Equipment recommendations

Training gear:

V-cut white, black, or blue undershirt (helps soak up sweat in the summer and adds a layer for warmth in the winter)

For steel iaito, please email before ordering:

For keikogi, must email for non EU shipping:

For sword carry bags, must email for non-EU shipping:

For solid color kaku obi (especially for longer lengths), they can do custom lengths as well:



For Hakama:

For traditional kaku obi:

For knee protectors:

For tabi:

For Japanese made zinc-duraluminum alloy:

If you need a 2.8 shaku iaito:

Kendo Bokken with saya:

The “Hidden Movements” of Iaido (DVD and streaming options):


This list is broken into section based on price points: up to $950, $1000-4,000 , & $4,000+.

29-33″ nagasa recommendations aimed at the practitioner community in the production sub $950 market. I am looking at 90% kata and 10% tameshigiri in use. I own, have owned, borrowed, and more importantly trained and cut with all katana listed in this category.

I prefer a 11.75″ tsuka as standard for 29-30.5″ nagasa.

To order a Skyjiro please email Mountain Teachings:

To order a Dragon King, Shinken of Swords, Cloudhammer Forge, or Ryan Sword please email:

Skyjiro Ashigaru Class (Best 2.50 shaku/30″ nagasa on the market! Ordering via Mountain Teachings you can specify nagasa length, tsuka length, ito color, and bohi or nohi):

Skyjiro Tenku Mokuroku Class (29″ nagasa & 11″ tsuka, I prefer this over the Ronin Dojo Pro #14 and Dragon King Autumn):

Skyjiro Black Sea (If you want something different, 29″ nagasa & 10.5″ tsuka):

Skyjiro Tenku Deshi Class (29″ nagasa and 11″ tsuka, these are their entry level shinken):

Ryansword 1336 (32″ nagasa with bo-hi & 13″ tsuka, very good for kata and light cutting):–Ryan1336-p-1183.html

Ryansword 1414 (29″ nagasa with bo-hi & 10″ tsuka, bohi and 3 cm sori):

Ronin Katana Dojo Pro #31 (32″ nagasa with bo-hi & 12″ tsuka, heavy cutter that you can do kata with and better balanced than the #9):

Ronin Katana Dojo Pro #14 (29″ nagasa & 11″ tsuka, heavy cutter):

Shinken of Swords Hand Forged Japanese Samurai Katana Sword Clay Tempered L6 Steel Suguha Hamon Blade Full Tang Razor Sharp (31″ nagasa & 12″ tsuka, medium sori):

Bugei Dragonfly 5160 with bohi (29.5″ nagasa with bo-hi & 11″ tsuka, feels better than the Dragon King Savior but heavier):

Dragon King Savior (29.5″ nagasa with bo-hi & 12.25″ tsuka):

Dragon King Winter Sun (30.5″ nagasa & 13″ tsuka, only 2.55 shaku on the market):

Dragon King Autumn Leaf (29.25″ nagasa & 12.25″ tsuka, smaller Winter Sun):

Huawei (This is their longest production katana, custom order is the way to go for longer):

Cloudhammer O-katana (31.5″ nagasa & 12″ tsuka, deep sori):

Cloudhammer 2.8 Shaku O-katana (In development)

I do not recommend in the sub $950 price range:

  • Cold Steel (very underwhelming for the price point, lengths include habaki)
  • Dynasty Forge (meh ito and problematic saya, the lengths given include the habaki)
  • Hanwei (tsuka shape and length)
  • Bugei (tsuka shape and lengths)
  • Ryujin (Kengo is heavy & meh saya. O-katana had a meh saya, 14″ tsuka, and they advertise it as a 33″ nagasa but that includes habaki.)
  • Sinosword (excellent super tight ito but meh everything else, can be heavy and not great bohi)
  • Hanbon Forge (doesn’t offer anything production in the blade lengths)
  • Brandon Sword (defunct and meh)
  • Yes Katana (very short tsuka, I dislike the leopard habaki)
  • Balaur Arms Byakko (Meh, also I dislike the leopard habaki)
  • Sheng (doesn’t offer anything in the blade lengths, does offer Hanjiro and Yagyu tsuba)
  • Mini Katana (offers two 29″ nagasa but for their asking point you can do much much better)
  • Forge Direct (O-katana is out of production)

For the $1,000 to $4,000 price point:


Motohara by Evolution Blades (Semi-custom production):

Citadel Imperial (Good luck finding one):

Huawei Swords (Custom, must email):

For the $4,000+ modern steel new production custom Gendaito Nihonto aimed at practitioners:

Tokensho & their Americas rep:

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