How to own a real sword
As your Iaido experience increases, you would come to want to perform demonstration with a real sword (hereinafter referred to as “sword”). Owning swords does not require any special license or credential, and anyone can have one though the fact is not widely known.
In Japan, possession of guns and bladed weapons are prohibited by the Swords and Firearms Control Law. On the other hand, the Japanese sword is a world-class fine art. Therefore, for a sword that is certified as a fine art, the registration card (Toroku-sho, see the image) is issued so that anyone can own the sword legally. Thus, all swords, including wakizashi and tanto, are accompanied by each registration card, and they can be purchased and owned by anyone as long as the sword comes with the registration card. All you have to do after the purchase of a sword is to send the owner change notice to the prefectural board of education that issued the registration card of the sword, as the new owner.
In Kamakura Keiken-kai, use of a real sword in lessons is allowed only for members who are ranked 4 dan or higher and have permission from a Shihan. Until you are qualified, practice with an imitation sword, finding the sword length and weight appropriate for you.