When most people today picture a samurai sword, the image that comes to mind is a katana. These long, curved blades were used by the samurai beginning in the 15th century. Longer swords with a single blade are known as nodachi. A double edged Japanese sword is called a ken. Not all samurai swords are exceptionally long. The wakizashi is a blade of average length, and tanto samurai swords are actually knife-length.
Samurai swords make an excellent addition to any weapons collection. They can be purchased many places, including online. Not all samurai swords are antiques. Several versions are manufactured today, so if an authentic samurai sword is desired take care to verify its age.