Samurai Armor Questions

Are your armors made in Japan?

While our armors are hand crafted in China and strictly made by hand in the traditional Japanese manner by highly skilled craftsmen, the armory itself is Japanese owned and managed. China offers a more economical labor force and product availability than Japan. The workers at the Iron Mountain Armory work under the guidance of skilled craftsmen and artisans who have over 100 years of combined experience in armor crafting. Until recently they where only making armor for the Japanese market.

Is the armor real or for display only?

Yes, they are real. They are authentic reproductions made of iron, steel, leather, cotton, silk and other materials that were traditionally used during the Warring States Period of Japan (Sengoku Jidai). They are made in the same traditional design and using the same traditional techniques as the samurai armor craftsmen in the 16th century. Though some modern techniques have been integrated, as well as tools and materials to decrease crafting time, increase safety, durability and longevity of the armor. For example: Traditionally, the iron plates were only riveted together and would break over time due to use. We both rivet and spot weld our iron armor plates together so they will not separate while rolling around in your armor. It looks great on display in your room or while wearing it on the field of battle.

Is the armor battle ready?

Along with traditional armor crafting, we believe in traditional armor testing. Although we do not recommend our armor to be used in any form of combat, it is however very capable of being used and withstanding the rigors of training and full contact sparring. Our armors have been tested with great success, not only in and out of the dojo for full contact martial arts training, but also using fully functional, live samurai swords as well.

Watch the documentary video below of our samurai armor combat and weapons testing.

What type of metal do you use?

Sticking with the Japanese samurai armor crafting tradition, we use 18 gauge (1.24 mm) thick iron plating for the entire suite of armor. The iron is thick enough to stop sword strikes and soft enough to absorb the shock. The armor will also flex with your body, making it lighter and more comfortable to wear.

Will this armor fit me?

Each armor will fit an average adult with a height of 5′ 3″ – 5′ 9″  with a 40″ chest size, with no customization needed for height. The clamshell dō features a pin hinge under the left armpit which can be removed and a cord can be laced through the hinges to accommodate a larger chest.

Do you offer any customizations?

We offer custom sizing, armor and lace coloring as well as painting of family crest, name, kanji or symbols on the armor or yoroi bitsu (armor box). You may send us a message should you have any questions regarding this.

What is the difference between the Classic, Bugyo, Daimyo, Hatamoto Series?

Classic Series or C Series are classic 1582 – 1600 styled armors, which features the hineno-jikoro style kabuto. This style of kabuto was very popular during the latter part of the 16th century. It was closer fitting, protective, and lightweight. They are specially lined with cotton cloth with tiny holes, providing ventilation while; preventing overheating. The cloth also provides some spacing between your head and the helmet which provides extra protection by absorbing the impact of any strike. Besides added safety, it makes the kabuto much more comfortable. The dō is in the yokohagi okegawa ni-mai-dō style having large horizontal plates

Bugyo Series or B Series are post period 1600 style armors, which features the more modern and superior Zunari (head shaped) style kabuto. This kabuto style was also known as the three-plate helmet or hineno-kabuto that offers a higher level of comfort and protection for its wearer. This kabuto will deflect sword, lance and arrows better than the older design. They are specially lined with cotton cloth giving some spacing between the wearer’s head and the helmet, providing additional protection by absorbing some of the impact of a strike. The cloth stretches to provide a more comfortable fit to different sized heads and also has tiny holes, allowing the head to breathe and to help prevent overheating. The Bugyo Series armor is also crafted in a traditional yokohagi okegawa ni-mai dô with raised rivets popular in the Sengoku (Warring States) period. Okegawa means “tub-sided” and refers to the tub-like shape of the cuirass construction. However, because the armor was designed with a single hinge under the left arm, allowing the wearer to slide into the dô and tie it closed from the other side, it was better known as a “clamshell” dô. The most common style of Okegawa dô in this time period was the Yokohagi (horizontal) in which the plates are riveted in horizontal rows. The rivets on the Bugyo series samurai suites are raised low dome rivets, giving the armor more detail.

Daimyo Series or D Series are Daimyo (Lords) style armors. A Daimyo was a term used to describe the Lord of the clan, translating as ‘Big name’ and they were the masters of their realm. Alliances were made and broken regularly according to the lords needs to survive and much time was spent expanding their lands through war. Subordinate only to the Shogun daimyo were the most powerful feudal rulers from the 10th century to the middle 19th century in Japan. Daimyo often hired samurai to guard their land and they paid the samurai in land or food. Relatively few daimyo could afford to pay samurai in money. The daimyo era came to an end soon after the Meiji restoration when Japan adopted the prefecture system in 1871.

Hatamoto Series or H Series are Hatamoto retainer style armors. A hatamoto was a samurai in the direct service of the Tokugawa Shogunate of feudal Japan. The title of hatamoto was the most coveted position for any samurai and reserved for the Shogun’s most trusted retainer and advisers. The word “hatamoto” was the literal meaning of “beneath the flag”, because it was directly underneath the flags and battle standards of the daimyo (Japan’s feudal lords) that one would have found the samurai warriors who bore this most noble of titles. They made up the daimyo’s mounted and foot guards’ served on his general staff, to plan strategy and to supervise his military administration; or provided immediate personal services to their lord, of which the most important of all was the shared duty of protecting his person. Every hatamoto, therefore, was to some extent a true guardsman who was willing to throw himself in front of his lord when danger threatened – which was no more than would be expected from these bravest and most loyal of all samurai warriors.

What's the difference between the Kachi, Gashira, Taisho Class armors?

Taisho (Commanding Officer Armor) – Meticulously and painstakingly handcrafted with the level of quality and expectations that a high ranking samurai would expect. Using only the highest quality in materials such as silk brocade, cotton, buffalo horn, leather, suede, etc. The Taisho Class is crafted by the head craftsman of Iron Mountain Armory with a close eye to detail and quality control. Each armor has been researched and modelled after private collection, museums or temples of the actual armour. They are accurate and detailed in every way. For example, a single helmet can consist of over 32 different hand-spliced iron plates, individually riveted together. The Taisho class armor also comes with the sarashi (cloth belt), waraji (straw sandals) and tabi socks. It also includes extra small iron plates on the shoulder and neck adding for extra protection. This class of samurai armor is specifically made for private collectors, museums, re-enactors, martial artists, and those who demand the highest detail and quality gauge iron, Japanese silk, quality cotton, brass & copper fittings with genuine leather. These armors are often ordered by collectors who want the finest quality without having to pay the high cost and taxes if they would have purchased it in Japan. Great quality at a very good market price.

Gashira (Officer Armor) – Also handcrafted by the most experienced armor craftsman of the Iron Mountain Armory using authentic materials and methods, with good attention to detail. The Gashira Class feature shoulder padding, a detachable nose, a mustache made from goat hair and brass fittings. Like the Taisho Class, each armor has been researched and modeled after private collection, museums or temples of the actual armor. They are accurate and detailed in every way. However, the Gashira Class armor is crafted with the typical bowl style kabuto (simulated laminated) which was common for the average samurai. Our Gashira Class samurai armor is specifically made for collectors, museums, re-enactors, martial artists who want an authentic samurai suit of armor without the added expenses of the higher class armor.

Kachi (Foot Soldier Armor) – This armor is offered in response to our many clients who want to own a suit of samurai armor but at a more economical price. They are quickly made, basic painting and synthetic materials (like nylon instead of cotton, satin instead of silk, faux leather instead of genuine leather) are used to keep the cost of the armor down. Aside from that, the chainmail is simulated and there is no padding under the shoulders and back to make the armor more comfortable. The detachable nose is fixed to the mask with synthetic mustache, and might have a few paint blemishes or iron plating and no brass fittings. This class of armor has the same overall construction as the Gashira Class, but just using more economical materials, less detail and fittings. It is crafted for the samurai on a budget and those looking to modify their own armor.

* All armors in stock are Gashira Class unless otherwise stated.

Feature Kachi Gashira Taisho
Fabric Satin Silk Silk
Lace Cotton Quality Cotton Quality Cotton
Paint Quality Basic High High Detailed
Kabuto Bowl Bowl Laminated
Menpo Nose Fixed Detachable Detachable
Menpo Mustache Synthetic Fur Genuine Genuine
Do Lining Cloth Suede Suede
Sode Lining None Cloth Cloth
Suneate Lining None Suede Suede
Kote Shoulder Cord Over Shoulder Over & Under Shoulder Over & Under Shoulder
Belt (Obi) Padded Obi Padded Obi Padded Obi & Sarashi
Fittings Basic Brass and Copper Brass and Copper
Kote Chainmail Simulated 0.5mm 0.5mm
Watagami (Shoulder Strap) None Cushioned Cushioned w/Iron Plates

Class Differences 1

Class Differences 2

Class Differences 3

Class Differences 4

I see similar armors on auction sites selling for less money, why?

Iron Mountain Armory nor Geisha’s Blade 芸者の刃 sell armor on eBay or any other auction sites.  There are many fakes and frauds on the internet claiming to distribute Iron Mountain Armory’s armor at a cheaper price because they are the factory or sell direct.  This simply isn’t true, nor is it possible to produce a reasonable quality suit of armor for under $1,000 USD.

If you see armors similar to ours being offered by a company in China or Hong Kong, they are knock offs. There are companies and sellers like “lastarmor”, “zbinstore9”, “liren88f”, ” eye88eye” and others who are using Iron Mountain Armory’s photographs. Don’t be fooled, these are imitation suits. These sellers also do not include the armor box, stand or inner materials / lining. Iron Mountain Armory and Geisha’s Blade 芸者の刃 have NO relationship with any Chinese seller and we are not responsible for any claims, loss, damage and whatever happens by their unauthorized copies. Iron Mountain Armory does NOT sell (retail or wholesale) to anyone except through their  authorized dealers.

Please note that our advertised price already includes the shipping cost from the armory, as well as customs tax and import duties. So you don’t have to worry about additional charges when the armor arrives to your doorstep.

Geisha’s Blade 芸者の刃 is the only authorized dealer of Iron Mountain Armory in the Philippines.