One of the highlights of our trip to Japan was a stop at the Seki Hamono Museum in Seki, Gifu. Seki is well known for being the third largest producer in the world of high-quality cutlery. Traditionally the environment was perfect for forging the ultimate samurai swords. An abundance of water combined with coal and red clay put the city of Seki on the map as a world leader in the cutting tool industry. For the last 700 years Seki has been supporting the Japan sword industry.
Today the products made with tradition and modern technology range from kitchen knives to scissors, razors, nail clippers and many more. When we came through Seki we knew we had to check out the origins and skills it took to create these masterpieces. Here is our Seki Hamono Museum review so you know what to expect and why you should make this a stop on your Japan bucket list!
Seki Hamono Museum Review
When we first arrived at the Seki Hamono museum we were greeted outside by Kazuhiro Yoshida, the owner of the Museum. Swordsmithing has been in his family for generations and he was excited to share his passion for it. The tour started with an “IAI” performance. This is a Japanese martial art that focuses on the ability to quickly draw a sword and react to a sudden attack. There was a vertical bamboo pole set up that acted as his attacker. He was in full traditional attire as he slowly backed up before his attack. With showmanship he sliced the bamboo pole in half demonstrating how extremely sharp the sword was. Make sure to have your camera ready as once he attacks it’s over in the blink of an eye!
Next, we went inside to the cutler museum and where the sword forging tour takes place. They have a combination of displays and an enclosed sword forging area. The best part is that it’s happening right before your eyes just like they would have done it hundreds of years ago. As the tour starts we are given some background on how the swords are made and the materials that it takes to create them. They then demonstrate it in the enclosed area and sparks fly as they hammer the steel! It’s really exciting to watch and begin to understand just how hard it is to create one of these masterpieces. It can take up to two months to make just ONE samurai sword using their traditional methods.
Next up it was our turn! We were able to go inside the enclosed area and try hammering the steel. The hammer is very heavy and it's extremely hot in there! I definitely have a lot of respect for how these traditional samurai swords are made and the physical effort it requires. It was great to be able to have the hands-on experience as they cheer you on!
After doing our best to hammer the steel, it’s photo time. You get to hold an actual samurai sword! Be careful as they are extremely sharp and one wrong move would be very bad. We are presented with our sword forging certificates for participation which was a nice added touch.
Kashlee was then able to try on a traditional Kimono. She couldn’t believe how heavy the material was but loved how elegant and strikingly beautiful it was. We did some more photos before being presented with our own Seki nail clippers and souvenirs to finish off the tour. They have a massive gift shop full of very high-quality knives and almost every cutting tool you can think of. Lots of great things to bring as gifts back home.
Overall our experience at the Seki Hamono Museum was great and I would highly recommend booking the tour!
Sword Forging Tour– ¥32,400 ($289US) per group
There is no limit on the size of the group
Guided Personal Museum Tour
Sword Forging Demonstration
Sword Forging Hands on Experience
IAI Marital Arts Samurai Sword Performance
Photo opportunities and sword forging certificate
Cutting Tools Souvenirs
Traditional Tea Ceremony – ¥1500 (13.50US)
IAI Samurai Sword Performance – Free
Kimono Experience – Free
Gift Shop and Self Guided Museum (no sword forging) – Free
Contact Information for Seki Hamono Museum:
Hours: 8:30am-5:00pm 7 days a week
Address: 950-1 Oze, Seki City, Gifu 501-3265 Japan
Website: Seki Hamono Museum