Translated by Jelena Kitamura
LAST SAMURAI in Osaka - Get An Authentic Samurai Experience!
Written by MATCHA-PR
LAST SAMURAI in Osaka offers samurai costumes as well as lessons on the code of Bushido, slashing objects with real Japanese swords, and other fun activities. This experience goes beyond cosplay and is an activity you'll want to add to your plans.
More Than Just a Costume! Become a Real Samurai
Cultural experiences are an important part of traveling in Japan, in addition to the shopping and the gourmet food here!
Japanese traditional clothes, armor, and ninja costumes are exciting and help to make a trip memorable. Still, most of those activities often end in simply putting on the garments and costumes.
Today we are introducing a special Japanese samurai experience that provides more to participants than just costumes. You can put on samurai garments and learn about Bushido, the code of conduct for samurai, and also try the fighting techniques of Iai (*1) using real swords. You will have mind and body samurai experience!
*1 Iai: also known as iaido, iaijutsu. A fighting technique of swiftly drawing the sword out of the sheath, then striking your opponent (object).
Japanese Warriors We All Admire - Samurai
Anime, manga, and television drama shows have helped spread the tale of Japanese samurai across the globe.
“The Last Samurai,” starring Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe as the leading actors is a film familiar to many. The movie portrays the loyalty and the martial arts skills of the Japanese samurai very well and has helped make the cool samurai image we all admire more popular.
Now, let’s see what kind of samurai experience you can take part in!
** The LAST SAMURAI activity introduced in this article is not affiliated with the movie “Last Samurai”, facility or service-wise.
Your Samurai Transformation Begins at Osaka LAST SAMURAI
Head to LAST SAMURAI, close to Osaka’s Tsutenkaku Tower to start your samurai transformation! This facility allows participants to actually experience what it’s like to be a warrior with a real sword, unlike other services which often provide metal fake swords.
First, listen to the friendly explanation by the staff and fill out the necessary information. As soon as you finish signing in, you are ready to start your samurai adventure. Below we explain the process of the samurai service.
1. Change into the Samurai Costume
You will have your height measured by the staff to get the perfectly fit for your samurai outfit.
Inside the changing room are lockers where you can store your clothes. There is no need to worry about putting on the samurai clothes the right way. On the wall of the dressing room there is an explanation on how to put the garmets on correctly. If you’re still unsure about how to do so, feel free to ask the employees for help.
After you've put on the all-black outfit, you’re probably feeling more like a samurai!
2. Master the Samurai Etiquette
In order to become a proper samurai, you must handle your sword the right way as well as embody the Bushido code. You need to learn the etiquette, manners, and correct state of mind to be in.
Here, the instructor will teach you the basics of Bushido and the origins of the samurai. You will also learn how to position your body and how to manuever your sword.
You can also take some time to look at and appreciate the Japanese swords (katana) of the instructor. You will learn about their unique features and beautiful ornamentation.
Experience the samurai etiquette of kneeling down and bowing to your opponent.
Inside the LAST SAMURAI dojo (training room) is a beautiful stained glass panel. As the sunlight shines through it, the colors give the dojo a magical atmosphere. This facility was originally a church, in fact.
This is a unique opportunity to learn Bushido in front of the magnificent stained glass of a Western church, similar to “The Last Samurai.”
3. Handle the Sword
After you’ve taken the samurai etiquette to heart, next, you will practice the movements. You can learn how to handle Japanese swords by using the practice version made of metal.
You'll notice how heavy the sword is once hold it in your hands. It isn't easy to swing the blade up and down as what is seen in Japanese anime and manga.
The most basic rule to handling the katana is grabbing the sword firmly with both hands.
Next, straighten your back and the upper half of your body, and slightly bend at the waist while holding the sword. This powerful stance is the basic position for holding a katana. This is known as seigan no kamae (“aiming at the eye”) in Japanese.
Bushido emphasizes clearing your mind. This idea is reflecting in this posture, as well.
Picture courtesy of LAST SAMURAI
After learning the basics of holding the sword, you’ll practice maneuvering with it. Bring both of your arms up above your head, then swing down with force. Remember to stop your blade from hitting the ground.
This action is very difficult and requires strength to master. Although it is a simple movement, practice is very important.
After that, the teacher will take the sword and demonstrate the cutting of goza (*2) in front of the participants. The instructor's serious expression and straight posture as they raise the sword is very impressive. In the next instant, the goza will roll down on the tatami floor. The teacher makes it appear so effortless!
*2 Goza: A Japanese mat similar to tatami. It is woven from a plant called igusa.
4. Zen Training for Your Spirit
After mastering movements with the practice sword, you’ll will undergo important Zen training before handling the real katana.
According to the teacher, Zen practice and the sword (katana) are intricately related in the world of samurai. Just like the katana helps you train your body, Zen will allow you to calm your spirit.
In other words, through Zen, you can converse with the deepest part of your soul, and unify your body and spirit.
5. One Stroke and Two Halves! Try out the Goza Cutting
The time has come at last to test your goza-cutting skills with a real sword!
When the instructor hands you the katana you will notice heavy it feels compared to the practice sword you used.
The light reflecting on the blade is very cool. You'll likely feel overwhelmed with excitement and nerves at this point.
Remember to straighten your body and lower your knees when you stand in front of the goza.
Lift your sword as you take a step forward, and swing down with all your might. What magnificent strike! You will feel a huge sense of achievement and extremely relaxed.
If you didn't cut the goza on your first try, don't worry! You’ll get to try one more time under the teacher’s guidance and you will surely be successful.
We have no doubt you’ll master the goza-cutting, just as you’ve mastered Zen and the spirit of Bushido.
Take a Picture with Your Sword-Slashing Certificate
When your teacher gives you thumbs up for your powerful attack, you’ll receive a kesagiri certificate (*3). Now, it’s time to take some photos to remember this moment!
*3 Kesagiri: one of slashing techniques using the Japanese sword; slashing from the shoulder diagonally downward.
Use this chance to become a samurai from your imagination, and capture it in a photo forever. You can even ask the friendly teachers and employees to help you create spectacular photos.
The whole activity lasts around 90 minutes, but you don’t have to worry about your language skills. Everything in is explained in Chinese, English, and Korean, and the teachers' English levels are fluent.
Throughout the activity, the employees will shoot many photos and even take a video of you cutting the goza. The video will be edited into a short movie and emailed to you with the photos.
Close to Tsutenkaku Tower – A Perfect Location!
LAST SAMURAI is easily accessible as it is located near Tsutenkaku, one of Osaka’s most popular entertainment areas. We suggest taking part in the samurai workshop after visiting Tsutenkaku. Try a different and exciting type of travel and show everyone your samurai skills!
Once you’ve set foot on the path of the samurai, your life will be changed forever!
Come to LAST SAMURAI, and cut some goza in the coolest manner possible!
Samurai Experience at LAST SAMURAI
Duration: 90 minutes
Activity: Cosplay (costume play), learning Bushido, and cutting goza with a real sword
Number of participants: up to 15 persons per activity
Price: 10,000 yen (after tax) per person
** Samurai garment rental and photography services are also available. https://www.lastsamurai.fun/
Written by Chia
Sponsored by LAST SAMURAI