A young blacksmith forges sharp edged tools
A seasoned craftsman faces a roaring furnace packed with red-hot iron. Mechanical hammers strike and stretch the iron with explosive force, the sound thumping like a heartbeat in the sweltering workshop. With painstaking precision, a simple lump of iron takes shape into a finely crafted kitchen knife.
The Nigara Forging Company in Aomori Prefecture’s Hirosaki City has been crafting precision blades for over 350 years. Ranked among Japan’s greatest swordsmiths, the craftsmen of Nigara originally produced swords and daggers for the ruling Tsugaru clan. As the age of the samurai came to an end, seventh-generation owner Toshihisa Yoshizawa and his son Go brought the forge into the modern era. Harnessing their traditional sword-making techniques, Nigara is now a world-renown producer of knives.
The centuries-old techniques practiced at Nigara Forging go beyond knife manufacturing and now also support local infrastructure projects. Based in Hirosaki City since their beginnings, Nigara lent their steel expertise to restore one of the city’s most celebrated landmarks, the aging Hirosaki Castle. Built without modern earthquake technology, the ancient stone castle towers over 14 meters tall and weighs over 400 tons, putting it at serious risk of collapse in the event of a natural disaster. To preserve the symbol of their hometown, the master smiths of Nigara crafted a robust earthquake-resistant skeleton to protect the historic castle.
“Nigara has been a Hirosaki establishment for generations,” says seventh-generation owner Toshihisa Yoshizawa, “This current project was made for us. This is a once-in-a-century opportunity, so we took it on with pride. Since the age of the samurai, we blacksmiths have supported the local people with our iron, and we are always looking to face new challenges.”
In the blink of an eye, a molten hot lump of iron is formed into a kitchen knife
Roaring flames as red-hot iron is made in a furnace
- Nigara Forging Co., Ltd.
- 4-1 Kinzoku Town, Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture 036-8245
- +81 172 88 2881
- Open hours:
- 8:00 – 17:00
- About 20 minutes by car from JR Hirosaki Station
- At the two-tangle blade forging station known as the prestigious swordsmith in Japan, various knives can be purchased on the spot from professional specification kitchen knives to household items. We also accept custom made orders.