors ・Combat game ・Guide demonstration ・Free Japanese Kendo towel ・Acceptable 2~over 100 people

Price ¥18,000

Min age 9

Rating 4.84 / 5 [77 ratings]

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  • Tokyo

Experience authentic, traditional and historical Ninja and Samurai training in English. Best things to do in Tokyo for Activity, Group, Couple, Solo, Kids, Family, Martial arts, Workout, Rain, Evening, City, Indoor and All seasons. You can watch performance and learn both ninja and samurai techniques, spirits and arts, ninja stars, ninja sword, samurai sword, ninja blowgun, various weapons, body operation and meditation with costumes.

Price ¥12,960

Min age 5

Rating 4.93 / 5 [75 ratings]

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  • Tokyo

Our clan is the only remaining ninja clan whose ancestors served the Tokugawa Shogunate for 265 years. and then in 1868 they became independent so they could continue to keep their identity as shinobi. All of our ninja weapons have been handcrafted in the clan. Not many know that there were two types of shinobi, namely, shinobi samurai and shinobinomono. Shinobi samurai were of samurai lineage, and they trained local people to work as shinobinomono. Our ancestors escorted Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1582, and that's when our clan history really started. Licensed interpreter/trainer(s) provides top-notch, real time translation. Our workshop is for those who want to know more than just have fun. If you want to know the clan's mindsets, history and tradition, you need a reliable interpreter/trainer with specialized knowledge. In this hands-on ninja and samurai experience, the basic principles of the Ninshido (shinobi samurai philosophy) are introduced in a dynamic and mindful way.

Price ¥25,300

Min age 5

Rating 4.92 / 5 [75 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Tokyo

Let's acquire a samurai license and a family coat of arms T-shirt! You wear armor and become a samurai one hours. We photograph you while you become samurai with the armor . The samurai license has samurai photo of yours and family coat of arms of the samurai Armour photo studio. The last we hand a samurai license and a T-shirt with family coat of arms to you. You experience samurai tour one hours.

Price ¥34,000

Min age 0

Rating 4.97 / 5 [42 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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