Japanese Swordsmiths In Kurashiki, Okayama

Swordsmiths (Katanakaji) in Bizen Osafune open their workshop to the public for people who are interested, in Kurashiki, Japan.

Invented a thousand years ago, katana remain as the miracle of the beautiful and skillful katana engineering. Japanese katana sword production started during the the Heian period. Since a long time ago, the Bizen Osafune area is known as the birthplace of Japanese swords. You can learn about the Japanese history of swords and the procedures used to make them at the “Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum”, in The Bizen Osafune Token Village.

For your information :
We recommend you contact Yuurin-an guest house.
Address : 2-15, Motomashi, Kurashiki-shi, Okayama, Japan

http://u-rin.com/ (japanese only but many nice photos, you will catch the atmosphere.)

Smelting steel 1

Over three days and three nights, smelters using ancient techniques

Smelting steel 2

Composed of carbon, the charcoal is as much a key ingredient in steel

Smelting steel 3

The tatara will reach temperatures of up to 2,500°F

Forging the sword 1

After the smith hammers all slag from the tamahagane, he heats the hard, high-carbon steel and shapes it into a long, U-shaped channel.

Forging the sword 2

He then hammers the tough, low-carbon steel, which he has shaped so it will make a snug fit into the channel and forges the two metals together.

Forging the sword 3

Both types of tamahagane are now exactly where they need to be

Forging the sword 4

Hard steel forms the sword's outer shell

Coating the katana

Katana's body is now complete