Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Buying a shinken or iaito in Japan 2011/11/18 04:57
I'm travelling to Japan next summer and I'll be spending some time in Tokyo, Kyoto, Kamakura and Himeji. As I practice sword-fighting (Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu) I would like to buy a katana (shinken or iaito) while I'm in Japan. To me, this should not only be a pretty-looking souvenir, but it should also be decent, so I'm not looking for the cheap tourist-junk you can buy anywhere in the world.

Does anyone know if I would be allowed to buy one (I have read that one needs a permit to own a sword in Japan)? And if I can, where I might find one and what prices I may expect.

And last but not least: what would be the best way to take it back home (Belgium, Europe. We don't need a permit/license to own swords)? Should I mail it in advance or should I keep it with me and put it in my luggage? Or should I do something else? Do I need any documents to allow me to transport te sword? ...?

All suggestions are very welcome.

Many thanks!
by Azana (guest)  

Re: Buying a shinken or iaito in Japan 2011/11/18 08:46
Try looking up Tozando's Shogoin shop in Kyoto. They sell a wide range of iaito, from entry-level models at around $300 CDN - from the last time I checked - to well in excess of $2000 CDN for the high-end models. I'd also suggest figuring out exactly what you want before you go, to smooth the process out, especially if you want a custom-made blade, as they take a few weeks to sand-cast the blade and assemble it.

As for shinken, they only accept orders in advance, due to the rule that swordsmiths can only produce two swords (defined as blades being over one shaku) every month. I do recall them selling some nihonto too.

To my knowledge, the only swords you cannot take home with you are nihonto. I would suggest reading up on the export/customs laws to be certain there though.

I have to ask though: Otake-ha or Sugino-ha?
by Arstan rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a shinken or iaito in Japan 2011/11/20 22:34
Thank you very much for your answer, I've been looking for it on the web and it looks like a very decent shop. I'll sure visit it whilst in Kyoto!
As for transportation: the shop also has a website on which they offer transportation, so I hope they'll take care of transport if I buy it on location...

P.S.: I follow the way of Sugino-ha. ;-)
by Azana (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a shinken or iaito in Japan 2011/11/21 03:22
They do keep a lot of iaito in the store itself, but it is whether or not you find an iaito in the right length/weight/balance, but also with the style/fittings you want. Otherwise, chances are you will want to get a new one made, and thus it will need to be shipped back to Belgium.

I also practice Sugino-Ha TSKSR. Nice to see someone from another dojo around!

by Arstan rate this post as useful

reply to this thread