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Best time to visit Kyoto

Samurai Kembu (Sword Dance)

Learn about the Samurai culture and traditions at Kembu Theater in Kyoto


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Kembu literally means Sword Dance. It is a famous Japanese martial art that combines swordplay with dance. In Kyoto, you can watch a sword show and even try Kembu for yourself at the Samurai Kembu Theatre.

The performance is not just about sword fighting, though. Samurai shows are always complemented with poetry and traditional music. Every dance is set in its own context with its own characters, something you can feel while watching the show. During the performance, you will also learn the history of the samurai (the class of noble warriors, for whom a sword was a sacred object, symbolizing dignity and responsibility).

After the show, you can take a lesson and learn some basic sword moves with other excited participants. There are various combinations and plays available to partake in—you just need to choose the one you like. If you stay in Kyoto for a while, you can take a two-week intensive course and become a real master!

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