The Japanese Sword Museum 刀剣博物館
A sharp slice of old Japan
The Japanese Sword Museum is dedicated to the art of Japanese swordmaking. Run by the Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords, visit this museum and receive a fascinating insight into Japanese weaponry.
The collection contains many swords that have been awarded special status for their important cultural value
The Occupation Forces tried to confiscate and destroy all swords after World War II
How to Get There
The museum is a short walk from Ryogoku Station on the JR Sobu Line or the subway station of the same name on the Toei Oedo Line.
You can walk easily to the Japanese Sword Museum from Ryogoku Station in 5 minutes. The easiest way to find it is by walking alongside the Sumida River, passing by the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo stadium. The museum is located inside of a small park, the Kyu-Yasuda Garden.
The local environment
Unless you are a major sword enthusiast, you shouldn't need more than an hour for the museum's displays. The size of the museum makes it a quick and easy option to combine with a visit to the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo stadium, Sumida Hokusai Museum or the Edo-Tokyo Museum .
The art of swords
Japanese swords were the weapons of samurai for nearly 800 years before firearms were introduced to Japan. Samurai all carried katana (the term for a Japanese sword) and wore armor, but their swords differed greatly in design and functionality depending on their rank.
Preservation and education
The Japanese Sword Museum aims to preserve important swords and samurai artifacts, documenting the roughly 800 years of Japanese swords and their history. In addition to the swords themselves, the museum has a collection of historical documents and archives about swords and swordmaking.
Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords
The Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK-Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords) was created in 1948 to save the Japanese sword after Occupation Forces tried to confiscate and destroy all swords after World War II.
Today, the NBTHK aims to preserve swords from a different demise. Few remaining artisans can forge, polish, and repair old katana, their parts, and other items in the samurai armory and many of these craftsmen are getting old. The society works to sustain these crafts and help people to continue to appreciate the art of Japanese swords.