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Japanese Traditional Arts; Swords and Pottery:
Osafune & Bizen Pottery Square

Getting to Osafune Station:

Approx. 30 min. from Okayama Station on JR Sanyo Line & JR Ako Line

Getting to Inbe Station:

Approx. 40 min. from Okayama Station on JR Sanyo Line & JR Ako Line

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Swordsmiths in Workshop of Bizen Osafune Sword Museum Craftman in Workshop of Bizen Osafune Sword Museum Potter's Wheel Dance Performers

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  • Gate of Bizen Osafune Sword Museum
  • Sword
  • armors
  • Osafune Token Gallery

Not Violence, but It's Art. - Bizen Osafune Sword Museum -

In order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, reservations for admission are required after September 10, 2020.

In the old days, Bizen Osafune, in which the Bizen Osafune Sword Museum is located, thrived as the critical foothold of trade of high-quality iron sand. It was blessed with facilities for water transportation by the Yoshii River traveling down from the Chugoku Mountains, which had large deposits of iron sand and other minerals. The region, including Bizen Osafune and Bizen Fukuoka, its neighboring area, were famous for its Japanese swords from the early period of samurai government, named the Kamakura Period. It prospered as the best commercial place for forging swords in Japan because it was superior to other production areas in both quantity and quality.

Its swords, so-called Bizen-to, occupies over 40 percent of the weapon registered as National Treasures and National Important Cultural Properties of Japan. Mitsutada, who was active in the 13th century, was the actual founder of Bizen Osafune school, which had remained prestigious throughout the medieval age. Nobunaga Oda, a famous Japanese military commander who appeared around the middle of the 16th century of the period of warring states, was a serious devotee of his swords.

The craftsmen of the workshop show their skills and techniques in Japanese swords passed down through the generations. On the second Sunday of each month, a traditional swordsmithing demonstration is performed twice a day - the performances are canceled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus until further notice. Other handicrafters, including a polisher and Sheath craftspersons, display their skills on Sundays and holidays. Handicrafts workers such as swordsmiths, a lacquerer, and a sword engraver, who reside in the workshop, show their skills every business day.

Japanese Sword First Forging Ceremony takes place in early January. The Shinto ritual is held to pray for improvement in the swordsmith skills and their safety on duty.

Nearby is Osafune Token (Sword) Gallery, which displays and sells the swords made by active swordsmiths.

Getting here: 7 min. by taxi from Osafune Station or 20 min. on foot from Kagato Station on JR Ako Line, Bizen Osafune Token Taxi is operated between Osafune Station and Bizen Osafune Sword Museum, offering an inclusive plan covering a taxi fare and admission fees.

Bicycle for rent available at a newspaper agency in front of Bizen-Osafune Station

Click here to jump to the sightseeing map at the bottom of the page.

Closed: Monday (the following day if it is a national holiday), December 28 to January 4 and the replacement periods of exhibits

Admission: 500 yen for adults / 300 yen for high school & university students / Free for junior high school students and younger / Free on May 18 (International Museum Day) / Discount available for seniors (65 & over) with an ID

Group discount available for a group of 20 people & above.

Free Wi-Fi service available in Osafune Token Gallery.

  • Gate of Bizen Pottery Festival
  • Baking Bizen Ware
  • Potter's Wheel Demonstration
  • Bizen Pottery Festival at Main Street

Taste Artless Elegance of Pottery - Bizen Pottery Square; Inbe -

Bizen Pottery Square, Inbe, is recognized for its pottery named Bizen ware. Most of the local residents are engaged in the pottery. Bizen ware has 1,000 years of history and is one of the "Six Old Kilns of Japan." The unglazed and undyed pottery causes less breakage compared with other potteries because it is baked at a high temperature of around 1,200-1,300 degrees Celsius, or 2,200-2,350 degrees Fahrenheit, for a long time.

Bizen Pottery Festival is held on the third Sunday of October and the previous Saturday. The streets near Inbe Station are temporarily closed to vehicle traffic and it teems with a lot of tourists and devotees of Bizen ware from all over Japan. Bizen ware artists and pottery producers sell around 400,000 works created by the local potters in their stores and temporary tents. Most of them are at a discount of 20 percent.

Getting here: In front of Inbe Station on JR Ako Line

Click here to jump to the sightseeing map at the bottom of the page.

  • Bizen Pottery Traditional Industry Hall
  • Visitor Information Office

Improve an Eye for Japanese Pottery. - Bizen Pottery Traditional Industry Hall -

The Inbe Station building occupying Bizen Pottery Traditional Industry Hall is formed in a kiln shape. There is a tourist information office in Japanese on the first floor and a shop that displays and sells 4,000 works by about 180 Bizen ware artists on the second floor. It offers a pottery class, which requires a reservation, on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays.

Getting here: 1 minute walk from Inbe Station on JR Ako Line

Closed: Tuesday (the following day if it is a national holiday), December 29 to January 3

Sightseeing Map of Bizen Area