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. 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.
Habaki & Seppa
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.
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
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.
The Saya is made of two pieces of Japanese magnolia wood that are glued together. It is reinforced by the Sayajiri (end of the Saya), the Koiguchi, and of course, the lacquer. Unlike Shinken, Saya lacquers for Iaito are not made from traditional Urushi lacquer but from modern urethane lacquer, due to financial reasons.
Lacquers with a name ending in "ro" have a glossy finish, with a perfectly smooth surface. Lacquers with a name ending in "ishime" have a grainy finish, with a rough touch. 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.