Nodachi vs. Odachi


Since both swords were made by samurais of Japan during the feudal age, you would imagine how similar both of these swords are. The reality is that Odachi and Nodachi are distinct quality swords used for different purposes. Often times, Odachi and Nodachi are interchangeably used to indicate one another. This article will go into detail of the similarities and differences of Nodachi vs. Odachi swords and their brief history.


The Odachi is a broad and long sword. The length of it ranges from five to six feet. According to a few people, the sword can be indicated without any reference to the curve length. When it comes to the specific functionality of the sword, it may differ from person to person.

In Ryu, a traditional Japanese art style, Odachi is used to refer to the katana of the modern age. The Katana is a single-edged long sword. Some also call it a Daito. Kodachi is another term that is widely used. This is popular among those who use Odachi to indicate the long sword. They use Kodachi to refer to swords of short length. An Odachi sword has a length of four, five or six Shaku. When Uchigatana (a standardization) came in, the long swords were referred to as Tachi or Katana. The swords of medium size were referred to as daggers tanto and wakizashi.


The Nodachi sword was very popular in the wars. It was very long in length, and therefore brought excellent results. The Nodachi sword measures four to five feet. The length of the Nodachi blade is close to over one meter, and is made of special steel alloys. A distinctive characteristic about Nodachi swords is that Nodachi swords are more curved that Odachi swords. 

The Nodachi sword came into existence during the Heian period. During this period, the Nodachi referred to as sword for fights to set it apart from the GijoTachi. GijoTachi was used by nobles and on ceremonial occasions. 

Nodachi swords are heavy and long and therefore are thought to be used by Gods. It was believed a sword measuring over one meter might not be used by normal people. The discovery of swords of length more than one meter has strengthened the belief. The long swords that were discovered were looked like Nodachi swords. The popular myth is that kings got these swords made and offed to Gods to use them to finish battles.

Nodachi sword making is time-consuming. To make these swords, only experienced and highly-skilled sword smith was able to execute.

Who Used These Swords? 

The Odachi and Nodachi swords were the weapons in the hands of foot sliders. It was because the cavalry men could not carry long swords when riding their horses. It was very hard for soldiers to remove long swords from their backs in the battle field. Therefore, they held Nodachi swords by hand and faced attacks head on. 

Both Nodachi and Odachi swords were created in the feudal times for war purposes. Although many would think that since they were made during the same period of time and for the same purposes, that they would share a lot of similarities. Instead, they are rather different. The main differentiating features between Nodachi and Odachi swords are their weight, length, and curve of the blade. 

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