A Luke at Japan

Japan. The land of the rising sun.  These are the voyages of Luke Summerhayes. His one-year mission; to seek out everyday life and ancient history, to explore a strange new world, to boldly (and baldly) go where every nerd has gone before!

Part 11: Samurai Museum

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The Samurai fascinate me. 

Ruling Japan for centuries, the Samurai were a class of warriors. Lead by the Shogun, the Daimyos beneath him and the lords of individual castles, the Samurai at first appear analogous to Western Knights.

Where they differ is there mad obsession with honour. To samurai, proving themselves to be the bravest, toughest, most loyal badasses was more important than anything, even their own lives. Everything about them revolved around this need to prove what absolute lads they were. Even the famously ostentatious armour was designed to make it obvious who was performing what great deeds on the battlefield, so glory could be claimed after the fact.

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The Samurai Museum in Shinjuku displays an impressive private collection. Artworks depicting great battles, swords and weapons from centuries of history, and best of all lots of suits of armour.

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Even better, guided tours are offered throughout the day. Myself and only one other guest were lead around by a guide who was knowledgeable, affable and spoke impeccable English. At the culmination of the tour we were allowed to try on helmets and clothes, and pose with katana.

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There was even a live performance of sword skills and bushido techniques, with entertaining surprises in store. 

An unbeatable experience which I'm sure would make a great day out for the whole family, from Samurai obsessives like myself to those who don't know their Tom Cruise from their Oda Nobunaga.

The heart-breakingly flimsy armour worn by the common footsoldiers, complete with 200-year old bloodstains. A small reminder of the human cost for all the Samurais' bravado.

The heart-breakingly flimsy armour worn by the common footsoldiers, complete with 200-year old bloodstains. A small reminder of the human cost for all the Samurais' bravado.

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