Order today and we will ship before
Order today and we will ship before
Price may increase depending on customizations
All orders are final. No modification or cancellation will be accepted once an order is placed. Even shorter production delays do not give right to cancellation.
The production time is 3 to 5 weeks for Minosaka Iaito, 6 (standard) to 10 (full custom) weeks for Jisei Iaito (without including possible holidays) depending on selected options. We will contact you within 3 business days after you passed your order if the completion date estimated by the workshop is later than the shipping date indicated at checkout.
To ensure that you haven't missed anything, all options must be selected, even when you want a standard element.
Even if an option is visible on the product's pictures, it is not available for this specific product if it is not visible in the selection. All available options are displayed in that selection and we will not accept any request for options not listed below.
We strongly recommend reading in details our guide "How to Choose your Iaito" and taking time to make sure that each option corresponds to your wish before placing an order for a custom Iaito.
Blade Shape & Groove
The Dotanuki Iaito is a very special model based on the famous swordsmith Dotanuki Masakuni. Not that his blades were of such incredible quality, but they were especially heavy and came in multiple different original shapes almost never copied in history.
- Standard Blade: very similar to all other models, with one difference, its super heavy weight: about 1,200 g (without Saya).
Unokubi Blade: Unokubi means "as the う letter" in Japanese. It refers to a blade that does not have a Shinogi (the top part of the blade). The groove starts under the Habaki and stops at about one third of the blade, then where the grooves end, the blade starts to get thinner.
This pushed the balance of the sword strongly toward the Tsuka, allowing to keep a balance very similar to a standard weight Iaito but with a very heavy blade.
It is said that this finish made cutting through easier as the part that cuts through (the mono uchi) is thinner. With its shorter groove, this version is even heavier, 1,250 g (without Saya).
- Daiboshi Blade: Daiboshi simply means "big hat", and it actually refers to the kissaki (tip) of the blade. The boshi is precisely the part of the hamon temper line that extends to the kissaki. On this version, the Kissaki is therefore much longer than on the two other models. In addition, the groove is also limited to one third of the blade, which makes this finish the heaviest Iaito blade made in Japan, all workshops included. Similarly to the Unokubi version, this blade type is the heaviest with about 1,250 g (without Saya).
The blade length is measured in the Japanese traditional unit called Shaku. One Shaku equals 30.3 cm, or roughly 1 feet (0.994 Ft.). Its sub-unit is the "Sun". There are ten "Sun" in one "Shaku", so 5 Sun can also be written 0.5 Shaku. Note that the length of a blade does not include the Habaki (see pictures), but is measured in a straight line from the tip (Kissaki) to what is called the Munemachi (base of the blade), hidden under and partly covered by the Habaki. For reasons related to the alloy strength, light and standard blades are available for lengths up to 2.55 Shaku and thick/heavy blades are available for lengths up to 2.70 Shaku Wakizashi are available from 1.30 to 1.50 Shaku.
Here comes the text for the Satsuma Koshirae Monster
The blade length depends on your height, the length of your arms and the school you practice. The size table below is the official recommendation of the Japanese Iaido Federation. Women are advised to use a blade one size shorter than men of the same height. For people who are not specialist of Iaido (Aikidoists for example), we also recommend to use a blade a size shorter than the recommendation, because it will make the sword drawing/sheathing easier.
Please also make sure to consult your teacher to check that the size table below is applicable to your school.
Note that the size recommendation does not apply to Wakizashi as the Iaido federation does not provide such recommendation. However, we do recommend to avoid too long blades to smaller practitionners
|Your height||Length for men||Length for women|
|~ 150 cm||1.30 shaku / 39.4 cm||N/A|
|~ 150 cm||1.35 shaku / 40.9 cm||N/A|
|~ 150 cm||1.40 shaku / 42.4 cm||N/A|
|~ 150 cm||1.45 shaku / 43.9 cm||N/A|
|~ 150 cm||1.50 shaku / 45.4 cm||N/A|
|~ 150 cm||2.20 shaku / 66.6 cm||N/A|
|~ 155 cm||2.25 shaku / 68.2 cm||2.20 shaku / 66.6 cm|
|~ 160 cm||2.30 shaku / 69.6 cm||2.25 shaku / 68.2 cm|
|~ 165 cm||2.35 shaku / 71.2 cm||2.30 shaku / 69.6 cm|
|~ 170 cm||2.40 shaku / 72.7 cm||2.35 shaku / 71.2 cm|
|~ 175 cm||2.45 shaku / 74.2 cm||2.40 shaku / 72.7 cm|
|~ 180 cm||2.50 shaku / 75.8 cm||2.45 shaku / 74.2 cm|
|~ 185 cm||2.55 shaku / 77.3 cm||2.50 shaku / 75.8 cm|
|~ 190 cm||2.60 shaku / 78.8 cm||2.55 shaku / 77.3 cm|
|Up to 200 cm||2.70 shaku / 81.8 cm||NA|
In the case of real steel blade, clay is applied on the blade prior to the cooling process, and the difference in hardness between the edge and the rest of the blade results in this line called "Hamon". It outlines the transition between the region of harder martensitic steel at the blade's edge and the softer pearlitic steel at the center and back of the sword. This difference in hardness is the goal of the whole process; the appearance is purely a side effect but the Hamon became a very important artistic feature that defines the level of mastery of the swordsmith. Iaito being made from an alloy, the Hamon is printed by depolishing the blade using specific patterns and Minosaka's craftsmen do their best to reproduce the most famous Hamon.
The Suguha, Midare, Notare and Gunome Hamon are standardized Hamon. They are a kind of mix between the most common type of existing Hamon. All other models are fairly faithfull reproductions of Hamon existing on antique blades. Hamon are named either by the name of the Samurai who possessed the sword (for famous swords) or the name of the Swordsmith (for the most famous swordsmith). Their price depends on the quantity of work needed to reproduce them.
Habaki & Seppa
The habaki is the piece of metal circling the base of the blade. It has the two main purposes, locking the tsuba in place, maintaining the sword in the Saya.
Unlike Shinken Habaki, that can be incredibly expensive, Iaito Habaki are standardized and gently forced in place. This means that it is not recommended to remove/change the Habaki on a Iaito blade.
Habaki are made of brass and available in two different design, standard and Shonai (ancien design) and 3 different finishes, black (oxydized), gold plated and silver plated. Note that due to the oxydation process, it is not possible to blacken the Shonai design.
The seppa are washers used in front and behind the tsuba to tighten the fittings, made of copper or brass. They are mandatory to keep the Tsuba in place securely.
They are available in black (oxydized), gold plated brass and silver plated brass.
The Tsuba is the guard for the sword and has the function to protect the hand from the opponent's blade but also from having one's hand sliding onto the blade during Tsuki (thrust) techniques.
It though has two more qualities: aesthetic and balance adjustment. During the Edo period, the Tsuba turned progressively into a decorative ornament, often generously worked, giving every sword a personal and special touch.
The Tsuba can present one or two holes on the sides that were used to draw the Kogatana (small knife) or Kogai (hair spike) that were fitted inside the sides of the Saya. The Tsuba used to be made by entire dynasties of craftsmen who only specialized in that particular field, almost vanished in the present time.
The average weight of a standard Tsuba is 120 g.
A heavy Tsuba (> 120 g) will tend to shift the balance downwards the handle, making the Iaito easier to handle whereas a light Tsuba (< 120 g) will push the balance towards the Kissaki, the tip of the blade. The latter one is recommended if you decide to focus on cutting training. You will find below some photos of all our Tsuba but also details on size, material, and weight.
Please note that the pictures above only display the front side of the Tsuba. You can find pictures of the back side on each standalone Tsuba product page.
Tsuba Technical Specifications
|Eagle||Blackened iron||75 mm x 70 mm x 4.1 mm||136 g|
|Name of a famous Samurai clan. Also called Kuruma Sukashi.||Blackened copper||75 mm x 73 mm x 5.3 mm||123 g|
|The 7 treasures (gold, silver, pearls, agate, crystal, coral, lapis lazuli)||Blackened iron||74 mm x 70 mm x 4.1 mm||135 g|
|Favored by the famous samurai Hanjiro.||Blackened copper||79 mm x 65 mm x 6 mm||142 g|
|Design by a famous blacksmith of the Edo period||Blackened iron||84 mm x 75 mm x 4.3 mm||150 g|
|Gourd (calabash)||Blackened copper||71 mm x 70 mm x 5 mm||126 g|
|Used by the most famous of all samurai||Blackened copper||74 mm x 74 mm x 7.1 mm||146 g|
|Kasuga refers to the shape of the Tsuba.||Blackened iron||84 mm x 76 mm x 4.1 mm||138 g|
|Dragon under the rain||Blackened iron||81 mm x 77 mm x 4.1 mm||147 g|
|Holothuroidea (sea cucumber)||Blackened iron||74 mm x 69 mm x 4.1 mm||90 g|
|Plain (no pattern)||Blackened iron||74 mm x 69 mm x 4.1 mm||134 g|
|Butterfly shadow||Blackened copper||74 mm x 72 mm x 5 mm||106 g|
|Waves||Blackened iron||81 mm x 77 mm x 4.1 mm||145 g|
|Design by a famous blacksmith of the Edo period||Blackened copper||76 mm x 72 mm x 4.5 mm||120 g|
|A famous design of the Higo province (now Kumamoto)||Blackened iron||75 mm x 71 mm x 4.1 mm||90 g|
|Design by a famous blacksmith of the Edo period||Blackened iron||85 mm x 76 mm x 4.1 mm||165 g|
Icho Zogan (Kasuga)
|Kasuga shape with silver ginkgo arabesque||Blackened iron||84 mm x 77 mm x 4.1 mm||141 g|
The Tsuka, or handle, is made of Japanese hackbery wood. On a Shinken, the Same is a piece of shark skin wrapped around the wood to reinforce the Tsuka structure. However, to make the cost reasonable, Tsuka on Iaito only feature smaller pieces of shark skin that are embedded in the wood on each side, the purpose being only aesthetic.
The length of the Tsuka is measured including the Fuchi and Kashira. Depending on the kind of Tsukaito (cotton, silk, leather), the length of the Tsuka can be adapted slightly to get a fine result.
In most schools, the length of the Tsuka should be enough to put one hand of the practitioner three time (that is, there should be a space equivalent to one hand between your hands when you hold the sword).
The length of the Tsuka will also be rather important regarding the balance of the Iaito. If you want to keep a standard balance, we recommend that you follow the indications below.
|Blade Length||Recommended Tsuka Length|
|1.30 ~ 1.35 Shaku blade||5.5 ~ 6 sun Tsuka|
|1.40 ~ 1.45 Shaku blade||6 ~ 6.5 sun Tsuka|
|1.50 Shaku blade||6.5 ~ 7 sun Tsuka|
|2.20 ~ 2.25 Shaku blade||7.5 ~ 8 sun Tsuka|
|2.20 ~ 2.25 Shaku blade||7.5 ~ 8 sun Tsuka|
|2.30 ~ 2.35 Shaku blade||8 ~ 8.5 sun Tsuka|
|2.40 ~ 2.45 Shaku blade||8.5 ~ 9 sun Tsuka|
|2.50 ~ 2.55 Shaku blade||9 ~ 9.5 sun Tsuka|
|2.60 ~ 2.70 Shaku blade||9.5 ~ 10 sun Tsuka|
The Tsukaito has two main purposes: it serves as a grip and it holds the Tsuka tightly together. A tightly wrapped Tsuka is extremely important for security.
Cotton allows a better absorbtion of the sweat but is less durable than silk and leather. It is the standard option on most Iaito.
Silk feels a little harder and may not be recommended for beginners but has a significantly longer lifespan.
Leather does not absorbs sweat but offers an excellent grip and is the most durable material. Leather is available in standard and suede version (napped finish). The latter has a slightly better grip but is slightly less durable.
Please be aware that since those materials are made traditionally, colors can slightly vary depending on the batch.
In general, the Tsukaito is of the same color as the Sageo to keep the fitting harmonious, but this is not mandatory and you can select two different colors if you like.
Tsuka Same & Maki
The Samekawa or "shark skin" is the part under the Tsukaito. Despite being called a "samekawa", and because shark hunting isn't really a thing nowadays, stingray skin is used instead. Its main purpose is to keep the Tsukaito in place and to reinforce the Tsuka structure. The same is sanded and polished in order to produce a durable high quality type of leather.
On live blades (Shinken) mount, the Same is a "maki same", wrapper around the Tsuka wood. However, for cost reasons, Iaito Tsuka are made with two rectangular pieces of same embedded in the Tsuka. This is called Tanzaku-same.
Makisame, is a large piece of stingray skin wrapper around the Tsuka. It makes the Tsuka slightly bigger, but more importantly, very strongly reinforce the Tsuka structure and offers a much better grip to the Tsukaito for maximum durability. The Makisame option is made the exact same way Shinken same are made.
Please note that we also provide a plastic same option for customers concerned about animal protection. The plastic same is only available in white and in black, and as a "tanzaku same only" (Makisame is not possible) .
The Tsukamaki is how the tsukaito (cord) is wrapped on the Tsuka. Hinerimaki is the standard wrapping, known by all practitionners.
Hiramaki is a very specific wrapping that makes the center of the Tsuka flat. This is a popular wrapping in Iai schools with an important number of single handed techniques/moves.
In order secure the Menuki correctly, the cord goes over the Menuki on each side (which may significantly hide the Menuki on the smaller ones). >Finaly, the Katatemaki style is more suited for decoration than practice because it doesn't hold as well as the other wrapping. It is however attested that it was the wrapping used by famous Samurai Akechi Mitsuhide. Given that side parts of the Tsuka are left naked, this wrapping is only available with Makisame.
In option, we offer to put 2 mekugi (peg) in the Tsuka. This may reassure you as 2 mekugi feel safer, but from the craftsmen point of view, since Iaito are very rarely taken apart, this option is unnecessary). This option is not available for Hiramaki.
The Saya is made of two piece of Japanese hackberry wood that are glued together. It is reinforced by both the Sayajiri (end of the Saya), the Koiguchi, and of course, the lacquer. For cost reasons, unlike Shinken, the lacquer of Saya for Iaito are not made from traditional Urushi lacquer but from modern urethane lacquer.
Lacquer with a name ending in "ro" have a glossy finish, with a perfectly smooth surface. Lacquer with a name ending in "ishime" have a grainy finish, with a rough feel. The "ro" finish being smoother, the Saya is easier to slip in the Obi (belt).
If you plan on moving a lot with your Iaito, we recommend a "ishime" finish, which has a better resistance to scratches.
Saya Kurikata (optional)
The Kurikata is the piece placed 7.5 cm from the Koiguchi (Saya hole) on the Omote side of the Saya, used to nest the Sageo.
The Kurikata is usually placed 7.5 cm from the Koiguchi. Depending on your body type and the school you practice, you may want to move away the Koiguchi a little bit. You can set the position up to 20 cm from the Koiguchi, but it shouldn't be farther than 12 to 15 cm. This option increases the production time to about 5 to 6 weeks.
The Shitodome is a small piece of brass, gold or silver plated, inserted in the Kurikata (the hole in which the Sageo goes). The Shitodome is purely decorative.