City of Knives and Swords

The Japanese knife is quite simply the best in the world. The place best known for them is Seki (関市) in Gifu where Japanese Samurai swords have been forged for over 700 years. That tradition continues today in its knives and cutlery. They’re perfect.

Following World War 2, the city changed from forging the katana to producing some of the world’s best knives and cutlery. So, I ended up at Seki Station recently — to buy the best knife in Japan! Maybe even a samurai sword, too.

In this episode, John travels to Seki city in Gifu prefecture to check out the CUTLERY FESTIVAL known as the HAMONO MATSURI (刃物まつり) in Japan. Now only will you find over 43 knife makers selling their best at discounted prices, you’ll see the most unique knives anywhere as well as Chanbara performances (Samurai Sword Fight Acting).
The most unique part of the Hamono Festuval is an authentic demonstration of traditional sword forging using Tamahagane Steel.

HOW MUCH IS A REAL SAMURAI SWORD?
They start at 400,000 to 600,000 Yen ($4,000 to $6000) and can go up to $20,000! We’ll see swords being made in Seki.

HOW TO BUY A JAPANESE KNIFE:
There many things to consider such as the type of steel, the type of knife, it’s balance and of course, it’s price.

WHEN IS SEKI’S HAMONO CUTLERY FESTIVAL ( 刃物まつり ) ?
It takes place in the second week of October annually.
Next one: 2017 October 7th and 8th (Saturday & Sunday)
URL: http://seki-hamono.jp/ (English available)

The knife I bought:
Mcusta ZANMAI Classic Pro Damascus Flame
http://www.zanmai-hocho.jp/product/hfr
Santoku 180mm ¥15,000 Festival Price

Hida Beef (Hida Gyu 飛騨牛) is one of Japan’s top wagyu beef and worth trying in Gifu or the Nagoya area.

HOW TO GET TO SEKI:
Best is to rent a car. It’s easiest to get around this way because trains don’t leave often in the countryside and many places like Monet’s Pond can be accessed only by infrequent buses.
By Train, it’s a short and scenic ride from Nagoya Station or Gifu Station.

Google Map:
Seki Station https://goo.gl/maps/BeFL4Hj9caR2
Monet’s Pond https://goo.gl/maps/DQo8vh2dTy72

LINKS:
★ Seki Sightseeing Association(関市観光協会)
http://www.sekikanko.jp
★ Bushido Tsurugikai Association(武士道剣会)
http://samurai-bushido.com

THANK YOU!
I want to say ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU to Seki city and the wonderful people who helped me make this special episode. If you are interested in Seki, please check out their sightseeing page and feel free to contact them. They really want you to enjoy their hometown! -john

What is Damascus Steel?
Mr. Walter Sorrells made an excellent video on YouTube explaining it. I also learned more about knife making from his channel.

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