Iaito and Uchigatana are weapons of combat that the feudal Japanese samurai used to wear. These weapons are synonymous with video games in Dark Soul combats, and thanks to their ease of handling and use, they’re convenient and effective in sword fights.

However, they aren’t as simple to use in real-life combat if you hardly don’t know how to swing them like a pro.

Iaito is a mock sword and a replica of the actual weapon, the Iaido, without a cutting edge. It’s mainly helpful for practicing this modern martial art and training people who want to acquire skills.

Regardless, people use these terms interchangeably. The Uchigatana, on the other hand, is a name given to refer to a Katana in Japan officially.

However, the rest of the world sees them as two different weapons of combat with a bit of nuance between them, making it relatively easy to confuse the two swords.

Differences Between Iaito and Uchigatana

The Iaito is a replica of the main sword with a cutting edge, the Iaido. However, its only difference is that people use it to train and master how to use one in real-life situations properly.

The Iaido would accurately compare to the Uchigatana and lay out the similarities that make both ideal combat weapons. Here are the differences and similarities between Iiaito and Uchigatana.

The differences between Iaits and Uchigatana drive preferences and determine which is ideal for combatants. Here’s what you should know.


The Uchigatana usually has vertical slashes and stabs and only varies from one to the other quite marginally.

The Uchigatana, on the other hand, is typically elongated and slightly bent upward towards its tip but somewhat shorter than the Iaito.

The bend, however, is more prominent than the Iaito. You can only compare the two if you have them with you; otherwise, it’s usually not easy to tell their shapes apart.


Iaito is somewhat longer, although this difference isn’t so easy to tell. During the 16th century in feudal Japan, a standard Uchigatana measured between 60cm and 70 cm, which makes them a little shorter than Iaitos. That makes Iaidos less ideal for

Ease of use

The Uchigatana is slightly slower than Iaitos and causes a little less damage. However, the former has the advantage of being more practical in thrust attacks and more preferable.

In terms of striking and cutting an opponent, drawing the sword from its sheath, or replacing it, Iaitos have the edge.


The standard Uchigatana is slightly less heavy than Iaitos due to its thin Kasane (the sword’s thickness) and plump tang.

An average Uchigatana can measure about 1.2 kilograms, less than Ioitos. The latter is slightly heavy and can weigh more than the weight in Uchigatanas. However, slight nuances exist between the variants and models.

Type of Damage

Uchigatana is marginally stronger than Iaito but a bit slower. It does slashing and piercing damage as opposed to Iaitos, which deals slashing damage.

Uchigatanas are ideal if you’re to consider the extent of damage you want to cause your foe. That’s even true in dark soul games, where the damage manifests similarly.

Blade Material

An iaito is typically made of aluminum alloy, zinc-aluminum alloy or other non-ferrous materials. An uchigatana is made of high carbon steel.


An iaito is not made as sturdy as a real sword, it is made to withstand repetitive practice, an uchigatana is made to be used in real combat.


An iaito is used for practice and training in the art of Iaido, a form of Japanese swordsmanship. An uchigatana was a weapon of war, used by the samurai class during the feudal era of Japan.


An iaito is cheaper than an uchigatana, as it is not made with the same level of detail and quality.

Other differences

Balance: An iaito is designed to have a balance point closer to the hilt, which makes it easier to control and maneuver.

An uchigatana is designed to have a balance point closer to the middle of the blade, which makes it more powerful when cutting.

Tsuba: An iaito often has a plastic or wooden tsuba (hand guard) as opposed to an uchigatana which typically has metal tsuba.

Habaki: An iaito’s habaki (blade collar) is often made of plastic or aluminum as opposed to an uchigatana which typically has a metal habaki.

Koshirae: The Koshirae of an iaito is often made of plastic or low-grade materials, while an uchigatana’s koshirae is typically made of high-quality materials such as ivory, metal, or mother-of-pearl.

Type of SwordPractice sword used for iaido trainingTraditional Japanese sword used in combat
BladeBlunt, non-sharpenedSharpened, designed for cutting
PurposeUsed for iaido training and formsUsed as a weapon in combat
WeightLighter and more balanced than uchigatanaHeavier and more blade-heavy than iaito
Blade LengthLonger blade length for improved balanceShorter blade length for close-range combat
HandleLonger handle for two-handed gripShorter handle for a one-handed grip
TsubaOften smaller or absent tsuba for quicker drawsLarger tsuba for protection during combat
MaterialOften made of aluminum or alloy for practiceMade of high-quality steel for durability
CostRelatively affordable for a practice swordCan be quite expensive due to quality and rarity
AccessibilityWidely available for purchaseMay be more difficult to find


Iaito and Uchigatanas are made for different purposes.

Shape and Form

Iaitos and Uchigatanas have slightly upward-bent shapes toward their tips. This similarity might urge you to think you’re handling either of them if you don’t have them close.

What to Choose?

It would help to consider many things when choosing between Iaitos and Uchigatanas. If you’re looking to create more damage, an Iaito should be ideal.

However, it could be more practical to use an Uchigachana if you want efficiency and precision. Overall, the Uchigachana takes the day for its ease of use and proper thrust attacks.


In short: Iaito is made for practice and training, while uchigatana is a real weapon made for battle.

Comparing Iaito and Uchigachanas isn’t an easy feat. They appear pretty similar but with a few differences that tell them apart.

Your preference for either should depend on what type of result you want and the efficiency of your attacks.

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