Good news for the Japanese history buff! Let’s stroll around Kawagoe city wearing KACCHU.
July 5, 2017
You can be a Samurai!!
<What is Kacchu?>
Japanese traditional protective equipment, worn by Samurais mainly during battles using swords.Samurai armor and the helmet is called ”Kacchu” in Japanese.
I never imagined that such a day would come! Nyapan went to Kawagoe city in Saitama prefecture in order to experience wearing authentic Samurai armor and a helmet called”Kacchu”.
We visited a cafe with a homey atm osphere, ”Hanakage”. This cafe is located on the right side along the approach from the Narita-san Kawagoe
Betsuin temple to Kita-in temple.We went with a Koedo-Kawagoe goodwill ambassador for sightseeing,Ms.Ariya Omukai and she guided us.There it is! The Kacchu was in the far side of the cafe.Mr. Zushonosuke Ktsuhiro-Terada,who is a Koedo-Kawagoe goodwill ambassador for sightseeing and also a chairperson of the preservation society for matchlocks in
Kawagoe feudal clan,just started renting the Samurai armor”Kacchu”.
Mr. Terada had been drawn in by the lure of family crests and he often visited temples to sketch crests when he was an elementary school student.After that, he got original “Bukan” books,which were written in the Edo period(1603–1867) that is about Daimyo(feudal lord) ’s names,family crests and some other things about the Edo Shogunate.
Since then, he got into Edo culture more and more,which made him
interested in the Samurai armor Kacchu. He owns about thirty sets of armor now.More over, all of them are handcrafted by himself! Some of the ancient Kacchus made in the Edo period were restored by him and some were his original works that he made from scratch.I asked him what the the best thing about the Kacchu was. He said “It is the number of procedures found within the whole making process”. To make Kacchu he cuts iron plates at first and makes the body armor and a helmet using these materials.Then he makes the armor to protect your feet and your arms and this equipment is designed with strings precisely…. About 10,000 processes are required before finishing up.The beautiful Kacchu is the result of master craftsmanship and a craftsman who spends time and effort. Nyapan has sometimes seen the Kacchu for the historical Samurai lords that are displayed in glass cases in some museums, but I’ve never dreamt I would really put on these Samurai armors! According to Mr.Terada,”Putting it on yourself and enjoying it make you realize Kacchu’s attraction”. True to his word, he established the preservation society for matchlocks in Kawagoe feudal clan,while he and the members of the organization wear the Kacchu, they hold some events to hand down the cultural tradition.
Now, it was about time I got dressed in Kacchu.At first,I put on a lower body garment and an upper body garment over my clothes and placed special covering to protect each of my body parts,such as my arms,shoulders, waist and legs.I had each item tightened with strings and I felt the heavy weight of the armor.I felt myself get fired up gradually.I felt as if I were Tom Cruise in the movie”The Last Samurai”!!
I finally transformed into a Samurai lord in less than 30 minutes and I went in to attack mode.Let’s get going!
All the equipment of the Kacchu weighs about 20Kg,because Kacchu must cover your whole body to guard your life in a battle. But I was surprised that it was comfortable to move. Kacchu also has functionality because a Samurai had to shoot while riding on a horse whilst wearing the heavy equipment.It makes sense.I got fired up again and ran through the streets of Kawagoe city.I felt just like I was doing time travel as if I could get to the Edo period. The Kacchu really suits the castle city Kawagoe,which is called”little Edo”.Striking a pose and taking photos was thrilling too.
The rental fee is 6,500yen for two hours.I think this valuable experience,where you can wear the authentic Samurai armor, is worth it.When I got dressed,Mr. Terada gave me an interesting lecture about Edo culture and pointed out some mistakes shown in the Edo period dramas or films.That was also a valuable time for me.
Why don’t you try the Kacchu on once in your life? Well, you might be into it.
If you wear the Kaccu in the historical city Kawagoe, everyone from adults to children can feel the Samurai spirit!!
・5,000yen / both adults and children (approx.2hours)
＜RESERVATION / INQUIRY>
※Making a reservation in advance is better.
Kita-in kita-sando Kawagoe city Saitama Japan
The preservation society for matchlocks in Kawagoe feudal clan