Asia Specialists: Ancient Crafts

Japanese Swordsmith Master

On this unique and enthralling program guests can explore the workshop of a respected Japanese swordsmith master as they embark on a day trip from Tokyo to neighboring Saitama prefecture. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, guests take the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Saitama and visit the workshop where the master delights in showing the basics of the sword making process. There is plenty of time to talk about the historic importance of swords in Japan’s before enjoying a delicious barbecue in his private garden (or sake tasting in case of rain). This is a uniquely personal and insightful exploration into a fascinating aspect of Japanese culture.

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Bangkok’s Historic Neighborhoods

The ancient and traditional crafts of Bangkok’s neighborhoods are not as easily seen as they used to be. But for those in the know such as our Destination Asia guides, they know where to still find them in this modern metropolis. The neighborhood of Baan Bat (Monk’s Bowl Village) is one the last remaining enclaves of local artisans who create Buddhist alms bowls by hand, revealing a true craftsmanship that can be traced in this neighborhood from the early 1700’s.

Join us as we explore the heart Baan Bat and meet the men and women who hand forge and hammer out these religious bowls by hand from steel. Each bowl is assembled from eight strips of metal that represent Buddha’s Eightfold Path. Strips are fired for six hours, hammered into a curve, overlaid like spokes and soldered together. The surface is then polished and lacquered to provide a deep sheen that symbolizes generosity. Experience this ancient practice while learning the true significance of this unique art and its connection to Buddhism in Thailand.

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