While in Kyoto, how about discovering a little about the Samurai?
We have all heard about the Japanese samurai, the warrior caste of ancient Japan. For over 1,000 years, they serve as soldiers, bodyguards and peacekeepers. They followed the Bushidō (lit: “way of the samurai”), their code of ethics, which is quite similar to the code of chivalry that European knights lived by. Among the main elements honour and loyalty were paramount.
Their swords, the Katana, are incredible objects, with a relatively thin, single-edge, curved blade. These are not just amazing weapons, they truly are also beautiful to look at.
While the samurai were officially disbanded around during the Meiji restauration, about 150 years ago, their skills, customs, and philosophy live on in modern society by people dedicated to keeping their legacy alive.
We had the chance to meet Mr. Akihito Kawata, a master of the art of Japanese swordplay (“iaido”). He’s coming from a 500 year old samurai family and has practiced the art of Japanese swordplay all his life, attaining the honored title of “renshi” which is far above black-belt level, and won many awards at the highest competitions in Japan.
With him, you can be introduced to a small aspect of Japanese history and the culture of the samurai, and get an experience of a lifetime.
Iaidō is the Japanese martial art of drawing and wielding a sword. Originally, it was the practice of drawing a sword at speed from sitting when attacked unexpectedly, but it has evolved into a complete martial art.
Learn how to safely unsheathe and sheathe a sword, as well as a few basic moves. It’s not as easy as it looks, but the master will guide you through the moves until you can wield a sword like a samurai. And Once you have practiced basic moves with an imitation sword, it will be time to try out your new skills with a real samurai katana. You will certainly feel the spirit of the samurai as you slice through a rolled tatami mat.
Address: 738-1 Danjocho, Kamigyoku
Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu, 602-8224
From Kyoto station, take bus #9 to the 12th stop called “ichijomodoribashi-seimeijinjamae.” Nearby, you should see a childcare centre called “Kids Duo,” possibly with yellow buses parked outside. Take the small road next to that. Then take the third turning to the right. After that, we are the fourth house on the right-hand side. Please step inside the door and someone will greet you.
Phone: 080 3133 5576
Open Monday to Friday
Sessions start at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, and 16:00
Session length: 90 minutes