What an amazing 2 hrs, I did this with my son aged 11 and he wanted to do it again the next day, the guide was knowledgeable and it was very interesting and we were able to use a real sword to try and slice through bamboo - it is extremely difficult - a must to do in Kyoto.
We scheduled this tour as part of our family's month-long stay in Japan. To date, this has been our children's ages 11, 14, 16, and 18 favorite experience. We mom and dad liked it too. The venue is a historic home that is 200 years old. The hosts are friendly and very knowledgable. You learn about samurai history, the katana, meditation and more. It is interactive and interesting. Everyone gets a chance to use the katana, which made it a huge hit with the kids. If you are coming to Kyoto and want to do something more than just look at shrines, temples, and castles which are all great, you should do this Samurai Experience.
The experience is very exciting, our guide met us at the train station and provided a short 3 minute walk to the venue a traditional Samarai house we were greeted by a hostess who dressed us in our kimonos. We were given a brief tour of the first two rooms and learned the history of the building, and then were greeted by the samarai master. He spoke Japanese and the hostess translated into english we learned the history of the samaurai and what we were expected to do for the rest of the time with them. We were then given a demonstration of the katana by the master and were ushered to the kitchen area to do some practice. We learned how to stand, where our arms should be and how to swing a sword. We were then given a real katana and had a go of cutting a grass mat, this was the most exciting part. Following the rush of this activity we finished our time and returned to the room for a meditation activity, we got to relax and meditate for a few minutes and then were given a flute demonstration of ancient Japanese sounds. It was surreal. This experience was well worth the money, and dont pass up the opportunity.
Excellent experience for those who love all things Samurai. The opportunity to dress up and use a Katana and learn a bit about Samurai in an authentic Samurai setting was excellent. The meditation session was also interesting for those that cannot meditate. The staff were friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable.