With the ongoing travel restrictions in Japan, many cultural organizations, with the support of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, have added new virtual and English-language elements to museums, theaters and shows so that people around the world can remotely experience Japanese traditions, culture and history.

One such program you can experience from the comfort of your home is the VR Sword Making Experience. Sword making is a traditional Japanese art form whose history has developed over many centuries. It’s a subtle and careful process that requires exceptional skill, a sharp mind and fine craftsmanship.

The VR Sword Making Experience can be purchased online using a credit card for 500 yen with lifetime access, or 300 yen for a two-day rental.

man forging a sword

The VR Sword Making Experience lets you dive into the historical world of this prized craft. Artisans—who use the same techniques passed down through generations—can be seen forging steel at the Bizen Osafune Sword Village in Okayama Prefecture. Sword producers have been perfecting their craft there since the late 12th century, making Osafune reknowned not only for the quality but also the quantity of swords produced here. Osafune swords are some of the most celebrated swords in the world.

sword making

Sword making starts with creating the blade, followed by polishing, engraving, crafting and mounting. It’s a long and laborious process that requires much patience.

man with work goggles engraving a sword

Through the VR experience, you will get to observe each step of the process through the recorded video with English narration. Throughout the video, you can use your mouse or finger to move the camera around and view the scenes and settings from different angles. Whether you watch on your computer or your phone, you will be able to access the full experience.

You will first get to see the swordsman crafting the blade, followed by the metalworker who makes the guard and does the engraving. Finally, the polisher will bring luster to the blade.

sword making

While the swordsman, metalworker and polisher are the three pillars involved in sword making, you’ll also see the fine work done by the grinder, sheath teacher and painter.

Sword making is one part of Japanese history that we seldom hear about and it’s incredible to learn about the process and materials. This is only the start—there are many more virtual experiences you can explore to discover the Japanese culture and practices. You can find more virtual shows through the 360Channel website.

Sure, we can read books or watch videos about Japanese sword making and other traditions, but rarely do we get the chance to immerse ourselves in the experience. Take part in this VR experience and discover the world of Japanese sword making for yourself.

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