Iaito Minosaka Higo Koshirae

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¥76,500 ~
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The Higo Koshirae is an high end Iaito, fully order-made, crafted from scratch in Japan with a sand-casted bubble-free zinc/aluminum alloy blade. This model has a "standard" blade for an average weight. It results in a classic Iaito balance, centered toward the Tsuba, and should be suitable for all practitioners. It is an excellent Iaito for beginners and intermediate alike, who have enough budget to acquire a weapon of higher quality with some customization.

Within the Minosaka lineup, the Higo model is on the middle end, with high quality Fuchi & Kashira, a higher grade finish for the Kuroro and Kuroishime lacquer, and of course, a higher grade finish for the blade (especially the Yokote).

"Higo" was a samurai clan of the Edo period whose swords were solely designed for combat effectiveness. Although many variations exist, the rounded Kashira is an immutable characteristic of this clan. The Fuchi and Kashira are of classic Higo design and feature arabesques patterns.

Given that the "Higo style" is extremely diverse and includes very different Koshirae styles, the workshop has no specific recommendation for the options. Feel free to customize this model to your liking.

Also available in short size Wakizashi Iaito: Wakizashi Iaito Minosaka Higo Koshirae.

Technical Specifications
Fuchi/Kashira FKM105 - Higo
Copper with gold inlay
Fuchi: 41 x 23 x 10 mm
Kashira: 35 x 18 x 16 mm
Blade bottom width ~32 mm
Blade end width ~20 mm
Blade bottom thickess ~6 mm
Weight for 2.45 Shaku ~840 g without Saya | ~1,100 g with Saya

Iaito Customizations

All orders are final. No modification or cancellation will be accepted once an order is placed. Short production delays do not give right to cancellation.

The production time is 3 to 6 weeks for Minosaka Iaito 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 Length

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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. Please note that a blade length 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. 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, owing to the alloy’s resistance. Wakizashi are available from 1.30 to 1.50 Shaku.

The Satsuma Koshirae is the only Iaito that can be manufactured up to 3 shaku. The blade being specifically designed and manufactured for extra long blade, it is not possible to manufacture it under 2. 80 shaku.

The blade length depends on your height, on your arms length and on the school in which 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 that of men of the same height. We also recommend for people who are not specialists (Aikidoka for example) to use a blade a size shorter than the recommendation, because it will make the sword unsheathing/sheathing easier.
Blade length is of course related to the Saya length, but note that for a same blade length, the Saya length can slightly vary.

Please also make sure to consult your teacher to check that the size table below is applicable to your school.

Please note that the size recommendation does not apply to Wakizashi as the Iaido federation does not provide such recommendations. However, we do recommend avoiding too long blades for small practitioners

Your height Length for men Length for women

1.30 shaku / 39.4 cm 1.30 shaku / 39.4 cm

1.35 shaku / 40.9 cm 1.35 shaku / 40.9 cm

1.40 shaku / 42.4 cm 1.40 shaku / 42.4 cm

1.45 shaku / 43.9 cm 1.45 shaku / 43.9 cm

1.50 shaku / 45.4 cm 1.50 shaku / 45.4 cm
~ 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 N/A

Blade Groove

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The groove, called “Hi” or “Bohi” in Japanese, has several purposes: it can make the blade lighter and more flexible, or it can help to drain the blood for instance. Minosaka offers a few custom options for the groove but of course, there is no finish available when the chosen option is "without groove".

  • Hi Dome: Standard: the groove has an ogival shape and stops approximately 4 cm from the Habaki.
  • Hi Dome: Kakinagashi: the groove goes on under the Habaki. It makes the blade even lighter and moves the balance of the blade further towards the Tsuka.
  • Hi Saki: Shinken: this kind of finish looks like the grooves that can be found on Shinken. The tips of the grooves where they connect with the Kissaki (tip of the blade) are manually and delicately crafted so that both merge very naturally in the form of a triangle (standard groove have an ogival shape). This option is particularly good-looking.

For blade lengths of 2.3 shaku and below, the groove may come under the Habaki

Blade Hamon

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For a real steel blade, clay is applied on the blade before the cooling process, and the difference in hardness between the edge and the rest of the blade results in this line called "Hamon". It defines 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. As Iaito are being made from an alloy, the Hamon is printed by depolishing the blade using specific patterns. 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 combination between the most common types of existing Hamon. All other models are fairly faithful reproductions of Hamon existing on ancient blades. Hamon are named either by the name of the Samurai who possessed the sword (for famous swords) or by the name of the Swordsmiths (for the most famous swordsmith). Their price depends on the quantity of work needed to reproduce them.

Habaki & Seppa

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The habaki is the piece of metal circling the base of the blade. It has two main purposes: locking the tsuba in its place and holding the sword into the Saya.
Unlike the Shinken Habaki which can be very expensive, the Iaito Habaki are standardized and gently forced into place. This means removing or changing the Habaki on an Iaito blade is not recommended.
Habaki are made of brass and are available in three different designs: Muji, Shonai, and Yujo, and in 3 different finishes: black (oxidized), gold plated, and silver plated. Please note that due to the oxidation 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 compulsory to keep the Tsuba safely in place.
They are available in brass, copper, black (oxidized), gold-plated brass, and silver-plated brass.


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The Tsuba is the sword's guard. It has the function of protecting the hand from the opponent's blade but also from having one's hand sliding onto the blade during Tsuki (thrust) techniques.
However, it has two other qualities: aesthetics and balance adjustment. During the Edo period, the Tsuba turned progressively into a decorative ornament. It was often generously well made, giving every sword a personal and particular touch.

There can be one or two holes on the sides of the Tsuba. They were used to unsheathe the Kogatana (small knife) or Kogai (hairpin) that were fitted inside the sides of the Saya. Tsuba used to be made by entire dynasties of craftsmen who only specialized in that particular field; they have 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 is recommended if you decide to focus on cutting training. You will find below some pictures of all our Tsuba but also details on size, material, and weight.

The Sukashi series, from TM031 to TM036 is a special series of widely opened Tsuba (called Sukashi). Made of blackened iron, they are coated by hand with a traditional lacquer.

Please note that the pictures above only display the front side of the Tsuba. You can find pictures of the reverse of each Tsuba on the dedicated product page.

Tsuba Technical Specifications

Tsuba Technical Specifications
Description Material Dimensions Weight
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
Shin Umetada
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
Mitsuboshi Sansumi Sukashi
Represents a constellation of 3 stars in triangle. This is also Minosaka's logo. Blackened iron 77 mm x 77 mm x 5 mm 100 g
Mokko Namako Sukashi
Namako (Holothuroidea) within a Mokko shape Blackened iron 72 mm x 75 mm x 5 mm 110 g
Yatsushiro Kagecho Sukashi
Copy of an ancient Tsuba made by master Yatsushiro. Represents the shadow of a butterfly. Blackened Iron 77 mm x 75 mm x 5 mm 100 g
Shiho Namako Sukashi
4 Holothuroidea (sea cucumber) Blackened Iron 79 mm x 74 mm x 5 mm 115 g
Akasaka Musashino Sukashi
Japanese pampas grass turned over after a storm, under a moon crescent Blackened iron 75 mm x 78 mm x 5 mm 100 g
Hanamon Sukashi
Flower petals - Famous Japanese crest Blackened iron 79 mm x 79 mm x 5 mm 60 g
Yotsuwa Sukashi
4 imbricated rings. Blackened Iron 72 mm x 73 mm x 5 mm 90 g
Ouka Sukashi
Represent a Sakura flower (cherry blossom). Also the lightest of all Tsuba. Blackened Iron 77 mm x 82 mm x 4.5 mm 60 g
Owari Sukashi
Tsuba made in the tradition of the Owari province (now Aichi prefecture). Blackened Iron 81 mm x 80 mm x 4.5 mm 100 g
Kuyo Sukashi
Features the symbolic 9 planets planets in the buddhism cosmogony. Blackened Iron 86 mm x 86 mm x 5 mm 165 g
Kagi Sukashi
Japanese hook symbol Blackened iron 83 mm x 83 mm x 5 mm 100 g
Yatsu Warabite Sukashi
8 Warabite (Japanese traditional symbol) Blackened iron 79 mm x 79 mm x 5 mm 130 g

Tsuka Length

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The Tsuka, or handle, is made of Japanese magnolia wood. On a Shinken, the Same is a piece of shark skin wrapped around the wood to reinforce the Tsuka structure. However, the Tsuka on a Iaito only features small pieces of shark skin that are inlaid in the wood on each side, for the aesthetics but also, so that the cost remains affordable.

The length of the Tsuka is measured including the Fuchi and the Kashira dimensions. Depending on the kind of Tsukaito (cotton, silk, leather), the length of the Tsuka can be slightly adapted to get a precise result.
In most schools, the length of the Tsuka should be sufficient to put one hand of the practitioner three times (that is, there should be a space equal to one hand between your hands when you hold the sword).
The length of the Tsuka will also have to 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


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The Tsukaito has two main goals: it serves as a grip and it holds the Tsuka tightly. A tightly wrapped Tsuka is extremely important for security.

Cotton allows better absorption of the sweat but it is less durable than silk and leather. It is the standard option for most Iaito.
Silk feels a little harder and is sometimes not recommended for beginners. However, it has a significantly longer lifespan.
Sweat is not really absorbed by Leather but this latter offers an excellent grip and it is the most durable material. Leather is available in standard and suede version (napped finish). The latter has a slightly better grip but it is slightly less durable.

Please note that those materials are made traditionally - they are not mass-produced. Therefore, 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 compulsory; you can select two different colors if you like.

Tsuka Same & Maki

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The Samekawa or "shark skin" is the part under the Tsukaito. Shark hunting is no longer practiced nowadays; therefore, despite the name “samekawa”, it’s actually stingray skin which is used. Its main goal is to keep the Tsukaito into place and to reinforce the Tsuka structure. The Same is sanded and polished in order to produce a durable superior-quality type of leather.
On live blades (Shinken) mounts, the Same is a "maki same", which wraps the Tsuka wood. However, for cost reasons, the Iaito Tsuka is made with two rectangular pieces of Same inlaid in the Tsuka. This is called Tanzaku-same.
The "Makisame" is a large piece of stingray skin which wraps the Tsuka. It makes the Tsuka slightly bigger and it significantly strengthens it, which improves its grip and its lifetime. The Makisame is made the same way Shinken Same are made.

Please note that we also offer a plastic Same option for customers concerned about animal protection. The plastic Same is only available as a "Tanzaku Same only" (Makisame is not possible).

The Tsukamaki is the way the tsukaito (cord) is wrapped around the Tsuka. The Hinerimaki is the standard wrapping, known by all practitioners.
The Hiramaki is a very specific wrapping that enables to make the centre of the Tsuka flat. This is a popular wrapping in Iai schools which use an important number of single-handed techniques/moves.  
In order to hold the Menuki correctly, the cord goes over the Menuki on each side (which may significantly hide the Menuki if it’s a small one).  Please note that we do not recommend this wrap for intensive practice as it is less durable than the standard Hinerimaki wrap.
Finally, the Katatemaki style is more designed for decoration than practice because it doesn't hold as well as the other wrappings. It is however proved that it was the wrapping used by the famous Samurai Akechi Mitsuhide. Given that the side parts of the Tsuka are left naked, this wrapping is only available with the Makisame option.

In option, we offer to put 2 Mekugi (peg) in the Tsuka. This may reassure you as 2 Mekugi make you feel safer. However, from the craftsmen's point of view, since Iaito are very rarely taken apart, this option is unnecessary. This option is not available for the Hiramaki.