Have you ever seen pictures of samurai with their suits of armour, and wondered what it’s like to wear? Maybe you are interested in cosplay, or are a Japanese history fanatic?
The other day, I discovered that there is actually a place in Tokyo where you can not just touch it, but actually try on samurai armour, and even have a professional photoshoot!
In this article I will talk about my experience at the Samurai Armor Photo Studio.
First, I’ll explain how to get there.
From Shibuya station, we took the Hachiko exit and crossed the scramble crossing.
We continued straight along the road for a while, until reaching the landmark which is a giant blowfish sign.
We turned right here and entered the building.The building is called King Building and the studio is on the 7th floor.
We arrived at the studio to an energetic greeting!
First, we took our shoes off at the entrance and had some time to freely look around the studio. They had a variety of armour and katana on display, which were modeled after the ones worn by historic famous samurai.
Staff who explained it to us was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
He told us about the size restrictions of the armour. The average height in Japan is not very tall, so most of the suits of armour only cater for people up to 175cm tall. But, we had one tall guy in our group!
Not to worry, the red and black armour were made specially in XL size for taller people (up to 200cm).
The assistant then explained the samurai who each suit of armour was modeled after.
Then, it was time to get changed!
We were each given a T shirt and a pair of loose shorts to wear underneath. Also, we removed our socks to put on some of the split toe tabi socks.
If you have long hair, remember to bring a hair tie! It could get stuck in the armour.
The tabi socks felt funny, like wearing mittens on your feet.
The next step was to put the traditional underclothing on. This consisted of a kimono style top and baggy hakama pants.
As the staff explained to us, even real samurai didn’t get dressed by themselves and had special assistants to help them.
Then they tied the pants with an obi sash. It was quite tight!
Complete! We posed in front of the armour we were going to wear next.
Then we got to putting the actual armour on!
Finally, we put the main body piece of the armour on and attached the swords to around our waists.
With that, we were finished getting dressed!
Next was time for the fun part: the professional photoshoot! We started by all taking individual photos.
At first we were all a bit shy, but the photographers helped us position ourselves for each shot.
This prop was waved by the leaders when ordering their troops to run into battle.
We practised shouting “I-KE!!!” which means “GO!!!”.
The staff were very encouraging and helped us to relax and enjoy ourselves.
Apparently my way of sitting was too feminine so they helped me position myself.
I didn’t know I could look this badass… lol
We were also given a samurai helmet to wear for extra impact!
We also got to pose with the swords
After this, it was time for the group shots. The photographers helped us get the right angle.
You might notice that in this shot we are wearing woven shoes. I thought these seemed a bit dangerous for going into battle (what if you stubbed your toe?!) but apparently it is what samurai traditionally wore.
We also took some pair shots.
The photographer asked us to stare intensely into each other’s eyes…it was hard to keep a straight face!
After the photoshoot, we were provided all the photos took in high quality digital format. The photographers gave us a LOT to choose from! I only posted a few of the photos on this blog because otherwise it would take way too long to scroll through! We were also free to take snaps on our phones or cameras.
There was also a plan where we could walk around Shibuya in the armour and take more photos, but unfortunately we could not do it due to stormy weather.
These photos are customers who previously visited the studio.
According to the staff, customers who walk around the streets in armour often get called out to! Even strangers often ask to take pictures together.
There is even an opportunity to take a photo in the famous Shibuya scramble crossing!
If you are interested in giving this a try, you can make bookings either directly or through Tokyo Tourist Information Center!
Actually, there is a discount if you book at TIC.
• Photography Studio course:
13,000 yen → 11,000 yen (2000 yen discount)
• Photography Studio + walking Shibuya course
1 person – normal price
30,000 yen → 26,000 yen (4,000 yen discount)
2 people – normal price
40,000 yen → 34,000 yen (6,000 yen discount)
3 people – normal price
50,000 yen → 42,000 yen (8,000 yen discount)
4 people – normal price
60,000 yen → 51,000 yen (9,000 yen discount)
5 people – normal price
70,000 yen → 60,000 yen (10,000 yen discount)
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact TIC or comment on this blog.