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Family Days at The Samurai Collection

Samurai Carp Kite - Photo by IttyBittyFoodies.com

Family Days at The Samurai Collection featured Carp Kites – Photo by IttyBittyFoodies.com


Our weekend soared to new heights as IttyBittyFoodies hosted Kodomo no Hi, Japanese Children’s Day at the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection. The collection located at Harwood District features Family Days on the first Saturday of each month. In samurai times, Children’s Day commemorated a samurai’s coming of age. Today, Kodomo no Hi is Japanese national holiday. The day honors growth and happiness of all children and is often spent flying Koinobori, or carp-shaped kites.  According to a Chinese legend which tells of a carp who swims upstream and transforms into a dragon, the carp is a symbol of strength and success. We spent the day making our own carp kites and flying kites at the Rockefeller Gardens located on the 12th floor of Harwood International. What a spectacle it was to fly kites against a backdrop of skyscrapers. Check out our fun Kodomo no Hi Vlog below!



The collection houses over 1000 artifacts of suits of armor, weaponry, masks and extends to horse armor. The Samurai Collection is the largest collection of its kind outside of Japan, giving visitors a glimpse into the Bushido, or warrior life. It is a tucked quietly upstairs of the historic Saint Ann School building while downstairs takes on the lively Uptown lifestyle at Saint Ann Restaurant.

Samurai at Harwood International Headquarters before we went upstairs - Photo by IttyBittyFoodies.com

Samurai at lobby of Harwood International Headquarters before we went upstairs for our Family Days event – Photo by IttyBittyFoodies.com

It’s best to ask for a short tour when you go inside the museum if you have little kids. Our guide, Chad Brewer was a wealth of knowledge and was able to answer my IttyBittyFoodies’ questions — from what materials were used on the armor such as mother of pearl to learning about the various types of weaponry like the Naginata, long pole weapons that date back to the Edo period of 1615-1868.

Getting up close with these full sets of samurai armor - Photo by IttyBittyFoodies.com

Getting up close with these full sets of samurai armor – Photo by IttyBittyFoodies.com

The most surprising thing about seeing the full armor up close was realizing how small the samurai warriors were compared to their larger-than-life reputation. It intrigued my sons to see the intricacies of the armor which took about a year to fashion. It was fascinating to learn that a warrior’s day was filled with not just martial arts but also the more refined arts like poetry and serving the community. The samurai is held to a code of conduct that encompasses honesty, courage, benevolence, respect, sincerity, honey and loyalty. First Saturdays Family Days are the ideal time to take an interactive tour of this exquisite collection for children from ages 4 and up. There are crafts and activities for the kids like origami and Japanese storytelling.



Hermès Parures de Samouraïs silk twill scarf - Photo courtesy of The Samurai Collection

Hermès Parures de Samouraïs silk twill scarf – Photo courtesy of The Samurai Collection

There is a small gift shop to pick up a beautifully illustrated coffee table catalog or picture story books but for Mother’s Day, head to Hermès at Highland Park Village . This May 11, Hermès releases the Parures de Samouraïs, an exotic collaboration with The Samurai Collection. The shared celebration of history, culture, and artistry comes to life in wearable art in the form of a divine, signature Hermès scarf.  The design pays homage to samurai warrior adornments from centuries ago and features fourteen elements of richly ornamented armor — all of which visitors can view up close at The Samurai Collection.


Family Days at The Samurai Collection at Harwood District are held on the first Saturday of every month. For FREE tickets to the June 3rd event, click here.

For those who want a kid-free night, book your babysitter and attend one of the After-Hours Cocktail Tour which happens on the last Thursday of every month from 6-7pm. Perfect for groups, the After-Hours Cocktail Tour is a new way to do happy hour in HARWOOD. Learn something new about the bold and brave samurai warriors while sipping on a refreshing beverage of choice. Admission is $10 per person. RSVP here and you may win prizes.

PS: The IttyBittyFoodies are currently eating our way around the restaurants at Harwood District — if you have a dish or a restaurant you love, please let us know in the comments section! We’d love to hear your favorites. And if you want to see a little preview of what we’re eating, please follow us at our Instagram account at IttyBittyFoodies.

Hope you can join the IttyBittyFoodies next time!

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