Get top marks in samurai studies at the Aizu Clan School Nisshinkan (hereinafter, Nisshinkan) in Fukushima Prefecture.

Get top marks in samurai studies at the Aizu Clan School Nisshinkan (hereinafter, Nisshinkan) in Fukushima Prefecture.

Established in 1803, many of Japan’s finest samurai developed their skills and moral code at Nisshinkan, the top school for the Aizu clan of Aizuwakamatsu in Fukushima. While the original building met the same fiery fate as much of Japan’s ancient architecture, a faithful reconstruction was built nearby to preserve its history and culture. The best way to experience samurai culture is to try it out. While most associate samurai with soldiers, Nisshinkan sought to produce cultured fighters familiar with art and moral excellence. The carefully curated curriculum included archery, tea ceremonies and meditation—all classes that you can actually take today!

One of Nisshinkan’s most popular classes is kyudo, or Japanese archery. A professional archer will walk you through proper stance and shooting techniques, so you’ll be in good hands. Bookings are not necessary, so just turn up and inquire about the next session. A session costs 300 yen for five arrows. As for the other lessons, most of the modern-day classes at Nisshinkan take around 40 minutes and cost under 1,000 yen. Some will need to be booked in advance, which can be done on their website.

There are also a wide variety of exhibits around the grounds, where you can come to understand the life of the children of samurai. Tour recreations of their classrooms, their dorms, and more, and walk around the picturesque grounds before exploring the rest of the town of Aizuwakamatsu. Nicknamed “Samurai City,” it is home to an incredible castle, as well as other historical sites.

Aizu Samurai School Nisshinkan

Aizu Clan School Nisshinkan

Only three hours from Tokyo by train, head to Fukushima to be enrolled in samurai school today. When you’re not training to be a modern-day samurai at Nisshinkan, you’ll surely run across the echoes of Aizuwakamatsu’s history. There are still many dojos in the area where today’s inhabitants unleash the warrior spirit of their ancestors.

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