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Modern Tatara Ironmaking Experience


©Unnan City

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Modern Tatara Ironmaking Experience


Learn the traditional ironmaking techniques used to create the material for Japanese swords in Shimane Prefecture

Unnan City, Shimane Prefecture


©Unnan City


Tatara is an ancient Japanese ironmaking method where iron composites are smelted by simultaneously burning iron-sand and charcoal, and is the sole method of producing the steel used in Japanese swords.

The town of Yoshida by Unnan City was once the home of the Tanabe family, the most influential tatara producers in the region. This part of Shimane Prefecture is rich in granite and woodlands, making it an ideal place to create this traditional form of iron.

The Unnan City Wako Production Tatara Experience Exchange Facility in Yoshida Town offers workshops several times a year using a modern tatara forge, so that future generations can learn and carry this tradition into the future.

©Unnan City

Join the 24-hour Modern Tatara Experience for a hands-on approach to learning about Japanese ironmaking. Gather charcoal and scatter iron sand into a roaring hot forge over the course of 24 hours, as this old-school smelting technique requires constant vigilance both day and night. The resulting crude iron (kera) is the raw material used to create tamahagane steel, essential for forging Japanese swords.  

Visitors can also opt for a one-hour program at the blacksmith workshop to learn how to forge a paper knife using Tatara iron.


How to get there


From Shin-Osaka Station, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Hiroshima Station (1 hour 35 minutes). From Hiroshima Station, take the highway bus to Tataraba-Ichibanchi Roadside Station (about 2 hours). Tataraba is located about 10 minutes by taxi from Tataraba-Ichibanchi.


892 Yoshida, Yoshida-cho, Unnan-shi, Shimane-ken


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