Kyoto Day 8

Straight and to the point (Named by Chris)

Blacksmithing Day. Out of all the experiences I think this is one the boys were looking forward to the most. We took the local train out to a country town called Kameoka. At the station we were picked up by the blacksmith and the translator and driven to the blacsmiths house. The town was really pretty, it was surrounded by mountains and rivers and fields. This is the second country town we have been to this trip and both have been stunning. We sat down at the blacksmiths house as he explained how samurai swords are made the the process behind being a sword smith. He also has a samurai outfit and samurai sword that he let Chris and Joe take photos with.

After that it was in to the workshop. We were all going to use traditional methods to make a knife. The blacksmith showed us how to work the bellows and heat the metal and then how to get it into shape by hamering it. It was extremely as ypu had to form the knife shape from a rectangular peice of metal. It was so hard but well worth it. He spent time helping us all get it right and by the end all of us had the makings of a knife.

The next step was to make the Harmon on the blade. The Harmon is a visual effect that is created on the blade. To to this we had to coat the blade in a clay made of ash. You coat the blade thickly and then using a wooden paint brush you remove parts of it to make waves. The next part is the heating of the knife. The knife gets put in the heat and you cook it above the embers and then in the embers. The part with no clay heats quicker, where as where the clay is covering heats slower creating the Harmon.

After this the blacksmith cleaned up our knives and engraved our names in them. While we played with his Shiba Ibu dog. Cutiest thing ever. After nearly 6 hours working in the forge we were dropped back at the station.

It was meant to have taken 4 hours, but we were slow. We took the train back one station and walked across to Kameoka torroko station. We had decided to take the romantic scenic railway to Arashiyama. This is a 25min train ride that went along the Arashiyma river. Althouugh the day was overcast it was a beautiful train ride. We noticed how many landslide there had been lately with the typhoons.

We arrived in Arashiyma late so most things had closed up for the day. The one thing that was good about this was that there was no one is the bamboo forest. So it was a much more pleasent experience. It is a very pretty bamboo forest.

We headed back into Kyoto for dinner and found our way to Ramen Street. Ramen street is actually on the 10th floor of Kyoto station. We stopped and looked at the view over Kyoto from the very top. We also got to see the stair illuminations show on the huge stair case at Kyoto Station.

We spent our last night going to an arcade and shopping around Kyoto. Such an amazing country this it.