Seki, Japan is a very small town in the countryside of Gifu prefecture, just north of Nagoya city. It is most well-known for its sword manufacturing during the samurai era.
Brief History of Seki, Japan
Some time in the 13th century, a group of prominent swordsmiths moved to the Seki area and founded a unique sword making tradition. Their swords were sought after by samurai throughout Japan because of their strength and flexibility.
Photo by ©JNTO
Many of the samurai swords, or katana, made during the Edo period (1603-1868) came from Seki. It is believed that there were over 300 swordsmiths in the Seki area during the 14th and 15th centuries.
Photo by ©JNTO
In the Meiji era, carrying a katana was made illegal, so the families of these swordsmiths carried on the tradition by making kitchen knives, scissors, and other types of blades. Seki is still one of the most popular sources for blades among many Japanese people.
Seki Traditional Sword-smith Museum
You can visit the Traditional Sword Museum to see a display of swords and learn about the history of Seki and sword production. The museum is a short walk from Hamonokaikan-Mae Station.
Website: Traditional Sword Museum (in Japanese)
Duration: 2 hours
Open: 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Cost: 600 yen includes Museum and Forging Demonstration
Station: Hamonokaikan Mae via Nagaragawa Railway
Walk: 5 minutes
Note: Moderate English. Audio guides available for 500 yen.
Note: Sword Forging on the 1st Sunday of each month.
On the first Sunday of each month, you can observe a demonstration of traditional sword forging. The only exceptions are the months of January and October.
The demonstrators are actual swordsmiths that have been trained to forge steel in the 700 year old Mino sword making tradition. This skill has been passed down from generation to generation, with many swordsmiths coming from a lineage of sword makers.
The town has an annual festival on the second weekend in October where you can see sword forging demonstrations and buy knives, scissors, and nail clippers.
Seki is a very small town, so it is best for day trips.
From Nagoya Station, take the JR Hida Express for 40 minutes to Mino-Ota. Transfer to the Nagaragawa Railroad and take the train for 17 minutes to Hamonokaikan-Mae Station.