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Samurai Story

A deep dive into the culture and ways of samurai

Cultivate your mind, body and spirit as you experience firsthand how the samurai arts and traditions live on in the present day. In this fully private and customizable tour, participate in personalized experiences led by skilled masters. Be accompanied by English-speaking guides knowledgeable in martial arts to provide interpretation and other assistance throughout your journey. Feel the samurai spirit through hands-on experiences and sojourns at key locations in Kanazawa, Tokyo, and Yamagata.

Tour at a glance


What this private tour includes



From ¥1,100,000 (per person for a group of 2 or more people)

Minimum number of participants

2 people
Solo travelers may be accepted on a case-by-case basis for an additional fee.

Tour length

8 days, 7 nights

Tour availability


Meeting location

Sample itinerary starts at Kanazawa Station.
Customizable according to your travel plans.

Important notes

It is recommended you make a reservation request at least 1 month in advance of your desired tour date. Experience availability may vary. Reserve to confirm availability.
Customization of this tour is available on request.

Days 1-3: Kanazawa

Kanazawa was once the seat of the powerful Maeda clan. Get a sense for what samurai life was like in its heyday with hands-on experiences and visits to beautifully preserved historical districts. The peace of the Edo period allowed cultural arts to flourish amongst the samurai class. The ruling shogun kept a watchful eye on rival clans like the Maeda, and excessive time devoted to martial arts was viewed with mistrust. To avoid arousing suspicion, samurai of this period turned to cultural pursuits like tea ceremony and horticulture.

Enjoy hands-on experiences in the same arts practiced by the samurai, both martial and cultural, under the guidance of experienced masters. Invigorate with private introductory experiences in kendo swordsmanship and kyudo archery. Unwind while enjoying cultural arts like tea ceremony and kaga yuzen textiles.   

Visit historical neighborhoods that feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to the golden age of samurai. Stroll Nagamachi, a former samurai residential district. Play in Higashi Chaya, a well-preserved entertainment district samurai used to frequent for both pleasure and discreet political liaisons.

Savor the cuisine of Kanazawa. A bounty of seafood is caught in ocean just off the coast here, where the mingling of currents nurtures a rich variety of sea life. Fresh sushi is of course a mainstay of modern Kanazawa cuisine, while fermented varieties like kabura-zushi offer a taste of history.  

Day 1

Start with a guided walking tour of Nagamachi, a historical preservation district of samurai residences. Continue on to Kenrokuen Garden, the spacious and refined garden of the Maeda clan that is counted among the Three Gardens of Japan. In the afternoon, try your hand at kyudo. Kyudo is a martial art derived from samurai archery, requiring precision and a steady hand. Learn the fundamentals under the guidance of an experienced master, then shoot arrows at targets placed across a field at the official kyudo training grounds of Kanazawa.

Day 2

Begin your day with a kendo and kenjutsu experience, learning the fundamentals under the guidance of an experienced master at his private dojo, then participate in a friendly match against one another. Kendo is a martial art born out of samurai duels, in which opponents attempt to strike one another with bamboo swords. Following this exciting activity, meet the descendant of a samurai family for a private showing of his family’s swords. Stroll Higashi Chaya later in the afternoon, one of the best-preserved samurai-era entertainment districts in Japan.

Day 3

Visit the D.T. Suzuki Museum dedicated to the philosopher who popularized Zen in the West. Afterwards, participate in a tea ceremony to learn tea ceremony etiquette and how to whisk a proper cup of matcha. At the end of the day, travel by bullet train to your next samurai destination, Tokyo. 

Day 4: Tokyo

The shogun made Tokyo, then known as Edo, his seat of power in 1603. during the peaceful period which followed, samurai influence reached an apex and cultural sophistication soared to new heights.  

Enjoy a private guided tour of sumo and samurai-related spots in and around Ryogoku, the sumo capital of Japan, to learn about the connection between sumo and samurai. Visit Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Arena, a sumo temple, Tokyo’s best sword museum, a traditional lantern maker’s workshop, and more.

Revel in the contrast between modern-day Tokyo and historical Edo. Feel the raw power of sumo up close and personal and come to understand its connection to samurai while exploring Ryogoku, the sumo capital of Japan. Then, spend the evening luxuriating in one of Tokyo’s finest hotels. 

Day 4

Start with exclusive access to a sumo stable to watch a morning practice. Be astounded at not only the might, but also the grace and speed with which these heavyweight wrestlers move. After training ends, gather round the table with the wrestlers and coach for conversation and a team breakfast of chanko nabe, a high-protein hotpot made with fresh vegetables and a variety of meats, chanko nabe is the breakfast staple of professional sumo wrestlers. Each stable has their own recipe; many are so delicious that retired sumo wrestlers often open restaurants where they serve their signature dish to the public. Afterwards, explore samurai-era culture in Tokyo via a guided walking tour through Ryogoku, the sumo capital of Japan. Then, check in and relax in an oasis in the heart of Tokyo, located on the site of a former Prime Minister villa and featuring a garden built in the 1800s by Tokyo’s leading gardener of the time. 

Day 5-8: Yamagata

Witness how the samurai spirit has transformed to over time. In Tsuruoka, learn how these former warriors reintegrated into society through silk and agriculture after the samurai class was abolished. Visit Matsugaoka, a silk making area founded by samurai in the 1800s, to shop for some of the finest silk in Japan—dubbed Samurai Silk in honor of its origins. You can also savor Italian cuisine made with Yamagata wagyu beef and heirloom vegetables unique to Tsuruoka, Japan’s first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. Tsuruoka is home to over 60 varieties of heirloom vegetables, passed down over centuries through careful cultivation and seed selection by local farmers. Additionally, visit spiritual sites that soothe the soul and sharpen the mind: meditate at a Zen temple; hike an ancient pilgrimage path with a mountain monk. 

After your time in Tsuruoka, venture to Murayama, Yamagata, known as the birthplace of iaido swordsmanship. Here, meet a charismatic master who embodies the modern samurai spirit for an in-depth training covering both traditional iaido as well as a modern battojutsu. Then, rise to the challenge of a 5-hour samurai swordsmanship training, culminating in tameshigiri test cutting—slicing through rolled tatami with a real katana.

Day 5

Reach the Shonai region of northern Yamagata swiftly via a one-hour flight from Tokyo in the morning, then eat your way around Tsuruoka, a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy known for its heirloom vegetables, sake, and more. You will also have the opportunity to visit a geisha house to meet maiko and watch them dance, much as samurai would have on special occasions. Stay overnight at a yamabushi mountain monk pilgrim’s lodge at the base of holy Mount Haguro.

Day 6

Start the morning off with a mountain monk Shugendo prayer ritual and enjoy a breakfast of mountain monk cuisine. Then accompanied by a real yamabushi mountain monk, climb the 2,446 stone stairs to reach the shrine at the peak of holy Mount Haguro. Proceed to a Zen meditation at Zenpoji Temple, where you can calm and focus the spirit with a zazen session led by the monks at the temple.

Day 7

Visit the Chido Museuma museum founded by a descendant of the samurai clan who once ruled the area. Exhibits include katana and historical buildings designated Nationally Important Cultural Properties. Afterwards, visit Matsugaoka, where samurai founded silk cultivation and started a new life for themselves after the fall of the shogunate. Luxuriate on the final night of your tour at a design-driven hot springs hotel set in the midst of rice paddies. Architect Ban Shigeru’s signature aesthetic, set off against the bucolic surroundings, is sight to behold.

Day 8

Venture to Murayama, the birthplace of iaido swordsmanship, founded when a samurai undergoing ascetic training here was bestowed a vision. At the dojo of Iai Shrine, where the founder of iaido is enshrined, participate in an in-depth samurai swordsmanship workshop consisting of a 5-hour intensive introductory training session and culminating in cutting through rolled tatami with a real katana. Travel back to Tokyo this evening via the Yamagata Shinkansen bullet train.


You can send a booking inquiry for your Samurai Story tour below. After we receive your inquiry, we will discuss further details with you via email or video chat consultation.

Cancelation Policy

Our cancellation policy for this tour is below. Cancellation fees may vary according to exceptional circumstances. 

60 days prior to tour start date

20% of total price

30-59 days prior to tour start date

50% of total price

29 days prior to departure to tour start date

100% of total price