Samurai Sword Cutting Experience in Kyoto – Tameshigiri

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¥12000 / person
¥10800 / person   (+ tax)
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Try a Real Samurai Katana in Kyoto and Experience Tameshigiri Test Cutting Workshop!

Tameshigiri, also known as the Japanese art of test cutting was popularized in the Edo Period and is the ultimate samurai experience! Test your skills on tatami cutting mats during your training with a swordmaster.

Make your childhood dream of being a real samurai come true with a real sword and a traditional hakama at our tameshigiri workshop – only available at KYOTO SAMURAI NINJA MUSEUM.

The KYOTO SAMURAI NINJA MUSEUM is a unique, experience-based museum that lets you get up close and personal with history. Our Samurai Sword Cutting Experience in Kyoto – Tameshigiri lets you become a modern-day samurai-in-training for a day!


Kyoto sword cutting experience tameshigiri

Kyoto sword cutting experience tameshigiri

Book with us online to reserve a slot now!

Samurai Sword Cutting Experience

Lasts approximately 75 minutes.

samurai sword cutting experience tameshigiri

Your Experience includes:

  1. A Real Samurai Sword (Katana)
    • You will be using a real katana to cut a tatami mat under the supervision of the museum staff.
  2. Tatami Mat
    • While there are a number of different materials used for test cutting, this lesson will be using tatami mats same with what you see in the pictures on this page.
  3. Sword Lesson and Practice
    • You will be given a short sword lesson or review depending on your existing skills. The hands-on instructions will cover all the basics before proceeding to the cutting practice.
  4. Hakama
    • A traditional samurai outfit will be provided for you during the whole workshop. Our hakamas are unisex and come in a variety of sizes for everyone in the family!
  5. Samurai experience:

samurai ninja katana sword tameshigiri


  1. At least 18 years old. Participants younger than 18 can also join the sword training by wearing a traditional hakama but they are not allowed to do the final cutting.
    • At least 155 cm tall

What happens during the workshop?

Before beginning the lessons and practice, you will be putting on hakama or samurai armor, exclusively available at the Samurai & Ninja Museum Kyoto. You will be using a real samurai sword or katana during practice and during the trial cutting.

The bamboo mat or tatami used for the exercise will resemble the same strength and density as a human neck, making the experience feel just like samurai training! The tameshigiri is a form of practice for the samurai in old Japan (and now you) and is a way to test the edge of their blades.

Although this experience will focus on the tatami, tameshigiri is also practiced on thin steel, rice straws, and a variety of other materials.

Kyoto sword cutting experience tameshigiri

Kyoto sword cutting experience tameshigiri by Kyoto Samurai & Ninja Museum

The swordmaster will be going through the techniques you will need to make a successful cut. You will be given time to practice your posture and stance before proceeding to use your katana on the tatami.

You will be instructed in English or Japanese, depending on your preference. After the workshop, you will proceed to the inclusive tour of the KYOTO SAMURAI NINJA MUSEUM With Experience.

This workshop has a minimum age requirement of 18 years old.Participants younger than 18 can join the sword training by wearing a traditional outfit but not allowed to do the final cut.

Book your Tameshigiri Sword Cutting Workshop on this page!

The Samurai Experience

The samurais may have disappeared or integrated into the modern age of Japan, but their legacy lives on. You will get a glimpse of what it was like to be one of the most prestigious ruling classes of old Japan. Bear the honor of the samurai as you learn how to hold and sheath a katana, just like the samurai and their two swords – one for the enemy, and one for their honorable punishment.

This experience is the perfect opportunity to take pictures to take home as a souvenir from your trip.

The Samurai & Ninja Museum is a family-friendly establishment that provides enjoyable activities for people of all ages!

Tameshigiri: The Art of Japanese Sword Cutting

Historical Origins:

  • Developed in feudal Japan to test the quality and sharpness of swords (especially katana) and the skill of the swordsmith.


  • Assess a sword’s cutting ability by slicing targets like rolled tatami mats, bamboo, or straw bundles.

Philosophical Significance:

  • Teaches efficient attacks, emphasizing clean and elegant cuts as marks of skill and mastery.
  • Embodies discipline, focus, and the pursuit of perfection, similar to overcoming obstacles through dedicated practice and mindfulness (zan-shin).

Physics and Safety:

  • Ideal cutting angle: 70 degrees (avoiding the dangers of vertical (90 degrees) or horizontal (0 degreees) cuts).
  • Proper technique:
    • Push with one hand, pull with the other.
    • Balanced power distribution between hands.
    • Left hand ending movement next to the left hip.


  • Traditional targets: tatami mats (goza), bamboo (take), and rolled straw mats (waranugi).
  • Chosen for their density, simulating cutting through human bodies or armor.


  • Precise cutting techniques for clean and effective slices.
  • Understanding of angle, speed, and force needed for different materials.

Interesting Facts:

  • Tatami mats are soaked for 24 hours to achieve ideal resistance and protect valuable swords.
  • One tatami roll = resistance of an arm/neck; three = resistance of a torso.
  • (Historically) Tameshigiri was practiced on criminals (even recorded on sword tangs) – a banned practice now.
  • It is said that a criminal once swallowed rocks to damage a sword used for tameshigiri on him.
  • Our guests are sometimes upset if they cannot fully cut the roll which was actually a preferred way for the seppuku assitants. Seppuku assistants aimed for a partial cut (enough to kill but prevent the head from rolling, showing respect).

Respect for the Sword:

  • Tameshigiri emphasizes respect for the katana as a symbol of honor and skill.
  • Practitioners approach the art with reverence and mindfulness.


  • Paramount in tameshigiri.
  • Proper supervision and protective gear are mandatory.
  • Our facility uses barriers to prevent accidental cuts.


  • Competitions showcase cutting skills such as reverse cuts, multiple continous cuts or cutting multiple rolls at once.
  • Our facility prioritizes safety and STRICTLY restricts competition-style cuts.

A Brief History of the Samurai

The samurai are known as the best warriors in the world in their time, and stories about them still circulate to this day, staying as one of the most popular aspects of Japanese history and culture. These warriors were known for their bravery, military tactical prowess, and the “Bushido” or code of honor.

The samurai class rose to power around the 11th century, leading to the feudal age of Japan. They held control over the country and the Imperial court as one of the most powerful and intimidating classes until the abolishment of the feudal system in 1868. Since then, the samurai culture has greatly influenced modern Japanese society, with ideals of honor, respect, and loyalty deeply ingrained into ordinary everyday lives.

The samurai were known to wield a variety of weapons from bows and arrows to swords. One of the most well-known weapons of the samurai is the katana. The katana is an unrivaled quality sword and considered the most deadly and efficient weapon during battle. And although the weapons evolved throughout the time periods, the samurai kept the katana close, believing that it held the soul of the bearer. They also carried a short sword or knife known as a tachi. Wearing a katana and a tachi combination was called daisho, which became the hallmark of the Samurai.  The two swords represented the path of the samurai: The katana was the symbol for fighting a righteous battle, and the tachi was a reminder of personal honor.

Tameshigiri, also known as the Japanese art of test cutting was popularized in the Edo Period and is the ultimate samurai experience! During the Edo period, only the most experienced swordsmen were selected to test swords, so that the swordsman’s skill was not in doubt in determining how well the sword cut. The materials used to test swords varied greatly. In modern times, the practice of tameshigiri has focused on testing the ability of the swordsman rather than the cutting ability of the sword. The swords used are generally inexpensive. Practitioners of tameshigiri sometimes use the terms Shito (試刀, sword test) and Shizan (試斬, test cut, an alternative pronunciation of the characters for tameshigiri) to distinguish between the historical practice of sword testing and the modern practice of testing one’s cutting ability. Test your skills on tatami cutting mats during your training with a swordmaster.

As the samurai class dissolved into modern society, their previous skills and education were passed through generations. This lead to the creation of some of the most successful Japanese companies and industries. Tactical skills were applied to managerial positions, and practical skills directly influenced the high-quality manufactured goods in the country. One of the most notable products is the unrivaled Japanese knife, which applied the same techniques and methods as when the katanas were made.


Skip the lines and book Samurai and Ninja Ticket with us online!

Simply fill the form at the top of this page to schedule a tour and wait for a confirmation email from us. We hope to see you soon!

Need to cancel or reschedule? 

Please Note

  • You will not be allowed to join the sword cutting experience if you are under the influence of alcohol
  • You will not be allowed to join the sword cutting experience if you do not follow the instructions of the teacher
  • Participation in this experience may be restricted if you have any conditions that hinder your ability to stand straight and properly use a blade
  • If you have any type of health conditions that may pose a risk to you or others, please consider our simple sword training experience or our basic museum ticket
  • You must be 18 to participate in the experience. If you are older than 16 and taller than 170cm, send us an email, we may allow you to join the experience if both parents are present
  • In some rare cases, the instructor may feel that it is not safe for you to do the cutting after the training. In that case, he would suggest you politely and quietly (in a way that other guests’ dont notice) to practice more at the end. At the end you may try one more time or the instructor may recommend you to give up. In this case, we would be happy to refund you the bulk of your ticket. Your safety and satisfaction are our top priorities.


When is the Samurai & Ninja Museum open?

Our museum is open with tours available every day from 10:30 am to 18:30 pm.

Is there a minimum age for the workshop?

All participants in the tameshigiri workshop should be at least 18 years of age.

What is the difference between the tameshigiri workshop and the samurai sword training ticket?

The tameshigiri workshop uses a real katana while the samurai sword training for adults focuses on a non-contact martial art called “Iaido”.

Will the activities, and lessons be in English?

Yes! Our museum staff is fluent in English, but can also provide assistance in Chinese and Japanese should you prefer.

Can I buy a real sword like a katana?

Yes! We sell authentic samurai swords at our museum. You can talk to us during your visit or contact us online using the emails listed at the end of this page.

Do I need to book in advance?

For the sword cutting experience  we usually do not accept walkins this means you are highly recommend booking in advance before your trip . You also get 10% discount when you book online. Advanced reservations recommended especially during peak seasons to avoid the crowd.

Do you have a gift shop?

Yes! We offer a variety of souvenirs along with real samurai swords, replicas, and antique samurai armor.

Does the experience include a real katana?

Yes! A real katana will be used for the workshop to make the test-cutting work. This is our only workshop that offers this experience, and it is also the only one of its kind in Kyoto.

Can I wear anything besides the hakama/samurai outfit?

Yes! You, along with young boys and girls in your group can opt to wear a ninja uniform instead without any additional fees. If you came from Maikoya Kyoto in your kimono, you can inform us if you wish to keep wearing it during your time with us.

Check out our other workshops and classes!

Samurai & Ninja Museum Basic Ticket


Jonathan Handke
Jonathan Handke
10:31 17 Mar 20
It’s a must visit if you’re in Kyoto. The guides are absolutely amazing and speak good English. They even have a fully... fledged samurai which gives you a brief show with his katana!read more
Edmund Rosewright
Edmund Rosewright
10:41 10 Mar 20
This was a great experience for my family and I. We got to wear armor, play with weapons, and learn alot about Japanese... history. Everything was in English. Our tour guide Yuko was enthusiastic and awesome. I'd definitely recommend this place to anyone visiting Kyoto as a more
Adly Almanzo Adnan
Adly Almanzo Adnan
06:48 02 Mar 20
An excellent experience I would recommend. Not just for those with interest in samurai and ninja but to learn about... Japan's history with the samurai in general! Trying on the armour was an IG-worthy moment and I actually learnt a lot about ninja and samurai! 2 thumbs up!read more
Kelly Moore
Kelly Moore
02:22 11 Feb 20
Worth every penny!!! My partner and I did the value pack. First, we were dressed in traditional Japanese attire... (kimono), then we attended a traditional tea ceremony. After that, we were dressed in samurai gear, learned about their history, and then learned about ninjas and threw ninja stars. At the end, we observed a professional swordsman. Everyone was extremely knowledgeable, entertaining and funny, and hospitable. Our favorite part was the tea ceremony. The hostess was absolutely incredible. Book your visit online ahead of time, and make sure you know if you need to go to the museum or the tea ceremony first. They're only about 5 min apart by walk. Be careful- the museum is mixed in with a large, lively market. We actually showed up a few minutes late because we didn't fully prepare to find the place in all the hustle. Both places have maps to help you get to the other location. Please don't pass this up!read more
Stephanie Hunt
Stephanie Hunt
05:51 16 Jan 20
Loved this experience! Great balance of information and history, dressing up as samurai was fun and trying to throw... ninja stars and blow darts was awesome. Reasonably priced and we didn't have to wait at all. Took about an hour all more
21:24 14 Jan 20
Great place to learn about the history of the samurai & ninja. A great place to entertain the kids too as we got to... dress up and practice throwing ninja stars and blow darts. We were also lucky to see a martial arts demonstration. Spent a couple of hours here.Glad we came here before visiting the more
Kianosh Keyvani
Kianosh Keyvani
23:38 05 Jan 20
My husband and I had so much fun here. We chose the tatami mat cutting package. Sensei was patient and encouraging in... teaching us how to use a katana and some basic techniques. The rest of the staff were really friendly and informative in samurai history as they walked us through the artifacts. It was just a great more
Isaac Petrie
Isaac Petrie
05:24 03 Jan 20
The guide was fantastic and we had a great time. It was really informative. Throwing shuriken, blowing darts and... dressing as a samurai was a blast. Would more
Nikita Gohil
Nikita Gohil
04:21 25 Dec 19
An incredible experience! Got to witness proper samurai fighting and even attempt to try on samurai gear ourselves! We... got to throw ninja stars and try blow darts too! The history tour was also very educating and entertaining. Also the staff was very friendly!read more
Brett Vannier
Brett Vannier
13:55 07 Dec 19
Doesn't look like much from the outside, don't be fooled. This place is awesome and worth every penny. I paid extra to... cut tatami mat with a real sword. It was a legit 300 year old samurai sword. They are also extremely English more
Natalie Golding
Natalie Golding
18:47 07 Oct 19
A lighthearted introduction to Japan's alluring history of samurai and ninjas. As well as sorting the fact from the... fiction using a combination of written and spoken guides. The lovely guide we had also introduced the group to some of the lesser known elements of Japanese feudal history before we were all treated to a display from a samurai and then hands on ninja lessons (including throwing stars and blowpipes!) A tongue-in-cheek experience, but genuinely interesting for kids and adults alike - a great rainy day more
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    Kyoto Samurai & Ninja Museum

    The Samurai & Ninja Museum Kyoto is one of the leading samurai museums in Japan, with a wide range of displays from all throughout Japan’s rich history. We are the only experience-based museum that specializes in providing in-depth and immersive activities that provide our visitors with new perspectives on Japanese history. We have displays ranging from armors and weapons of the great samurai warriors and the mystical ninjas to everyday tools and artifacts from medieval and ancient Japan. Our souvenir gift shop features replica swords, tabi socks, and tabi shoes.  We provide guided tours every day, lead by friendly staff who are fluent in English and Japanese. Join us as you explore the glorious history of the legendary samurais and the mysterious ninjas!

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