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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Japan

Learn how to swing a real samurai sword

We use katana swords to cut through a practice target – real swords used by samurai warriors during the medieval period…

By Ken Yoshioka
Tokyo Tour Guide

If you like the sound of learning how to swing a Japanese samurai sword, our sword-cutting experience might be for you.

We use katana swords to cut through a practice target; these were the real swords used by samurai warriors during the medieval period, said to represent the soul. There are quite a few schools in Tokyo that teach swordsmanship using bamboo swords, but there are only a limited number that use the real swords.

The session is taught by masters of Kendo (Japanese swordmanship), who carry out an impressive batto performance, a style of drawing and swinging the sword that’s now considered an art. It’s rare to see these performances, so it’s quite a special experience.

The instructors also demonstrate the art of shizan, showing you how to hold, swing and cut with the sword (using an edgeless sword to practice with). Both mind and body are important during the practice; a strong mentality was at the heart of the samurai spirit, and this lives on in Japanese sportsmanship today.

At the final stage, students are given real katana swords to cut through bundled straw. There’s always a great deal of tension in the training room when this happens – and guests certainly have a story to tell when they return home.


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Alfred & Ken Yoshioka

Ken has been a tour guide in Tokyo for nine years. He grew up in the city and joined one of the country’s leading banks after graduating from university. During his time there, he worked in Australia, the US and Germany and travelled to more than 50 countries. After leaving the bank, he decided to become a tour guide to share his knowledge of Tokyo with visitors.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Richard, who's travelled extensively in Japan. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the tea devotee who'll introduce you to the ceremony surrounding Japan's national drink, the noodle guru who'll teach you how to make the perfect bowl of soba and the ryokan owner who'll tutor you in the relaxing art of the onsen.

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