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Credit：Photo: Takemi Nishi
Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum
Watch steel transform into an elegant blade at a traditional sword forge
Called Bizen Province in the olden days, Okayama Prefecture has long been known for its high-quality sword making. Okayama craftsmen made almost half of the swords recognized as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. The Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum is home to one of the finest collections of samurai swords in the country.
Observe the development of the craft through artifacts that exemplify each step of the process’s evolution. The museum features several special exhibitions throughout the year that combine animations and video games. You can tour the workshop where artisans show off their Japanese sword-making skills, including the process where tamahagane, steel made from iron sand, is heated to 1,300 degrees Celsius and then hammered to make a plate. This plate is further forged and pounded to produce a blade of remarkable strength. You can even order a custom-made sword, forged exclusively for you.