Surrounded by love hotels and hostess bars, the oddly placed Samurai Museum is dedicated to the warriors of Japan's past. The location of this exhibition is somewhat surprising. Shinjuku is filled with hotels, shopping establishments, nightlife and Tokyo's famous Robot Restaurant. I would have never expected to find The Samurai Museum past a huge hotel and a giant Godzilla.
At 1,800 yen ($17 USD), the entrance fee is relatively compared to all the other admissions I paid for. The museum is in a small two-storied building. Each room is carefully curated and decorated with tatami mats and delicate paper screens. The thematic lighting and music also sets the ambiance of a historic Japan during the Sengoku period.
The museum's founder spent more than five years painstakingly building this collection of samurai costumes, head gears swords and guns. Some of the suits of armor are replicas, while others are originals used in real battles from hundreds of years ago. The Tokyo National Museum, which is near Senso-ji Temple and the Tokyo Skytree, houses more of the original armors.
The mission of the Samurai Museum is to educate locals and tourists about Japan's historical warfare and to preserve the soul of the samurai. During its heyday, about 10% of the Japanese population samurais with a warrior's code of honor above life. However, after the Meiji Restoration, samurai rights were abolished. This led to the decline of the samurai population in Japan.
In addition to the tour and cosplay session, visitors can also sign up for calligraphy course, a sword class and a reenactment of a sword battled by samurai performers. For most foreigners, the highlight of this museum is a photo session donning a full a samurai armor. The armors are reproduced to be more fitting for westerner's stature as the typical samurai warrior was about 5 feet fall. The helmet replicas, while just as heavy, are also fitted to be less abrasive on the head. If you look closely, almost all samurai warriors shave the top of their head to prevent it from getting blisters from the weight of the steel helmets - which can be as heavy as 10 pounds or more.