Master the basics of Japanese swordsmanship at the birthplace of 'Iai'.
Not far from other major attractions in Yamagata like Ginzan Onsen and Yamadera lies the quiet town of Murayama and the birthplace of one of Japan's unique martial arts – 'Iai-do'.
Whilst Iai-do is based on the movements of drawing and maneuvering a Japanese sword, its focus is not on battle, but a solo pursuit of for focus of the inner mind and spirit. The word is not seen as a weapon for killing, but for self-improvement. Iai was founded by Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu some 450 years ago who developed the techniques at what is now known as Iai shrine in Murayama city. Today, visitors can visit the same location and experience an authentic Iai workshop with an experienced 'sensei' who will teach the original techniques passed down the generations. There are several plans available varying in length of time and type of demonstration/technique. The plan introduced here includes experience wearing traditional Iaido outfit, demonstration of techniques and 'tameshi-giri' (bamboo cutting), mastering of basic movements and tameshi-giri with a real Japanese sword.
Tour time: 2 hours (Iai Buttou Technique Samurai Experience)
10 min drive (taxi) from JR Murayama Station
Address: 'Iai Shrine' Hayashizaki 86-2, Murayama City