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“Great collection of swords, but...”

The Japanese Sword Museum
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$1,200.68*
and up
Private Tour: 4-Day Best of Tokyo and Kyoto Including Tsukiji Market, Gion and...
Ranked #49 of 199 things to do in Shibuya
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Fee: Yes
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Level Contributor
42 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great collection of swords, but...”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

As others have noted, the museum itself is relatively spartan and is fully focused on swords and not Japanese history. There is not much text by the exhibits to educate you on the subject, but if you want to learn more there are very good pamphlets and books in the attached shop. If you are a current or aspiring sword collector, then visiting the museum while in Tokyo is a no-brainer. You will see masterpiece swords worth millions of dollars from all the various schools of Japanese swordsmithing. If you are not familiar with or interested in Japanese swords and are looking for a very accessible, tourist-friendly experience, then you may want to skip this one.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank stevev23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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116 reviews from our community

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Tainan, Taiwan
Level Contributor
95 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Interesting collection of Japanese swords”
Reviewed November 24, 2012

I enjoyed my visit to this museum, despite not really having an interest in swords. As previous reviewers have noted, the museum is quite small, but it's quality you're after, not quantity. The pieces on display are exquisite: some are just blades, but there are also beautiful mountings and other decorative pieces that really demonstrate the art of Japanese sword craftsmanship. Yes, you could fly around the room in 20 minutes, but take your time, really look at the pieces, and remind yourself that a lot of them are close to a century old. In today's "throwaway society", it's nice to just be able to closely admire something that took someone months to make with such careful attention to detail and drawing on a lifetime of skill.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank Nonina33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Boring and difficult to locate”
Reviewed September 10, 2012

Its not worth visiting until your are keen about Japanese swards and completely aware of its background. The museum is difficult to locate as it has no direct access from the Main roads.
More over the Museum collections is only in one hall which is poorly light and the labels give no detail information regarding the swords..

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank anuholla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Suginami, Japan
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The Japanese sword as, "Art"”
Reviewed May 22, 2012

This is not a history museum. It has swords and some of them are extremely old. You`ll find all types of Japanese swords here - katana, tachi, wakizashi, uchigatana and you can learn a little about them, but they are presented as pieces of art and cultural assets. This museum is charged with preserving the art of making of swords, not with showing their history. So go there forearmed with the knowledge that you are going to an art museum, not a history museum and you won`t be disappointed.

When you enter the museum, make sure to pick up some of the pamphlets, as there are plenty written in English, then take a seat and have just a brief skim through them and you`ll pick up a few good points about the swords. You`ll see something in those pamphlets that will have immediate value on your (short) tour.

And the museum is a little small, but there are plenty of swords packed in, all exquisitely presented. It`s about a 5 minute walk from Hatsudai station in Shibuya ward (but rather close to Shinjuku station). So after this museum you could make your way to Shinjuku and fill in the rest of you day. A great place to go and won`t take up an entire day.

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Rohan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
46 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“boring, hard to get to and poor value”
Reviewed February 23, 2012

The sword museum obviously does a great job to preserve this important part of Japan's heritage, but as an "attraction" for the average tourist, it's very boring, hard to get to and poor value. Being in an outer suburban street, you have to make a concerted effort to get to the museum, which we did because my son loves Japanese swords. After arriving at the train station, it's a 20 minute walk, well sign-posted. When we arrived we went upstairs to a small foyer where a receptionist ignored us until we asked to go in. For Y600pp we were shocked to see the whole display was in one room. They advertise having a collection of thousands of swords, but only fifty or so are on display and many of these are just blades. The labels give minimal information. There is one very spectacular warrior costume. The mood is sombre and the guards glared at us the whole time we walked around. Photos are forbidden. Even though my son was genuinely interested, and enjoyed seeing the swords, he had finished in less than 20 minutes. It was very expensive to pay Y2400 for four of us. I know this is an academic institution, but if international travellers are going to trek all the way out to visit, I would expect a more informative presentation of the collection. The best part of the museum was actually outside on the street; a bust of its founder and the fascinating story of how he campaigned for swords to be preserved after WWII. Even if you are enthusiastic to learn about Japanese culture, you will be disappointed in this museum unless you are very interested in this specific topic. We felt that this place was mostly a research centre and they use the museum to raise funds without really having their hearts in giving visitors a good experience.

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank Brekatosam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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