Sanjo Kaji Dojo (Blacksmith Workshop)
This location is in Niigata Prefecture — GaijinPot Travel’s No. 1 place to visit in 2018!
The Japanese are well-known for their serious and meticulous work attitude. Visitors to Sanjo Kaji Dojo (Blacksmith Workshop) can catch a glimpse of that by working with experienced blacksmiths.
Sanjo-Tsubame, a city in northern Niigata Prefecture, is famous for the manufacturing of traditional Japanese nails, knives and tableware. Many farmers in this particular area suffered from flooding and famine in the 17th century, so they started forging nails to earn a side income besides their agricultural work.
Most visitors who come the Dojo have never made a knife before, but the blacksmiths there would be more than happy to assist you.
These Japanese nails are used in building shrines, temples and wooden structures. Through time, the production of nails continued to prosper in Sanjo-Tsubame.
In fact, even the cutlery used at the Nobel Prize Award ceremony is produced in this town! Take advantage of the crafting skills here by making your own knife at Sanjo Kaji Dojo, a historically-rich blacksmith factory organized by a group of friendly, experienced Japanese blacksmiths.
Sanjo Kaji Dojo offers workshops ranging Japanese nail, letter opener, to proper kitchen knife. At the kitchen knife workshop, you will get your hands on quenching, forging, grinding and coating your own knife. The whole process takes about 2-3 hours. People who already own a knife can visit the Dojo for a sharpening workshop to maintain the knife’s sharp cutting edge.
Beside knife-making workshops, visitors can choose to make traditional Japanese nails. If you would like more, try making a letter opening from a Japanese nail! Both workshops last for an hour.
The factory is spacious, with lots of specialized machines, furnaces and polishing stones located in various corners. Expect to be hearing lots of high-frequency noises during the process.
Most visitors who come the Dojo have never made a knife before, but the blacksmiths there would be more than happy to assist you. The workshops are provided only in Japanese, but the interaction with blacksmiths through gestures and smiles will make the experience very heart-warming.