Rarely does one get to experience such a huge part of history. Swordsmithing in Japan has been around for thousands of years, and to learn about it from such a friendly guy was a pleasure. He took us through almost all the steps involved with making a japanese sword. Obviously the real thing takes months to create, so we were only able to experience certain parts of the process, but it was a very cool and unique experience nonetheless.
The closest station, Inariyama station.
Arrival! psyched to get into it.
The master teaching about the process.
Painting the blade with a special clay mixture before heating.
Drying the clay.
Heating the knife in the coals. First, the demonstration.
Then my turn. It was fun, but the arm gets tired after a while.
Of course you have to cool it down afterwards.
After practice, time to engrave your name on the hilt.
And finally the sharpening.
This was his sharpening work station. So many different whetstones.