Experience Matsumoto’s Celebrated Samurai Culture
Constructed at the end of the ‘Sengoku Jidai’ (Warring States Period), Matsumoto Castle is the grandest symbol of the city’s feudal origins and samurai heritage. To this day, residents of Matsumoto remain proud of that heritage, that can be experienced firsthand through historic activities available in the city. Among those activities, traditional ‘katana’ (sword) fighting and ‘hankyu’ (archery) are two of the most popular on offer, both of which can be enjoyed on a half-day private tour.
Learn the Art of the ‘Katana’ Sword
Known throughout the world as fierce yet honorable warriors, samurai are just as famous for the skilled use of their favored weapon - the equally legendary ‘katana’. Meticulously crafted and deadly, samurai swords symbolize the ethos of the period and nature of the warriors who wielded them.
While in Matsumoto, you can try your hand at use of these legendary weapons on a private half-day tour including instruction by a samurai master. An expert in handling the swords, your instructor will guide you in traditional techniques used by samurai while providing insight into that world through their deep knowledge. You’ll also have the chance to wear samurai kimono and accoutrements, as you step back in time and play the role of the warriors that once defended the ‘daimyo’ (feudal lord) and his domain.
Extend Your Skill with ‘Hankyu’ Archery
Samurai employed both close combat and long-range weapons including archery. Known as ‘hankyu’ in Japanese, bows used by the samurai were smaller and more mobile that the well-known ‘kyudo’ long bows. Designed to be used while seated, hankyu could be drawn and shot while on horseback, allowing samurai to be mobile and attack from distance.
Following-on from your katana experience, you will be guided in use of a hankyu bow inside a room specifically designed for the experience. Targets are placed at 7 meters and once you are confident in use of the bow, you are free to have many attempts to refine your skill – a great way for families and friends to compete!
Matsumoto Castle: The Heart of the Samurai Story
Matsumoto Castle is one of only five such structures in Japan designated a National Treasure. During your tour you will be guided at the castle and provided with further insight into the feudal domain that was once ruled by the daimyo and his samurai.
Constructed in 1593 - in the closing stages of the Warring States Period - the castle was designed to be defended with use of traditional weapons including swords and bows along with modern weapons such as guns. Introduced to Japan in the mid-16th, guns are as much a part of the castle story as the legendary katana and hankyu, and all part of a fascinating story that will be brought to life by this immersive tour.
Meeting Location: Tour begins at Matsumoto Station. Your guide will meet you at 1:30pm.
Group Type: Private Tour
Important information: Please note that the stairs to reach the top of Matsumoto Castle’s tower are steep and narrow.
The tour itinerary includes the following visits:
- Katana Experience (1 hour)
- Matsumoto Castle Tour (2 hour)
- Hankyu Experience (1 hour)
Please note that the above times are estimates and that the tour may end
earlier or later depending on how busy Matsumoto Castle is, especially during
holiday periods and on weekends.
Cancellation Policy: To receive a full refund, cancel up to 24 hours before the experience start date in the local time zone. No refunds will be given after that time period.
Terms & Conditions: Please see our Terms & Conditions