From Nails to Knives – Tsubame-Sanjo, Niigata(By Depalmer Katelyn)2023.03.08
During the 17th and 18th century, a number of massive fires in Edo further drove the demand for wakugi and solidified Tsubame-Sanjo’s status as an area for quality ironworks. At the same time, flood-prevention methods improved, allowing for farming to take off in Niigata and across Japan. With that, craftsmen shifted from nails to farming tools such as scythes, sickles and saws, and those techniques transitioned into today’s cooking knives.
Tsubame and Sanjo are (rightfully) very proud of their craftsmanship, and you can see this reflected in major ways across both towns. If you arrive by Shinkansen—just under 2 hours from Tokyo Station, or only an 8 minute ride from Niigata Station!—the first thing you’ll see when you pass through the station gates is a miniature museum that beautifully displays local products. There are a number of open factories and museums in both towns that deserve attention, as well as the annual Tsubame-Sanjo Factory Festival, where around 100 businesses welcome visitors to their factories to introduce their techniques and manufactured wares.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I’m Katelyn, an American living and working in Niigata City. I moved here from Aichi Prefecture in September 2021, and I hope to enjoy my short time here to the fullest! With its bountiful nature, delicious local food and fun things to do in all seasons, I feel that Niigata is truly a great place to visit, and an even better place to live. https://www.instagram.com/windowtojapan/