Samurai Experience in Japan
By Karen Richards |
Be a samurai for one day! In your visit to Kyoto you will have the chance to wear a traditional samurai costume and learn to use a real katana.
SAMURAI CLASS FOR TOURISTS IN KYOTO
We all have heard about the traditional Japanese samurai warriors, but did you ever imagine you could become one? Just for a few hours, you will have the opportunity to use a sword, learn the basic movements of these legendary warriors, and take photos wearing their traditional costume.
Today, in DINKtravelers, we will tell you how you can live this amazing experience in the magical, traditional city of Kyoto, in Japan.
WHAT IS A SAMURAI?
The samurai were members of military nobility during the medieval and modern times in Japan. They were known as bushi, a community of warriors that occupied the highest echelon of social stratum. They were trained with military techniques and tactics, which we can see reflected nowadays in many martial arts. But these men did not only train their bodies, but also their minds, so meditation was an important part of a samurai’s training. Honor was another important aspect of their philosophy, since they had to show bravery and courage to their master or lord, and to their ancestors. They also had to be loyal to their ideals; otherwise, they were punished and forced to perform the famous hara-kiri, formally called seppuku, which was a Japanese ritual form of suicide that consisted in self-disembowelment. But do not worry! This practice is part of the past; nowadays, it is forbidden.
The city of Kyoto is one of the most important cities in Japan. It is historically relevant for being the country´s capital and location of the Imperial Court until 1868, when Emperor Meiji decided to move the Court to Tokyo. It is also culturally relevant for having from traditional houses, people dressed as geishas, and maikos walking through the streets, to samurai, temples, and some of the country´s most important sanctuaries.
SAMURAI CLASS IN KYOTO
In the center of this wonderful city, you will find several dojo or schools where you will have the chance to be a samurai for a day. You can pay for 1 or 2 hours of class, which start with a short introductory video about the basic concepts of the samurai art. Then, you will put on your Japanese-style socks and wear a traditional samurai costume. Then, you will be given a katana to use during the class.
In this small dojo, you will learn from how to draw and bear the katana, and how to move it so that it makes the metal blade´s characteristic sound as it cuts through the air. But it does not end there. If you pay for a two-hour class, you will continue to learn movements, styles, ways of walking, salutations, etc. You will also learn a traditional choreography with the sword, which you will be able to perform on stage, accompanied by music. You will feel like a true samurai drawing your sword against the enemy and, if you prove that you’re a good learner, at the end of the class you will be given a certificate for having passed this introductory level.
SAMURAI PHOTOSHOOT IN KYOTO
To complement your samurai class, when you finish your training, you will have a photoshoot and you will have the chance to practice the movements you learned with your master.
Some samurai schools even give you the option of continuing your photoshoot outdoors, in the traditional and warm environment of Kyoto, where you will feel as if you had traveled in time. You will be surrounded by wooden houses and other people dressed up as samurai having a good time. When it comes to gender, do not worry, since it makes no difference. Men and women are both able to become true samurai warriors and enjoy this unique cultural experience.
ABOUT THE SAMURAI EXPERIENCE IN KYOTO
- Make an online reservation in advance because classes are taught at specific hours at there’s a limited availability.
- One class costs between 65 and 80 USD and it includes the samurai costume, a one or two-hour class, certificate, a photograph taken by the studio’s photographer and a photoshoot (with your own camera)
- They have English-speaking instructors, but specify that you need one when you make your reservation.
- DINKtravelers recommends you to arrive 10 minutes before the class starts so that you have enough time to change into your costume.
This is a must-do activity in your trip to Japan, since you will complement your vacation by immersing yourself in the culture and participating in it. We assure you will not only have a great time, but you will also learn and know more about the samurai – who are so famous in popular culture – and live an unforgettable experience you will not regret.