Ryujin Swords


Koshirae & Shirasaya

We are fortunate to be able to work with some of the best craftsmen available, and can therefore offer an unrivalled range of services. A few examples of our work can be found here. The list below however is not exclusive. If you want something that's not listed here, whether it concerns swords or armour contact me. It wouldn't be the first time that we've done a special job.

Dyeing & patination

Dyeing tsuka-ito or sageo to customer's requirements

Cost of tsuka-ito + 10.00

Dyeing samekawa to customer's requirements

Cost of samekawa + 10.00

Repatination of soft fittings

From 75

Habaki, shitodome & seppa

Custom-made kurikata shitodome, 18 carat gold


Custom-made kashira shitodome, 18 carat gold


Custom-made seppa


Gold or silver foiling seppa

Please ask

Single traditionally made habaki, copper


Single traditionally made habaki, silver (hallmarked)


Single traditionally made habaki, gold (hallmarked)

Please ask

Double traditionally made habaki, copper


Double traditionally made habaki, silver (hallmarked)


Double traditionally made habaki, gold (hallmarked)

Please ask


Making and replacing horn uragawara


Repairing or replacing kurikata


Repairing or replacing horn koiguchi


Making and replacing horn tsunokuchi



Rebind tsuka


Make new tsuka, including same and rebinding but excluding cost of fittings


Make new tsuka, core only


Urushi lacquered saya

Make urushi lacquered saya (urushi lacquer), including horn work. Metal fittings cost extra.

300 + cost of lacquering

Make saya with rattan binding

Add 20

Make saya with ribbing

Add 60

Reline gunto saya


Relacquer saya in Kuro-ishime-nuri (black stone finish)


Relacquer saya in Kuro-iro-nuri (highest quality polished black)


Relacquer saya in Shu-nuri (red urushi)


Relacquer saya in Nashiji nuri (pear skin finish using gold powder)


Relacquer saya in Same nuri (lacquered rayskin)

Please ask

Relacquer saya using other techniques

Please ask

Repair lacquer

Please ask


Make shirasaya for tanto


Make shirasaya for wakizashi


Make shirasaya for katana



Make complete koshirae (tsuka and saya), excluding cost of fittings

from 1,030

Complete restoration of sword

Please ask

Hand-stitched copy of shin-gunto leather saya cover (brown or black)




If you need something special, we can also commission tosogu for you. Commissioned tosogu are however expensive..

If there's anything else you need, just ask. We've undertaken some highly individual requests before now - one restoration required us to dye hemp thread with Japanese indigo using traditional mordant - so we may be able to help.


We now have the services of a Japanese trained armour restorer who has undertaken restorations for both collectors and museums. Contact me to discuss your requirements.

Sword Polishing

We work with several polishers and can arrange for your sword to be polished. Prices start from 26/inch, plus the cost of sending it back, though the actual price will obviously depend upon the quality of work that you want done. We will keep you up to date on your sword's progress, and arrange for its return to you when finished. Contact me for a quote.

Sword Finding

We have an extensive range of contacts, including in Japan. If you are after a particular sword, we can probably find it for you. It may take time for the work of some smiths, or if you want something like a Juyo ubu Koto tachi, but the chances are that we can eventually find it.

New Swords

We have had several queries about shinsakuto. Firstly, yes, we can obtain shinsakuto in either shirasaya or in koshirae. Bear in mind that they are going to be more expensive than gendaito; Japanese smiths these days make far fewer swords per annum than they did in the 1930s and 1940s, and this affects the price.

We can also arrange to have a sword made for you by a licensed Japanese smith. These start at 6k-7k in koshirae at current prices. If you are interested, contact me to discuss the matter.

If you want a hand-forged Japanese-style sword, we can also arrange for that to be made as well.


We can arrange for your sword to be sent to shinsa in Japan. We will do all the paperwork and legwork for you, arrange for the sword to be shipped, fully insured, to our Japanese contacts, and keep you up to date on progress. Contact me for a quote.

How much does shinsa cost?

The current fees for NBTHK shinsa are here. However they are quoted, and paid, in Yen. Since Exchange rates fluctuate on a daily basis, the actual cost of shinsa will vary.

You should also note that the NBTHK charges non-members 2,100 yen extra for each item submitted to the Hozon and Tokubetsu Hozon shinsas. We will therefore need your NBTHK membership number if you have one. Only NBTHK members can submit swords for a Juyo Token shinsa.

There are also other charges on top of the shinsa fee, such as registering the sword with the Japanese police, customs clearance in Japan and the UK, and postage/courier charges plus insurance for the sword to and from Japan, and from us to you. Any extra work that you want done, such as polishing, a shirasaya, a new habaki, or new koshirae can also be arranged to be done at the same time, though this will involve extra charges.

In short, you send the sword to us, tell us your requirements, and we do the rest. Our fee for doing all this legwork and paperwork, and generally keeping an eye on your sword for the duration, is 150 per sword and 50 for koshirae. We require a deposit of 250 per sword and 50 per fitting or koshirae. When all work has been completed and the sword plus certificate is back with us, you will receive an itemised account of charges. The balance is to be paid in full.

How long does shinsa take?

Shinsa results are usually issued in the last week of the month following the shinsa - for example, the results for the January shinsa are issued at the end of February. However, there are frequently delays due factors such as holidays or the large amount of submissions. We will therefore notify you of the results by email, fax, phone or mail on the day we receive them.

The sword's is released by the NBTHK approximately 2-3 weeks after the results are issued. A further two weeks is taken up waiting for Bunkacho clearance, after which the sword is shipped home.

As a rough guide, it takes about 3-6 months for swords submitted to the Hozon Token and/or Tokubetsu Hozon shinsas. Swords submitted to a Juyo Token shinsa average about 6-20 months. Allow another 2 -3 months if you want a sayagaki. You will receive your certificate around the same time as your blade.

If your sword is awarded Juyo Token status the blade may, if space is available, be selected for display at the Sword museum. You will receive your certificate and a copy of the relevant page from the Juyo Token Nado Zufu book in approximately a year to eighteen months, as they need time to do photography, oshigata, and a write-up on the piece to be included in the Juyo Token Nado Zufu book.

When should I send you the swords or the fittings?

Swords, sword fittings or koshirae should be recieved by us, at the latest, by the first week of the month before the shinsa is held. NBTHK Shinsas are held during the following months:

Hozon & Tokubetsu Hozon Token

January, March, May, July, November

Hozon & Tokubetsu Hozon Toso & Tosogu

February, April, June, October, December

Juyo Token & Juyo Toso & Tosogu


We advise you to send your sword only if it is in a presentable state. There is absolutely no point in submitting a rusty blade in the hope that it might be declared valuable; the judges won't be able to see the characteristics of the blade and will therefore be unable to make a proper assessment of it. As a result, you will have wasted your money. This is not to say that such blades aren't salvageable - in fact if you have a rusty blade and want to do something with it, contact me first, and I'll see what can be done. For shinsa, however, you need to make sure that the blade is in good condition before it is submitted, even if that means asking us to get it polished prior to submission.

If the blade is in decent condition but lacks a shirasaya or koshirae, get one made before submission. After all, you need to protect the blade from damage, and protect all those who handle the blade. If you wish, we can arrange to have a shirasaya made. Alernatively you might find an old saya that fits.

Finally, please put the blade in a shirasaya bag or koshirae bag otherwise we will do this for you and add it to your bill. In addition, make sure that the sword is well packed before sending it to us. I have seen swords badly damaged (e.g. tip of the kissaki broken off) because owners didn't pack the sword well enough, If you need any advice on packing, contact me .