10 Most Famous Japanese Swords in History

  1. Dōjigiri yasutsuna
  2. Onimaru Kunitsuna
  3. Mikazuki Munechika
  4. Odenta Mitsuyo
  5. Juzumaru Tsunetsugu
  6. Fudo Masamune
  7. Excalibur
  8. Futsunushi-no-Kami
  9. Totsuka-no-Tsurugi
  10. Kogarasu Maru

Japanese swords, also known as “Nihonto,” have a rich history and cultural significance. These swords are known for their incredible craftsmanship, sharpness, and artistic beauty. Throughout history, many famous Japanese swords have gained legendary status for their past and association with notable samurai warriors. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most famous Japanese swords in history.

Japan boasts an illustrious and profound legacy when it comes to the art of sword making and the way of the sword. Amidst this heritage, the katana shines as the most renowned sword, yet it merely scratches the surface of Japan’s rich sword culture and history.

Within the tapestry of Shinto myths and fables that permeate Japanese folklore, swords weave their enigmatic threads, and even factual historical swords find themselves interwoven with legends. Consequently, attempting to categorize Japanese swords into neat divisions of history and mythology proves a daunting task, for they straddle the realms of factual chronicles and the mystique of Japanese folklore.

Name of Famous Japanese Swords

Dōjigiri yasutsuna
Dojikiri_Yasutsuna photo By Kakidai Wikimedia

Dōjigiri Yasutsuna is a legendary Japanese sword with a rich history and profound significance in Japanese culture. It is regarded as one of Japan’s Five Swords of Legend (Gokaden), representing the epitome of Japanese swordsmithing art.

Believed to be forged during the Heian period (794-1185), its creation is attributed to the master swordsmith Yasutsuna. Dōjigiri earned its fame due to its exceptional craftsmanship, elegant design, and remarkable cutting ability. It is steeped in myth and legends, associated with various historical figures and extraordinary feats.

Presently enshrined within the confines of the Tokyo National Museum stands Dojikiri Yasutsuna, revered as a cherished National Treasure of Japan.

Onimaru Kunitsuna, an iconic Japanese sword, boasts a captivating history that spans centuries, intriguing sword enthusiasts worldwide. This exquisite blade hails from the Heian period (794-1185 AD), a time of cultural effervescence in Japan.

Crafted with meticulous precision and imbued with artistic brilliance, Onimaru Kunitsuna emerged as a symbol of the era’s artistic zenith. It witnessed the transition from the Heian to the Kamakura period (1185-1333 AD), characterized by political upheaval and military ascendancy.

The sword’s resilience and beauty endured through the ensuing Muromachi (1336-1573 AD) and Edo periods (1603-1868 AD), witnessing Japan’s transformation. Today, Onimaru Kunitsuna stands as a testament to Japan’s sword-making legacy and serves as a poignant reminder of its historical splendor.

Mikazuki Munechika
Mikazuki Munechika photo By ColBase Wikimedia

Mikazuki Munechika is a legendary Japanese sword with a rich history spanning several centuries. Believed to have been forged by the renowned swordsmith Sanjo Munechika in the 10th century, it holds immense cultural and historical significance.

The sword’s name, “Mikazuki,” translates to “crescent moon,” inspired by its distinctive shape resembling a crescent moon. Throughout its existence, Mikazuki Munechika has passed through the hands of numerous prominent figures, including samurai lords and imperial families. Its craftsmanship and cutting prowess have earned it a revered status among Japanese swords.

To this day, Mikazuki Munechika remains an emblem of Japan’s ancient sword-making artistry and a symbol of the country’s martial heritage.

Odenta Mitsuyo, a revered Japanese sword, holds a captivating history dating back centuries. Forged in the 12th century by the skilled swordsmith Amakuni, it stands as a testament to Japan’s legendary sword-making tradition. The name “Odenta” translates to “Demonic Flourishing Blade,” portraying its mythical allure and exceptional craftsmanship.

This illustrious blade has graced the hands of samurai legends, passing through generations of warriors. Renowned for its sharpness and artistic beauty, Odenta Mitsuyo symbolizes the fusion of martial skill and artistic excellence in Japanese culture.

Today, the sword remains a national treasure, cherished for its historical significance and profound impact on the evolution of Japanese sword-making techniques. The legacy of Odenta Mitsuyo continues to inspire reverence and fascination in the hearts of sword enthusiasts and historians alike.

Juzumaru Tsunetsugu, an illustrious Japanese sword, carries a captivating legacy spanning centuries. Forged during the Kamakura period in the 13th century by the legendary swordsmith Tsunetsugu, its name translates to “Ten Thousand Circles.” This renowned blade is celebrated for its exceptional cutting ability and extraordinary resilience.

Juzumaru Tsunetsugu has earned a hallowed reputation for its association with prominent samurai and feudal lords throughout history. Its exquisite craftsmanship, marked by intricate designs and flawless steel, exemplifies the pinnacle of Japanese sword-making artistry. As a symbol of power and prestige, this revered weapon remains an iconic representation of Japan’s martial heritage.

Today, Juzumaru Tsunetsugu stands as a national treasure, captivating the hearts of historians, collectors, and martial arts enthusiasts with its storied past and unparalleled allure.

Fudo Masamune
Fudo Masamune Photo By SLIMHANNYA via Wikimedia Commons

Fudo Masamune, a legendary Japanese sword with an extraordinary history spanning centuries, was crafted during the Kamakura period in the 14th century. Renowned swordsmith Goro Nyudo Masamune forged this masterpiece, and its name “Fudo” refers to the immovable spirit of Buddhist deities.

This awe-inspiring blade is famed for its impeccable balance, razor-sharp edge, and peerless beauty. Passed down through generations, Fudo Masamune found its way into the hands of influential samurai and feudal lords, earning reverence as a symbol of power and honor. Its exquisite design, featuring intricate engravings and graceful curvature, showcases the pinnacle of Japanese sword craftsmanship.

Preserved as a national treasure, Fudo Masamune continues to captivate historians and sword enthusiasts, embodying Japan’s rich cultural heritage and martial prowess.

Excalibur photo from Wikimedia

Excalibur, though commonly associated with the legendary King Arthur of medieval Britain, holds a fascinating connection to Japanese folklore. In Japanese mythology, the sword is known as “Caliburn” or “Karakurenai,” said to have been brought to Japan by a mystical dragon.

Crafted by divine beings in the 5th century, this sacred blade possesses extraordinary powers and a radiant crimson hue. Throughout the centuries, it became a symbol of heroic deeds and honorable conquests in Japanese literature and art. Unlike its European counterpart, Excalibur, this Japanese incarnation embodies the spirit of bushido and embodies the code of the samurai.

Its legacy endures in tales of valor and virtue, inspiring generations of warriors and instilling a sense of national pride in Japan’s martial heritage.

Futsunushi-no-Kami Photo from Wikimedia

Futsunushi-no-Kami, a revered Japanese sword, boasts a captivating history spanning centuries. Legend has it that this divine blade was forged by the gods themselves during Japan’s ancient age, making it a symbol of divine power and protection. The name “Futsunushi-no-Kami” refers to the Shinto god of swords, adding to its mythical allure.

Throughout the ages, the sword has been associated with mythical heroes and legendary samurai, passing through the hands of noble families and imperial lineages. Its extraordinary craftsmanship, marked by intricate engravings and sacred symbols, embodies the spiritual connection between the sword and its wielder.

Futsunushi-no-Kami remains an embodiment of Japan’s spiritual heritage and martial traditions, inspiring reverence and awe among historians, sword enthusiasts, and those who seek the strength of the gods.

Totsuka-no-Tsurugi Photo from Wikipedia

Totsuka-no-Tsurugi, a mythical Japanese sword, has an enigmatic history rooted in ancient folklore. According to Shinto mythology, this divine blade was used by the gods to shape the world at the beginning of time.

Its name, “Totsuka-no-Tsurugi,” translates to “Sword of Ten Spears,” signifying its unparalleled prowess in battle. Unlike conventional swords, Totsuka-no-Tsurugi lacks a pointed edge, symbolizing its role as a tool for creation rather than destruction.

It holds a revered place in Japanese culture and is often associated with the Shinto deity Susanoo, who wielded the sword to slay the eight-headed serpent, Yamata no Orochi. Despite its mythical origins, Totsuka-no-Tsurugi continues to resonate in Japanese art, literature, and spiritual practices, representing the harmonious balance between power and benevolence.

image 48
Kogarasu Maru Photo by By AleksandrGertsen Wikipedia

Kogarasu Maru, a legendary Japanese sword, carries a fascinating history spanning centuries. Believed to have been forged in the Heian period (794-1185), its name translates to “Little Crow.” Renowned for its graceful and elegant design, this iconic blade holds significant cultural and artistic value.

Kogarasu Maru gained fame through various myths and legends, including its association with the legendary samurai Minamoto no Yorimitsu, who used it to defeat supernatural creatures. The sword’s reputation for swift and precise cutting earned it the moniker “Little Crow,” likening its swift movements to a crow’s flight.

Today, Kogarasu Maru remains an esteemed cultural treasure, reflecting Japan’s reverence for martial prowess, craftsmanship, and storytelling. Its enduring allure continues to captivate historians and enthusiasts, preserving the legacy of Japan’s ancient sword-making heritage.

Other Legendary Katanas of Japan

Samurai Swords of Japan
Samurai Swords of Japan

Hishizukuri Uchigatana, a distinctive Japanese sword, holds a unique and storied history spanning several centuries. Originating during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), its name “Hishizukuri” refers to the diamond-shaped cross-section of its blade. The Uchigatana variant denotes its design for single-handed use, favored by samurai for its versatility and swift draw.

This elegant blade evolved from earlier tachi swords, reflecting changes in warfare and swordsmanship. Its craftsmanship showcases exquisite detailing, reflecting the artistic mastery of Japanese swordsmiths. Hishizukuri Uchigatana played a significant role in the age of samurai, witnessing countless battles and shaping Japan’s martial heritage.

Today, these swords remain cherished cultural treasures, admired by collectors and historians alike for their cultural and historical significance.

The Cold Steel Emperor Katana is a modern interpretation of the traditional Japanese sword, blending centuries of craftsmanship with contemporary materials and techniques. This katana draws inspiration from historical samurai swords used during feudal Japan, honoring the legacy of Japan’s martial heritage.

Its blade is crafted from high-quality Damascus steel, meticulously folded and tempered to achieve exceptional strength and sharpness. The Tsuka (handle) features authentic ray skin wrapping and intricate cotton cord wrapping, ensuring a firm grip. The tsuba (guard) showcases a traditional design, adding to the katana’s aesthetic appeal.

While embracing modern innovations, the Cold Steel Emperor Katana pays homage to Japan’s rich cultural history, making it a prized possession for collectors and martial artists worldwide.

Akujiki, a mysterious and infamous Japanese sword, has a haunting history dating back centuries. Legends tell of its malevolent nature, earning it the name “Akujiki,” which translates to “Devourer of Evil.” Crafted during the Muromachi period (1336-1573), the sword’s origin and smith remain shrouded in mystery, adding to its mystique.

It is said that Akujiki possesses a cursed blade, consuming the souls of those slain by its edge, infusing it with dark power. The sword allegedly drove its wielders to madness or tragedy, leading to rumors of its supernatural malevolence. Due to its eerie reputation, Akujiki was sealed away and remains hidden from the world.

Though its existence remains uncertain, the chilling tales of Akujiki continue to captivate imaginations, making it a haunting enigma in the realm of Japanese folklore and martial history.

Usumidori, a rare and revered Japanese sword, bears a compelling history dating back centuries. Crafted during the Nanbokucho period (1336-1392), its name “Usumidori” translates to “Faded Pale Blue,” derived from the sword’s distinct hue.

This exceptional color results from the unique Tamahagane steel smelting process, adding to its allure and value. Legends surround Usumidori, with tales attributing it to mythical swordsmiths or supernatural origins. Its graceful curvature and delicate hamon (temper line) exemplify the epitome of Japanese sword-making artistry. Passed down through generations, Usumidori found itself in the hands of esteemed samurai, earning admiration for its unparalleled craftsmanship and artistic finesse.

Today, Usumidori remains an esteemed cultural treasure, treasured for its rarity and contributions to Japan’s storied martial traditions and artistic heritage.

Kiku-ichimonji, an illustrious Japanese sword, boasts a storied history spanning centuries. Forged during the Heian period (794-1185), its name “Kiku-ichimonji” translates to “Chrysanthemum One Character,” reflecting the signature chrysanthemum-shaped hamon (temper line) adorning the blade.

This distinctive feature sets Kiku-ichimonji apart, showcasing the swordsmith’s exceptional skill and artistry. Passed down through noble families and samurai clans, the sword gained fame for its cutting prowess and artistic beauty. Legends attribute Kiku-ichimonji to legendary swordsmiths and tales of supernatural origins, adding to its allure.

Today, it remains a treasured cultural artifact, embodying the essence of Japan’s ancient sword-making heritage. The chrysanthemum motif symbolizes imperial connections, further elevating the sword’s significance in Japanese culture and history. Kiku-ichimonji continues to captivate enthusiasts and historians alike, preserving the legacy of Japan’s martial prowess and artistic excellence.


Japanese swords have a rich history and cultural significance, and many famous swords have gained legendary status throughout history. From the Hattori Hanzo sword to the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, these swords are known for their incredible craftsmanship, sharpness, and artistic beauty. Whether you are a history buff, a martial arts enthusiast, or just appreciate the beauty of Japanese swords, there is no denying the significance of these incredible weapons.


What is the most famous Japanese sword?

The most famous Japanese sword is the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, also known as the “Grass-Cutting Sword.”

What is the most powerful sword in Japanese mythology?

The most powerful sword in Japanese mythology is the Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi or Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. It holds legendary significance and is part of Japan’s imperial regalia.

What is Tenka-Goken?

Tenka-Goken are the five legendary swords of Japan, known for their craftsmanship and mythical significance. They are Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, Futsu-no-Mitama-no-Tsurugi, Mikazuki Munechika, and Totsuka-no-Tsurugi.

What is the most iconic sword of all time?

Excalibur is the most iconic sword of all time, tied to the legendary King Arthur of medieval Britain.

Totsuka Blade is a Sword?

Yes, the Totsuka Blade is a legendary sword in Japanese mythology, associated with the Shinto god Izanagi.