I closed out 2016 with a trip to the Samurai Museum in Tokyo. This is a fantastic place in Tokyo’s centrally located Shinjuku area. The museum is a seven minute walk from Shinjuku Station. It has an impressive collection of artifacts and its personalized tours (for free) in English provide an extraordinary learning experience.
Among the more impressive museum artifacts is the original armor of Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu. Of course there are many, many, other artifacts, manuscripts, and works of art. The English speaking tour guides explain the history behind each piece. The museum provides semi-private tours free of charge so the tour guide can be as in depth (or shallow) as you want.
Another wonderful aspect of this museum is their policy of allowing visitors to touch and even try on certain original artifacts like Edo Period samurai helmets – and some costume stuff as well. This will certainly spice up your Facebook page.
The last treat this museum has to offer is the katana demonstration. After your personalized tour, your group can join with others and watch a master “samurai actor” demonstrate sword striking techniques. Samurai actors are quite a tradition in Japan’s entertainment industry. Actors can spend entire careers performing in television, movie, and live entertainment samurai dramas. As one might imagine, the training for this career can be a lifelong pursuit.
Lastly, at the end of your experience you can always take a picture with the samurai actor.
As expected, the small museum shop has a lot of great things to buy. Nothing is over priced.
While visiting the museum I had the good fortune to meet the Sub Manager Mr. Ginjiro Noguhi (Noguhi-San). He speaks excellent English and was able to provide quite a lot of details museum and its history. Although to be fair, the tour guide was so good that it left nothing to be desired.
The entry fee for the museum is ¥1800 ($16 USD). Believe me when I say it is well worth it. This place is a MUST see for the martial artist visiting Japan.