Not Violence, but It's Art. - Bizen Osafune Sword Museum -
In the old days, Bizen Osafune, in which Bizen Osafune Sword Museum is located, thrived as a major foothold of trade of a high quality iron sand. It was blessed with facilities for water transportation by the Yoshii River traveling down from the Chugoku Mountains, which had large deposits of iron sand and other minerals. The region including Bizen Osafune and Bizen Fukuoka, its neighboring area, were famous for its Japanese swords from the early period of samurai government, named the Kamakura Period. It prospered as the best place of business for forging swords in Japan because it was superior to other production areas in both quantity and quality.
Its swords, so-called Bizen-to, occupies over 40 percent of swords registered as National Treasures and National Important Cultural Properties of Japan. Mitsutada, who was active in the 13th century, was the actual founder of Bizen Osafune school, which had remained prestigious throughout the medieval age. Nobunaga Oda, a famous Japanese military commander who appeared around the middle of the 16th century of the period of warring states, was a serious devotee of his swords.
The craftmen of the workshop show their skills and techniques in Japanese swords passed down through the generations. On the second Sunday of each month, a traditional swordsmithing demonstration is performed twice a day. Other craftmen, including a polisher and a Sheath craftman, display their skills on Sundays and holidays. Craftmen such as swordsmiths, a lacquerer and a sword engraver, who are stationed at the museum, display their skills every business day.
Japanese Sword First Forging Ceremony takes place in early January. The shinto ritual is held to pray for improving in their skills and accomplishing their duties without any accident.
Nearby is Osafune Token (Sword) Gallery, which displays and sells the swords made by active swordsmiths.
Getting here: 7 min. by taxi from Osafune Station or Kagato Station on JR Ako Line
Bicycle for rent available at a newspaper agency in front of Bizen-Osafune Station
Closed: Monday (the following day if it is a national holiday), December 28 to January 4 and the replacement periods of exhibits
Open everyday from April 27 to May 6!
Admission: 500 yen for adults / 300 yen for high school & university students / Free for children of junior high school students and younger / Free on May 18 (International Museum Day)
Group discount available for a group of 20 people & above.
Free Wi-Fi service available in Osafune Token Gallery.