Nissin Air Stage Honryu 450


Rods available by special order.

Replacement parts are available.

Please note: The Nissin Air Stage Honryu is NOT the Nissin Oni Honryu or the Royal Stage Honryu. I no longer have the Air Stage Honryu Rods but I can order a Honryu 450 for you if you wish. Please see the Royal Stage Honryu page.

The Nissin Air Stage Honryu 380 and 450 are remarkably smooth casting, light, well balanced tenkara rods with sufficient backbone for nice fish.

These rods are full of surprises. The first surprise is how long the rods are collapsed. They do not fit your mental image of what a tenkara rod should be. The second surprise, when you extend the rod, is how light and well balanced it is. You won't believe that a 450cm rod can be that light and well balanced. And the 380 is even lighter! The third surprise will have to wait until you can get out on the water and start casting the rod. They are the smoothest casting tenkara rods I've ever found. The fourth surprise is that for a rod that light, it has a surprising amount of backbone and can handle very nice fish without a problem.

The photo above shows the Nissin Air Stage Honryu 450 (top), the Honryu 380 (middle) and a yardstick (bottom). If you already have a tenkara rod or two, or even a preconceived notion of what a tenkara rod should be, these two rods will seem very "out of the box." When I first saw them I was shocked at the length and immediately felt it was a deal breaker.

It wasn't until quite a while later when I realized that the problem isn't that they're too long. My "box" was too short. For years (probably decades, actually) I've used a two piece ultralight spinning rod for years and years, and never, not once, did it ever cross my mind that the broken down spinning rod was too long. (Of course, that was before I discovered the Tenryu Rayz Integral 4-piece rods. Now a two-piece rod does seem too long!

The photo above is the two-piece spinning rod and the longer of the two Honryu rods (the 380). The Nissin Air Stage Honryu 450, when fitted with a Fuji KTC-12 rod cap, which I prefer to the standard tip plug, is exactly 3/8" longer than my two piece spinning rod. If you have any two piece fly rods, they are almost certainly longer when broken down than the Honryu rods are when collapsed. These might not be the rods to take when hiking in several miles (or several days) but for rivers you can drive to, the rods actually make a lot of sense.

One unexpected benefit of the long collapsed length is that a pair of Fuji EZ Keepers is an ideal way to manage your line. It doesn't take many wraps when the keepers are that far apart!

As for the second surprise, the rods really are quite light for their length, with the 380 tipping the scales at 2.6 ounces and the 450 at only 2.9 ounces - which is really remarkable for a 4.5 meter rod. That's more than a full ounce less than an Ito. The lightness in hand when casting is even more remarkable. (Third surprise, in case you're counting.)

Despite the rods being very light and very smooth casting, they have the backbone you need to catch nice fish. I haven't caught any big trout yet but I will say they do nicely for smallmouth bass (and inch for inch a smallie would outfight a trout any day). The bass above was caught with the 380. The 450 is quite a bit more capable.

Despite having the backbone to land nice fish, they are still an awful lot of fun with smaller fish. For those of you without easy access to trout, there are always bluegills (or is it the other way around?). In any event, these are very nice rods for a range of sizes and species.

The rods will cast a number of line weights. For the 380, I would choose a size 3 level line without hesitation, although I have found that it also does quite well with the titanium line. The 450 will cast a size 3 but may be a bit happier when paired with a 3.5. For windy conditions, either a 4 or a titanium line would work nicely.

The grip screw cap on the Nissin Air Stage Honryu rods is the same as on the Nissin Pro Square rods - metal, aggressively knurled for a good grip with wet or cold hands, ventilated and with a rubber insert to keep the rod quiet when collapsed.

I'd still take the rod apart to dry thoroughly between uses.

The tip plug has a unique shape (380 plug shown). I would definitely replace it with a Fuji KTC-12 rod cap. It is just that much more secure and you really don't want rod sections this long to slide out unexpectedly if the rod is bouncing around in your trunk or back seat as you are driving the back roads.

Nissin Air Stage Honryu 380
Length extended - 12' 6"
Length collapsed - 43 3/4"
Weight 2.6 oz
Sections - 4
Pennies - 15.5

Nissin Air Stage Honryu 450
Length extended - 14' 9"
Length collapsed - 40 3/4"
Weight 2.9 oz
Sections - 5
Pennies - 20.5

Echoing John V's sentiments, these rods may not be for everyone but I sure like them. If you want an incredibly smooth casting rod with the delicacy for smaller fish but the backbone for the bigger ones, and if you don't need a tenkara rod to break down any shorter than your fly rods, these rods may be ideal. You just need to fish outside the box!

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

"Study to be quiet." - Izaak Walton 1653

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

Beware of the Dogma

Currently processing orders that were received Sep 19.

Sunline Size 3 Fluorocarbon

Fuji KTC-12 Rod Cap

Fuji EZ Keepers

The 380 is a wonderful rod. It has very nice balance and a precise casting nature. Just a bit longer than a 12' rod but shorter than a 13' rod. Just the ticket for tenkara streams. It has the same action as the 450, just shorter.

Thoughts on the 450. It is one of my favorites. I use it a lot more than I thought I would when I ordered it. It may not be for everybody but I sure like it.

I don't know if I would classify it as a big fish rod. Probably more of a big river medium fish rod. Easily handles fish in the high teens in deep and moderate currents or fish in the low 20s in slow/soft current. Great tailwater rod.

John V, Utah

My Air Stage 450 accounts for my 2 biggest fish of 2013. 2 beautiful 22-24" football shaped rainbows. The fish came from a well known tail water in Mass.

Richard I, New York

I received my 380 from Chris a few weeks ago and I've been fishing it every since. What an amazing rod. It is so smooth. Matched with a #3 level line it is really a work of art.

Tom D, Idaho

I took the 380 out again today and landed a dozen rainbows. This rod is fantastic.

Terry F, New Mexico

Weather and high water delayed a try of the Honryu until today. Wow, I really like it.

John L, Colorado

Caught on the Honryu/Ice blue combo. This is definitely my go to rig now!

Bradley T, Georgia