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  • Buying an Iaito in Japan?

    Hey all,
    I'm rather new to this forum, but I have found you all to be very knowledgable in the purchasing of an Iaito. I know, another thread on buying an iaito, lol...but anyway, I've been practicing Iaido for about a month using a friend's iaito, but I'm looking to get my own soon. Rather than save up the money (which would take me until the summer) and order one, I am conveniently going to be in Japan in the beginning of June as a graduation present from my generous sisters. Since it will be about that long until I can afford my own Iaito, I was wondering if any of you could help me out with some reputable stores in Japan who sell mid quality iaito without having to donate my heart to afford it. I'm hoping to have about USD$400-500 to spend on my first...Thanks for any info!

    Oh...I'm going to be in Tokyo and Kyoto the majority of the week, but anywhere a train can get me I can go, basically, so long as it's on Honshu.

    Thanks!

    -Isaac

  • #2
    Hi Isaac,

    There is Tozando in Kyoto www.tozando.com , Meirin in Osaka www.nipponto.co.jp (just a quick train ride away), and I am sure there are numberous places in Tokyo. However from what I read (somewhere else on this forum) it is not easy taking a sword out of Japan. You may want to look into that a little more before deciding to buy a sword over here. Happy hunting!

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    • #3
      Thanks for the great info, xvikingx! I'll definitely have to look into taking the sword home, thanks for the heads up.

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      • #4
        No problem. Sorry, I tried finding what read read earlier about taking swords out of Japan, but no dice. Try getting a hold of Alex or Hamish and ask them. I sure they can provide you with the information you will need to take your purchase home with you.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by xvikingx
          Hi Isaac,

          There is Tozando in Kyoto www.tozando.com , Meirin in Osaka www.nipponto.co.jp (just a quick train ride away), and I am sure there are numberous places in Tokyo. However from what I read (somewhere else on this forum) it is not easy taking a sword out of Japan. You may want to look into that a little more before deciding to buy a sword over here. Happy hunting!

          On a trip to Japan, I had a hard time finding a good shop, and had to travel for quite a stretch to find a good one in Tokyo. I found one close to a amusement park, dont remember the name and adress. took me a day, and it was hardly worth it.
          In Kyoto ist was much easier, plenty of shops in a walking distance. I found that Tozando was in fact quite expensive compared to the other I visited, and there were plenty of good offers on all kind of equipment. I bought some kendo-gear in a small budo-shop next to Butokuden, and drooled around on some "shinken-stores". Plenty of good offers, that you will not find on the net.
          You will without find a good iaito that will last you for years for a couple of hundred dollars, and its easiest in Kyoto, according to my (limited) experience.

          Taking a iaito out of Japan is no problem, if in doubt, the custom-officer test your blade with a magnet. If it does not attach to the blade, he quickly looses his interest, as an alloy blade is not defined as a nihonto
          Last edited by roar; 27th February 2004, 09:50 PM.

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          • #6
            lol, a magnet...sounds like it's not bad then. Thanks for the help!

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            • #7
              go to the Budokan in Kyoto, Meirin is just across the road....how easy can it get??!!! They do some nice hakama etc to go with the iaito, so you may as well take advantage and go for a package deal. I got quite a good price on my stuff, but dont let them send it airmail, if they havent got it you must NOT buy it. It cost me a lot in tax last time to learn the hard way...
              Try and take a teacher with you, they argue hard for a good discount as you are a poor foreigner with no money etc...
              Shame you couldnt time the visit for a taikai, although something may be going on the weekend you go...
              Bringing iaito out is no problem, I got a bit of hassle until I had the magnet test... take off the tsuba and replace it with a bit of leather to protect the koiguchi before you fly home, dont trust baggage handlers not to break it..
              There is also a big conference centre at the bottom of the road, where they had an antiques fair, a book fair and some demonstrations on while I was there over the May weekend. You never know, you might hit it lucky and get something similar. I got some late 19th century prints for $2 each...unframed of course...but now look good in my hallway!

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              • #8
                Thanks for the great info, Chidokan
                I'll definitely have to check that out while I'm in Kyoto.

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                • #9
                  I have nothing useful to add...

                  But can I just say that I am deadly jealous!!! I wanna go to Japan too! *frowns*

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                  • #10
                    just go, its worth the money for the total immersion in iaido for a week or two. Costs me about 1500 a trip and I do spend a lot on kit while I am there. Reckon if I didnt go mad on kit I could do it on a 1000 budget, which would include a lot of training... Probably cheaper for you than us as you live closer....This coming visit I am going for a new sword, so will need quite a bit more. Saying that I saw some antique blades for around 2500/3000 that would fit the bill nicely, just needed a polish. For some reason newer blades are quite cheap at the moment.

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                    • #11
                      Did he get an iaito?

                      Does anyone know if Isaac made a purchase of an iaito in Japan? He last posted in March and he mentioned that he was to visit Japan in June. So, did he make it back or is he M.I.A.?

                      Hey Isaac, if you are out there somewhere, let us know what decision you made. If you made a purchase, I think that it is only fair for you to post some photos of your iaito. Some details would be nice too.

                      Cheers

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                      • #12
                        Can't afford to go. I'm doing my PhD at the moment and living off scholarship is no mean feat, especially with a mortgage to pay off. *sighs* Need to set up a send-bec-to-japan fund.

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                        • #13
                          my tickets came today, May 28th to June 10th, see my post in the visiting Japan threads for my practise...try not to be too jealous! Kyoto first for shopping and sightseeing as I never did any last time, then training for 6 days, then a tour north of Tokyo for museums, fishing, more training. All that and the opportunity of telling about 15 7th dans and up where they are going wrong....( thats just before they rip me apart mentally and physically...)

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                          • #14
                            Hi all, this tread is abit old but I thought why bother starting a new one?

                            I found this info useful as I'm making a trip to Osaka and Kyoto end of this month. I know of Tozando, but I'm wondering if there is any area in Kyoto or Osaka where there are a few shops located together.

                            I'd be convenient for me to walk from shop to shop hunting for bargains rather than taking the train to each individual shop.

                            Also where would be the best place to hunt for antique tsuba?

                            Thanks heaps!

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                            • #15
                              Meirin is multi storey, with levels for kendo, iaido, kyudo, and antique stuff... can be pricey though so be careful, although the full armours were very nicely priced. They had a large selection of tsuba in various prices (one of which I bought), however there were better antique shops in Kyoto in a long covered market area, and I got a couple there as well. Unfortunately I was being driven around so lost my bearings, but one was really close but outside this covered street. It was fairly close to a railway station as well if that helps...

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