Storie di Donne Samurai: Gate to the Hidden Sanctuary*

Storie di Donne Samurai: Gate to the Hidden Sanctuary*

By now you should know how fond I am of samurai and the history behind them, so how could I not be extremely excited to attend another Tenoha Milano exhibition (with free access as press)—this time focused on Benjamin Lacombe's new book "Storie di Donne Samurai"?

Please join me as we travel back to ancient Japan to explore a hidden sanctuary, and experience an unforgettable multi-sensory journey… Are you ready to cross the gate with me?

The Exhibition

Give it to Tenoha to create a memorable event with its stunning visuals! If their previous exhibition “Fantasmi e Spiriti del Giappone” was really good, the design for “Storie di Donne Samurai” was absolutely fantastic. It truly felt like walking through a forest in ancient Japan. What I really liked about their interactive experiences is that, despite having completely different structures, in my opinion they still possessed some sense of similarity.

The long journey is filled with comfortable rest areas

Let me explain. In “Fantasmi e Spiriti del Giappone”, you crossed the Red Bridge and you had to walk along a precise path because the rooms and interactive experiences were set in a certain order. However, in "Storie di Donne Samurai" there was no strict path and visitors could freely roam the exhibition grounds in whichever order they wanted. Personally, I still felt like I should follow a certain order, which is why I mentioned they seemed similar although different. 

I was lucky enough to pick a time-slot where there weren’t many people around, so I was able to enjoy my nature walk without the place being too crowded, while taking lots of pictures and videos, and I got the chance to have a mini photo-shoot with some of the props available to all visitors! (don’t forget to check out my Instagram!)

The Noble Female Warriors

As the title suggests, the exhibition was focused on and portrayed the stories of the onna-bugeisha—women samurai—who had a significant impact on Japanese history and culture.

The courageous samurai women featured in this exhibition

Not only could you learn about their stories thanks to the enchanting illustrations—located throughout the exhibition grounds—by French artist Benjamin Lacombe, but you could also have a closer look at these courageous women and their tragic stories thanks to entire rooms dedicated to them. 

Women such as Tomoe Gozen, who was a skilled archer and whose story influenced several generations of samurai. Or Yamamoto Yaeko, whose help during the Boshin war earned her the nickname Nightingale of Japan.

Gift Shop Galore

Unlike last time—where I left my purse in a locker at the entrance and wasn’t able to buy anything from the pop-up gift shop—I planned ahead and put my wallet in a tote bag I brought and got quite a few things (that I wouldn’t have been able to purchase in the Tenoha shop). Obviously I couldn’t leave without the book—which contains a special signed print—but I also got a couple of buttons, some postcards, and a bookmark. Don’t these look absolutely stunning? *insert dreamy face*

My shopping haul, full of gorgeous items!

If you’re wondering what that rectangle-shaped thing at the bottom is, it's called Goshuin Book. If you’re familiar with Japanese culture, you’ll recognise this as a lot of train stations in Japan have a corner where you can get your book stamped. It’s really fun to collect stamps, so of course I had to do that as well! It kinda felt like recording a memento of my experience of this exhibition, so I’m really glad I did that. 

The Goshuin book at the "Storie di Donne Samurai" exhibition

Overall, this has been an amazing experience, and I strongly recommend anyone with an interest in Japanese culture to visit this exhibition as soon as possible. It will remain open until the end of November, so make sure you don’t miss this opportunity! 

Thank you, once again to Tenoha Milano for the chance to attend this excellent Japanese interactive experience!

The exhibition "Storie di Donne Samurai" will be open until November 26th, 2023. Book your tickets here.



  1. I had so much fun at this exhibition! I'm glad I was able to share this experience with you, Fran, it was magical to immerse myself in the Edo period through unique illustrations such as these, and I must say that the visit was really well curated. Also, I love all the things you bought, but I have to say that the stamps were particularly fantastic, your eyes sparkled as you walked around the exhibition collecting them 😁

    Fantastic recap! πŸ‘πŸ»

    1. I'm so glad you experienced it with me!! Well, I do love the things *you* bought as well!!
      Haha, yes, I can imagine! The stamps were really fun and it's a tangible memory I'll cherish forever.