Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites

Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites

Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites comprise a technological ensemble depicting the significant technological interchange and development that enabled the realization of the mass production of high-quality raw silk from the latter half of the 19th century into the 20th century, during the period when the world market was unified through international trade. This ensemble brought about developments in the global silk industry as well as a popularization of silk consumption.

Mass production of high-quality raw silk was achieved through innovations not only in reeling technology but also in silkworm rearing methods for increased production of high-quality cocoons. This property has components that showcase the process of technological innovation of silk reeling as well as sericulture that supports it and thus is an outstanding example that conveys the entire raw silk production process.

Tomioka Silk Mill

■ Tomioka Silk Mill (Tomioka City)
Tomioka Silk Mill was established by the Meiji government in 1872 as a governmental mechanical reeling factory. The timber-framed brick building of the cocoon warehouse and silk-reeling plants remains intact today. The Mill was dedicated to reeling even after it was privatized, and as a cutting-edge example of the development of reeling technology it brought the Japanese sericulture and reeling industry to a world-class standard. The east and west cocoon warehouses and the reeling plant were designated as National Treasures and five other buildings and two subsidiary structures have been designated as Important Cultural Properties and national Historic Sites.

Tajima Yahei Sericulture Farm

■ Tajima Yahei Sericulture Farm (Isezaki City)
Built in 1863, this main building with a ventilation system is an innovative architectural structure for sericulture. It was originally designed and built specifically for practicing the seiryo-iku method. This two-story house with a tiled roof and raised roof section for ventilation became the origin of modern sericulture farmhouse architecture in Japan. It has been designated as a national Historic Site.

Takayama-sha Sericulture School

■ Takayama-sha Sericulture School (Fujioka City)
Chogoro Takayama established a method called seion-iku for raising silkworms, which involved careful control of ventilation and temperature. Takayama-sha Sericulture School, founded by Chogoro Takayama, spread the technique to the rest of the country and overseas, and seion-iku became the standard method of sericulture in Japan. Takayama-sha has been designated as a national Historic Site.

Arafune Cold Storage

■ Arafune Cold Storage (Shimonita Town)
One of the largest cold storage facilities in Japan for silkworm eggs, making use of natural cold airflow that travels through gaps between rocks. Arafune Cold Storage utilizes this refrigeration technique to increase the annual rearing cycle to multiple cycles and enabled increased production. It has been designated as a national Historic Site.

Name of Property Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites
Components Tomioka Silk Mill, Tajima Yahei Sericulture Farm, Takayama-sha Sericulture School, Arafune Cold Storage
Location Tomioka City, Isesaki City, Fujioka City, and Shimonita Town in Kanra-gun in Gunma Prefecture
Date of Nomination January 2013
Date of Inscription June 2014
Category Culture
Photos were provided by Gunma Prefecture (Tomioka Silk Mill, Tajima Yahei Sericulture Farm, Takayama-sha Sericulture School, Arafune Cold Storage)

* Some images are omitted on the website to protect intellectual property rights.

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