Step back in time at the Manyo Blacksmith’s Hut, a Folk Cultural Property of Nagahama City. Here, master metalworkers keep the old forge burning, offering the chance to swing the hammer yourself and walk away with your own handcrafted knife!
East of Nagahama’s city center is Kajiyacho, an old blacksmith village, which still stands as a reminder of Nagahama’s importance in Japan’s Warring States period (1467–1615). When Toyotomi Hideyoshi made Nagahama his base, this is where the Kusano spears that he armed his troops with were made. Despite the long and rich history of smithing here, very few of the old blacksmiths’ huts remain, But one, the Manyo Blacksmith’s Hut, is still operational. Thanks to the passion of the local people, you can still see a local slice of Japan’s history kept alive here, and even get involved! This tour is available daily, starting any time from 09:00 to 14:00, and roughly follows this example schedule: 09:00 — Meet the master smith at the Manyo Blacksmith’s Hut in Kajiyacho. 09:10 — Listen to the blacksmith’s commentary, then try it out for yourself. You’ll hammer the red-hot iron, and make your own paper knife to take home at the end. 10:40 — Relax after your labor with a cup of coffee, at one of the old-fashioned “kominkan” style houses of the village. 11:00 — The experience ends at the kominkan, unless you choose the optional village tour. Optional village tour: 11:00 — One of the villagers takes you around Kajiyacho and shares the stories and history of the village. You’ll see the other, disused blacksmiths’ huts, and learn about Kajiyacho as a village of clear streams and silk spinners. Hear legends of the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and about the tradition of the Genji clan here in the Uekusano Valley. 11:30 — Village tour ends.