Text size
Small
Middle
Big

HOME > Explore > Recommended Information > Recommended Model Courses > Try your hands at blacksmithing in a traditional folk house

Main content starts here.

Craftsmen’s Inn Kaji (two-night plan)

Try your hands at blacksmithing in a traditional folk house

Sanjo has long been known as the “ironware town.” It produces traditional Japanese nails,*1,blacksmith’s tools, kitchen knives and more and even today Sanjo is one of the country’s major producers of ironware. At Craftsmen’s Inn Kaji, a traditional townhouse*2 with a workshop attached, you can try your hand at making things and also stay overnight. You can also wander around its open factory and see blacksmiths at work.

*1. Making products by forging metal.
*2. Traditional-style nails used in restoring old buildings like shrines, temples, or castles.
*3. Machiya is the traditional Japanese shophouse style of urban architecture, and is a type of minka, or “folk house.”

Learn the profoundness of creation through hands-on experiences

Tokyo Station → [100 minutes on the Joetsu Shinkansen]Tsubame-Sanjo Station → [10 minutes by car]Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo

1

Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo

The director, Mr. Hasegawa, welcomes everyone warmly.

Paper knife-making classes are held daily, so anyone can try their hand at it.

Staff will teach you patiently, so even beginners can have fun.

This dojo (training hall) is designed to spread Sanjo’s blacksmithing techniques far and wide, revitalizing the industry. The dojo has exhibits of knives and blades, and every day there are classes anyone can take on making paper knives or Japanese-style nails. There are not many places in Japan where you can try your hand at proper blacksmithing, and smaller groups are very much welcome and don’t even need reservations to visit the dojo.

Information is also available in English.

  • [Location] 11-53 Motomachi, Sanjo City
  • [Access] 10 minutes by car from Tsubame-Sanjo Station on the JR Joetsu Shinkansen, or 3-minute walk from Kita-Sanjo Station on the JR Yahiko Line
  • [Phone] 0256-34-8080
  • [Hours] 9:00 to 17:00
  • [Closed] Mondays, Dec. 29 to Jan. 3
  • [Prices] Hands-on classes: Paper knife: Adults 1,000 yen, middle school students or younger 500 yen. Japanese-style nail: Adults 500 yen, middle school students or younger 250 yen
  • [Parking] 30 cars

Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo → [5-minute walk]Sanjo Heritage Museum

2

Sanjo Heritage Museum

The enormous building offers a chance to see how blacksmiths worked back in the old days.

There are displays of the various items Sanjo blacksmiths produced using their technical skills.

This important building was once used as a martial arts training hall.

At this museum you can learn about the history, folklore, culture, and industry of Sanjo. Its prestigious building, which was once used as a martial arts training hall, is registered as a national Important Cultural Property. In addition to displays, recreations of the Sanjo blacksmith ateliers and local archeological artifact exhibitions, there are also regular exhibits on people connected with Sanjo.

  • [Location] 3-1-4 Honcho, Sanjo City
  • [Access] 15 minutes by car from Tsubame-Sanjo Station on the JR Joetsu Shinkansen, or 2 minutes from Kita-Sanjo Station on the JR Yahiko Line
  • [Phone] 0256-33-4446
  • [Hours] 9:00 to 17:00
  • [Closed] Mondays (open if Monday is a public holiday), last day of each month (open if it is a weekend), New Year’s holiday period
  • [Prices] Free entry
  • [Parking] 20 cars

Sanjo Heritage Museum → [5-minute walk] Craftsmen’s Inn Kaji

3

Overnight at Craftsmen’s Inn Kaji

You can try out the carpenter’s tools on display in the studio shelves.

The first floor contains Japanese-style rooms and a kitchen, while the bedrooms are upstairs. The entire house is rented for a night.

The Japanese style room, with its high ceiling and open design, is very relaxing.

A machiya more than 80 years old has been restored and redeveloped to become an exclusive one-party accommodation. The typical machiya layout, with its narrow frontage and long depth, provides a relaxing space in a historic atmosphere. There is a range of carpenter’s tools made in Sanjo, including chisels, planes, and inkpots for marking lines, and you can try them out in the studio. The machiya is fully equipped with dishes and eating utensils, so you can even cook for yourself.

Reservations can be made here

  • [Location] 12-6 Motomachi, Sanjo City
  • [Access] 10 minutes by car from Tsubame-Sanjo Station on the JR Joetsu Shinkansen, or 5-minute walk from Kita-Sanjo Station on the JR Yahiko Line
  • [Phone] 0256-55-4178
  • [Hours] Check in / Check out: Between 10:00 and 17:00 (confirm when booking)
  • [Closed] Open year round
  • [Prices] Overnight: 8,640 yen (one person) / 10,800 yen (two people) (groups of up to ten people can stay)
  • [Parking] None
  • [Reservations] Inquiries about rates and reservations
    craftsmens.inn.kaji@gmail.com

See world-class techniques in an open factory

Craftsmen’s Inn Kaji → [30 minutes by car] Suwada Blacksmith Works

1

View the factory at Suwada Blacksmith Works

The factory tour lasts about half an hour to an hour. A range of nail clippers are displayed in the showcases.

You will see the workers hard at work at their jobs on the other side of the glass.

The factory shop offers tax-free shopping.

Suwada Blacksmith Works’ major product, nail clippers, are the perfection of form and function. The emphasis is on a good cutting edge, and these nail clippers, made by hand by master craftsmen, have been the recipients of numerous awards both in Japan and overseas. The factory is open to the public using the “open factory” model, so visitors are welcome to take a look inside. You can see the products taking shape in the hands of the craftsmen as you experience what it is like to see masters at work.

  • [Location] 1332 Koanji, Sanjo City
  • [Access] 30 minutes by car from Tsubame-Sanjo Station on the JR Joetsu Shinkansen
  • [Phone] 0256-45-6111
  • [Hours] Shop: 10:00 to 18:00 / Factory: 10:10 to 12:10, 13:00 to 17:00
  • [Closed] Shop closed on New Year holidays, factory visits are not available on Sundays, Mondays and holidays
  • [Prices] Factory visits are free of charge
  • [Parking] 20 cars

Suwada Blacksmith Works → [5 minutes by car] Marunao

2

Visit the Marunao factory

You will not miss a single detail of the skilled techniques as you see them through the glass windows.

The elegant, high-class shop offers chopsticks and other items made from a range of different materials.

There are a lot of unique touches in the factory, like using chopsticks for door-pulls.

At Marunao, they make wooden products such as smooth chopsticks and cutlery that feel good to eat with, using a blend of modern woodworking machines and traditional techniques. Made from high quality wood, Marunao products are highly regarded both at home and abroad. The factory is an open factory, allowing visitors to see products being made close hand.

  • [Location] 1662-1 Yada, Sanjo City
  • [Access] 30 minutes by car from Tsubame-Sanjo Station on the JR Joetsu Shinkansen
  • [Phone] 0256-45-7001
  • [Hours] Shop: 10:00 to 19:00 / Factory: 9:00 to 17:30
  • [Closed] Shop open year round apart from New Year holidays, factory visits not available on Sundays
  • [Prices] Factory visits are free of charge
  • [Parking] 20 cars

Marunao → [25 minutes by car] Craftsmen’s Inn Kaji

3

Overnight at Craftsmen’s Inn Kaji

"1. You can try out the carpenter’s tools on display in the studio shelves. 2. The first floor contains Japanese-style rooms and a kitchen, while the bedrooms are upstairs. The entire house is rented for a night. 3. The Japanese style room, with its high ceiling and open design, is very relaxing."

You can try out the carpenter’s tools on display in the studio shelves.

The first floor contains Japanese-style rooms and a kitchen, while the bedrooms are upstairs. The entire house is rented for a night.

The Japanese style room, with its high ceiling and open design, is very relaxing.

A machiya more than 80 years old has been restored and redeveloped to become an exclusive one-party accommodation. The typical machiya layout, with its narrow frontage and long depth, provides a relaxing space in a historic atmosphere. There is a range of carpenter’s tools made in Sanjo, including chisels, planes, and inkpots for marking lines, and you can try them out in the studio. The machiya is fully equipped with dishes and eating utensils, so you can even cook for yourself.

Near Craftsmen’s Inn Kaji are places serving Sanjo’s famous curry ramen, as well as the Sanjo Spice Labo

  • [Location] 12-6 Motomachi, Sanjo City
  • [Access] 10 minutes by car from Tsubame-Sanjo Station on the JR Joetsu Shinkansen, or 5-minute walk from Kita-Sanjo Station on the JR Yahiko Line
  • [Phone] 0256-55-4178
  • [Hours] Check in / Check out: Between 10:00 and 17:00 (confirm when booking)
  • [Closed] Open year round
  • [Prices] Overnight: 8,640 yen (one person) / 10,800 yen (two people) (groups of up to ten people can stay)
  • [Parking] None
  • [Reservations] Inquiries about rates and reservations craftsmens.inn.kaji@gmail.com
  • [Reservations] Charges and reservations : craftsmens.inn.kaji@gmail.com

Take the superb skills of Sanjo blacksmithing with you back home

Craftsmen’s Inn Kaji → [5-minute walk] Kajimachi House

1

Enjoy strolling and eating along Kajimachi Street

Relax and enjoy food and drinks in the restaurant.

Kajimachi House, with its storehouse and garden, is a place anyone can casually drop by at.

The manhole covers dotted around Kajimachi Street have blacksmith motifs.

Kajimachi Street was once home to many blacksmiths, hence the name. One of the old style houses has been turned into Kajimachi House (Kajimachi-no-Ie). Inside you will find the Community Café Flat, where mountain-style soups and curries made using twenty different types of locally-grown vegetables are served every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On each day there’s a different menu, all at reasonable prices. Relax as you dine gazing out onto the garden.

  • [Location] 6-3-76 Honcho, Sanjo City
  • [Access] 15 minutes by car from Tsubame-Sanjo Station on the JR Joetsu Shinkansen, or 10-minute walk from Kita-Sanjo Station on the JR Yahiko Line
  • [Phone] 0256-34-2448 (Chiiki Tasukeai Network)
  • [Hours] Community Café Flat (Tue/Thu/Sat): 10:00 to 15:00. Doma Shop: 9:00 to 17:00 (Mon to Sat)
  • [Closed] Sundays
  • Seats] 20 seats
  • [Prices] Flat Set Lunch: 300-350 yen (plus entrance fee of 200 yen. Free entry for first-time visitors)
  • [Parking] 20 cars

Kajimachi House → [9 minutes by car] Tadafusa Knife Workshop

2

Tadafusa Knife Workshop

The first-floor shop carries household knives, professional knives, and even soba cleavers.

You can tour the factory if you make an advanced reservation. English is spoken.

They have created knives that perfectly fit the needs of the society today while preserving the sharpness made with traditional techniques.

Tadafusa Knife Workshop, famous for its serrated, round-tipped bread knives, was founded in 1948, and has continued to produce each individual knife completely by hand, from start to finish. As a result, their knives have numerous fans, not just in Japan but all around the world. There is a shop on site where you can buy knives and other metal items, and get your own knives sharpened or repaired.

  • [Location] 27-16 Higashi Honjoji, Sanjo City
  • [Access] 15 minutes by car from Tsubame-Sanjo Station on the JR Joetsu Shinkansen
  • [Phone] 0256-32-2184
  • [Hours] 9:00 to 17:00
  • [Closed] Sundays and public holidays
  • [Prices] Factory tours are free of charge (reservations required)
  • [Parking] 15 cars
  • [Reservation method] Phone or e-mail mail@tadafusa.com

Tadafusa Knife Workshop → [15 minutes by car] Tsubame-Sanjo Regional Products Center Roadside Station

3

Tsubame-Sanjo Regional Products Center Roadside Station

Look for the large sign at the entrance to the spacious regional products center.

There’s a wide range of products on offer, from Sanjo knives to Tsubame dishes.

Prices are lower than in normal shops, so it’s a great place to pick up some souvenirs.

Beginning with a regional products center where you can buy items made carefully by Tsubame-Sanjo craftsmen, or eat at the restaurant inside, which serves food made with local ingredients. The regional products center carries some 10,000 Western-style plates, utensils, kitchen goods, pots and pans, and more, all at local prices. They offer tax-free shopping as well to help overseas visitors. Why not stop by and see, touch, and taste their world-class traditional skills?
English and Chinese (Traditional) are supported

  • [Location] 1-17 Sugoro, Sanjo City
  • [Access] 5-minute walk from Tsubame-Sanjo Station on the JR Joetsu Shinkansen
  • [Phone] 0256-32-2311
  • [Hours] 9:30 to 17:30
  • [Closed] First Wednesday of each month, New Year’s holiday period
  • [Prices] Free entry
  • [Parking] 350 cars

Tsubame-Sanjo Regional Products Center Roadside Station → [5-minute walk] Tsubame-Sanjo Station → [100 minutes on the Joetsu Shinkansen] Tokyo Station

Recommended Model Courses

Traveller Infomation

Return to top of page