Samurai: In the Footsteps of Japanese Warriors

The samurai, emblematic figures of Japan

The samurai are an ancient caste of Japanese warriors, known worldwide for their recognizable katanas and armor. Discover the history of the samurai and visit the places they have left their mark on your trip to Japan. 

Bushido, a code of honor

During the Edo period (1603-1868), the new Tokugawa shoguns created the samurai that we know, respecting a strict code of conduct, the way of the warrior, "bushido". It was at this time that the practice of seppuku (better known in the West under the name of hara-kiri, a ritual suicide) developed. These samurai are then above all, faithful, sober and focused on their weapon training in times of peace.

The Tokugawa then gradually transformed them into a closed group of state officials without territory but receiving a salary. This transformation is easy to observe when visiting the splendid Nijo Castle in Kyoto.


Characteristics of a samurai

A samurai's education was very strict, with the learning of self-control and an absence of idleness and fear. The samurai apprentice studied in a specialized school where they would learn about the handling of swords, including katana, wrestling, archery, horse riding, and strategy and various arts of war.



Armored samurai, circa 1860

Wikimedia Commons


Sengoku-era samurai helmet

Wikimedia Commons

Decorative lacquer on 18th century armor

18th century Japanese armor with decorative lacquer patterns


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