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Japanese Sword Museum (Token Hakabutsukan)

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Japanese Sword Museum (Token Hakabutsukan) Review

It's said that in the late 16th century, before Japan closed its doors to the West, the Spanish tried to establish a trade here in weapons made from famous Toledo steel. The Japanese were politely uninterested; they had been making blades of incomparably better quality for more than 600 years. At one time there were some 200 schools of sword making in Japan; swords were prized not only for their effectiveness in battle but for the beauty of the blades and fittings and as symbols of the higher spirituality of the warrior caste. There are few inheritors of this art today and the Sword Museum's mission is to maintain the knowledge and appreciation of swordmaking. While the collection has swords made by famous craftsmen such as Nobufusa (a living cultural asset) and Sanekage (a famous 14th-century swordmaker), the focus here is on the swords as objects of beauty. The swords are individually displayed as works of art, giving visitors a chance to appreciate the detail, creativity, and skill involved in creafting each one.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 4–25–10 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Aoyama, Harajuku, and Shibuya, Tokyo, 151-0053 | Map It
  • Phone: 03/3379–1386
  • Cost: ¥600
  • Hours: Tues.–Sun. 10–4:30
  • Website:
  • Subway: Odakyu private rail line, Sangu-bashi Station
  • Location: Aoyama, Harajuku, and Shibuya
Updated: 08-19-2013

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    For the affectionado only

    Unless you are a REAL fan of Japanese swords, you can cut this off the list. The museum's displays are mostly of blades (yes, blades, no sword hilts and few scabbards are seen) and is almsot all in Japanese. The first floor exhibition tells the story of how swords are made, is in English, is free (admission is charged once you get upstairs) and is worth it if you are in the neighborhood and can find this place. It is off the beaten path. Look for signs showing the way on the upper levels of telephone poles next to where the fire hydrant signs are.

    by CKD3, 11/4/07

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