Tsubame Sanjo is the name of a region well-known for its superior metalworking technology. It is located in the central area of Niigata Prefecture and is a centre for the production of cutlery, hardware, and Western tableware.
It is a combination of the names Tsubame City and Sanjo City. Tsubame was originally a city of craftsmen, while Sanjo was a city of commerce. Sanjo merchants spread hardware and western tableware produced in Tsubame City and, as a result, the current image of Tsubame-Sanjo as a “manufacturing town” spread.
The history of metalworking in Tsubame Sanjo, which is gaining international acclaim, dates back to the Edo period. Because it was difficult to develop new rice paddies in Tsubame Sanjo, which was prone to flooding, people began making nails instead. The nail making in the region can be traced all the way back to when it spread as a side job for farmers. The metalworking techniques in the region have advanced since then, making Tsubame-Sanjo the world-renowned metalworking town.