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Lakeland University Japan Blog

The Japanese Sword Museum

The Japanese Sword Museum


The Japanese Sword Museum

How far from LUJ? A 3-minute walk

Located next to the LUJ campus is The Japanese Sword Museum, the building designed by world-renowned architect Fumihiko Maki. The museum opened in Ryogoku in 2018, and the fee to enter is 500 yen for students and 1000 yen for adults.

The history of the Japanese sword (katana) stretches back over 1000 years. In 1946, just after World War II, the government started to confiscate swords due to new policies adopted by the government under pressure by Americans. But a petition led by Junji “Kunzan” Honma helped reverse this decision. As the museum explains, “Honma’s success had an unprecedented impact on the history of Japanese swords.”

Another important man who helped preserve Japanese sword culture was Kanichi “Kanzan” Sato, who in 1948 helped found the Japan Art Swords Preservation Association and played a large role in founding the museum’s first location.

Depending on the time of year, the museum features a wide variety of swords and blades, such as the tachi, which predates the more known katana, a curved sword used by samurai starting in the 16th century.

On the first floor, visitors can tour the museum shop or sit in a café-designated space. There is also a well-designed Information Corner, describing step-by-step how a Japanese sword is created.

Also, at certain times throughout the year, the museum holds events in their lecture hall located on the first floor.

The second floor offers a reading room and lobby, while a third floor often has special exhibitions.

The Japanese Sword Museum is open every day except Monday, from 9:30 to 5pm, accepting visitors until 4:30pm.

In addition, the Japanese Sword Museum has also collaborated with NHK World - Japan about the uncovering of the Muramasa blade.

You can access the 28-minute documentary here, so please feel free to check it out.