The Samurai lifestyle is best experienced firsthand. Set in the heart of Gifu Prefecture, the town of Seki offers travelers a hands-on feel for the art of Japanese steel, and the 700- year heritage that surrounds it. By listening to stories of swordsmiths and taking their craft in your own hands, this tour invites you to hone all five senses, clear your mind, and experience Japan through the eyes of a warrior.
The tour starts by meeting in the morning at Nagoya Station. Then you will head to Inuyama for lunch and orientation. After lunch there will be a walk through the scenic castle town streets and a chance to enter Inuyama Castle. This castle was built about 500 years ago and has survived several battles between famous shogun. Inuyama Castle still stands today, known as one of Japan’s five national treasures. Your first day will end with local cuisine and hot springs at the hotel.
On the second morning the tour will move from Inuyama to Sekizenko Temple by car. At the temple you can practice Zen meditation and Okaidan Meguri, a Buddhist tradition of walking the underground tunnel beneath the temple. Both practices will help relax your mind before trying Iaido, the traditional art of how to wield and cut with a real katana sword. After lunch you will meet the acclaimed sword blacksmiths at Fujiwara Kanefusa. In the evening, you will stay in either Gujo or Mino, two picturesque cities in Gifu that are still lined with buildings from the historic Edo period. Travelers visiting between May and October also have the option to watch local Ukai (cormorant fishing) while eating dinner on a river boat.
This day you will meet with four traditional sword-making artisans. To start, a guide will explain how to recognize katana as a work of art. Next, you will visit a “Tsukamakishi” or hilt-wrapper, a “Shiroganeshi” habaki maker, a “Sayashi” scabbard maker and a “Togishi” sword polisher. For lunch you can try Unagi, a meal enjoyed by local swordsmiths since long ago. Your stay that night will be in either Gujo or Mino, two historic towns known for their Edo-style cityscapes.
Your final day includes light hiking around the mountains of Seki. Here you will find the 500-year pine tree and a picture spot by a turquoise lake that’s famous for resembling a Monet painting. After lunch you will see a shrine that’s revered as the home of the god of katana, as well as a local museum. There will be an opportunity to shop for famous knives, blades, and other souvenirs before finally heading home to Nagoya Station.
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