Saitama Experiences | Japanese Sword Making

The first modern Japanese sword appeared around year 700 in the early Heian period. Since then, many of the finest swords have been passed down and preserved till today. Most people consider it a weapon, but the Japanese sword has much deeper meaning to it. It is one of the 3 sacred treasures offered to god in the Shinto religion: a mirror, a jewel, and a Japanese sword. The sword is a symbol of protection, a talisman to families.

With modernization, machines took over the making of swords. During WWII, machines churned out thousands of swords which were a mixture of iron and carbon. They were much weaker and is no competition of an artistry and masterpiece of the hand-made Japanese sword which technique has been around for over a thousand years.

Fusahiro-san was just a child when he laid eyes on a Japanese sword at the national art gallery. He was moved and was determined to also make a sword that will last for hundreds of years and stay beautiful and strong. In his adult years, he spent years training and earning ¥0 to become a Japanese sword making master. He is now one of the 180 only remaining Japanese swordsmiths in the world.

For Fusahiro-san, he doesn’t take on any order from anybody. Because to him, the Japanese sword is a sacred treasure. It’s not to be wielded as just a killing weapon. I was curious so I asked him for the reasons of why people make order from him, and what has stuck with him the most.

“Most orders I receive, are from people welcoming a birth of a boy into the family, or the head of the household wanting to protect the home in a spiritual way. However, what stuck with me the most was an English man. Him and his sisters lost their parents and he wanted a sword in order to protect his sister as they rely on each other now.”

At the quickest, Fusahiro-san can makea sword within 3 months. But that doesn’t yield the best results. On average he makes 6-8 swords per year. In each batch there’s 3 swords and only the best one is actually given to the client. The currently wait list is 1.5 years, and the cost for Fusahiro-san’s craftsmanship, artistry, time and effort is a mere ¥1,500,000 per katana. If you do the math, it’s not a glamorous or money printing job. It’s a gruelling, labor-intensive job that demands attention to detail while at the same time, they are upholding Japan’s dying tradition.

Luckily, Fusahiro-san opens his workshop for tours. This not only helps you understand the process, you can also get hands on by helping with the furnace while watching him create a masterpiece out of mere Iron sand (from Shimane prefecture. Japan does not have natural Iron ore.)



Between the sparks flying, the smoke rising, and the loud hammering of iron, you can’t help but wonder what goes through his mind. What I know is, there’s definitely a lot of respect and focus. Afterall, it’s not anybody that can make a Japanese sword which lasts for hundreds of years.

✅ Tour reservation here:
(Please bring your own translator as only Japanese tours are provided)

🗺️ Location:

Fusahiro Shimojima, Katana Master

Check out @saitama.japan.official for more experiences in Saitama prefecture

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