Shinjuku is a crazy part of Tokyo where anything can happen. Samurai have been portrayed in so many undignified and inaccurate ways. How bad can The Samurai Museum in Shinjuku be we asked ourselves: shall we risk it? Sam Knowlton is a Japanese history enthusiast, I studied up and toured the Samurai exhibition at LACMA and we did not want to be disappointed. We decided to go anyway.
And it was wonderful. We arrived and were immediately greeted and introduced to the armor by a delightful guide who spoke good English and was very, very knowledgeable. Not surprising: Noguchi-san is the museum’s owner! He has assembled this collection over 7 years, and it is housed on 2 floors of an old building with small rooms, sliding doors and tatami mats. The labels and lighting are great
We saw the progression of styles from 12/14th century Heian and Kamakura armor, and helmets through the Muromachi and great Edo periods and ending with the Last Samurai during the Meiji time.
Noguchi-san unlocked cases and we held face masks (very heavy), swords (very sharp, he warned he had cut us his silk necktie by leaning over the sword) and guns (17th century matchlocks). Hey LACMA docents, that was FUN.
And finally, the photo studio where we dressed up and helped to tell you all about the museum by posting on Facebook.