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Kuraya Hashimoto
Preserving the World of the Samurai Sword, the Height of Japanese Spirit and Craftsmanship

One street south of Nijo Castle, there stands a tiny shop whose window attracts almost every passerby's attention or even draws them to come inside. This is Kuraya Hashimoto, a specialty shop for Japanese swords.

The small interior is full of items including real swords, artistic and modern swords, and sword guards as well as accessories such as bags, straps, display stands and more. Kuraya Hashimoto opened their doors as a specialist of Japanese swords 50 years ago on this site. The founder in 1968 was the present owner's mother, he then took over the shop about 30 years ago and is now ready to hand over to his son, the next generation.

The samurai sword is one of the most symbolic items of Japan and was the single most essential item for samurai and ninja. Especially for samurai, their sword was far beyond being just a simple weapon and was something dignified which represented the pride and spirit of Japanese samurai in those days. Thus, the sword was second only to their life. Today, swords are obviously no longer used as a weapon but are still highly regarded as art works. There are a great number of ardent sword collectors all around the world.

When Japan entered the period of sweeping modernization at the start of the Meiji period (1868-1912), the culture of samurai was demolished. The new government banned citizens from carrying swords in public. After WW2, even manufacturing swords was banned and most swordsmiths lost their means of livelihood. However, the spirit of the Japanese sword lived on. The owner says that it is his honor that Kuraya Hashimoto has preserved this beautiful symbolic form of the distinctive spirit of Japan.

Open: 10:00-17:30; Closed: Tues. & Wed.; Tel: 075-811-4645; www.kurayahashimoto.com