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Tomioka Silk Mill

Tomioka Silk MillTomioka Silk Mill is the Japan's first modern factory founded in Tomioka city.
It is located about 0.6 km southwest of Joshu-Tomioka station on Joshin Railways.

After opening the country in the 1860s, silk was one of Japan's important exports.
But it was handcrafted in Japan to spin silkworm cocoons into a thread.
So by rapid increase in exports, production bottlenecks reduced the quality substantially.

In the result, the Japanese government decided to found a modern factory with large-scale machines.
So the government imported silk reeling machines and steam engines from France, under the lead of Paul Brunat who was a French engineer staying in Japan.
Then the large factory was built in 1872 in Tomioka city boasting a sericultural industry.

This state-run factory had several hundred excellent female workers from all over the country.
And it had created high-quality silk again, then the Japanese silk enjoyed a reputation abroad.

In 1893, this factory was sold into private hands, and it had been operated until 1987.
It was designated as a national historic spot in 2005, and was designated as a national important cultural property in 2006.

And, this was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2014.

Most buildings in this factory are relatively in good preservation.
When you visit here, you must take part in its paid guided tour.

Tomioka Silk Mill official website : The website by Tomioka City

How to get to here

By railroad

  1. By Joetsu-shinkansen, about 50-60 minutes from Tokyo to Takasaki.
  2. Change to the train on Joshin Railways. Get off at Joshu-Tomioka station. About 35-40 minutes from Takasaki.
  3. On foot, about 10 minutes.

By car

  1. Run Kan-etsu and Joshin-etsu Expressways, and exit Fujioka Exit. About 100 km from Tokyo. About 1 hours 15 minutes.
  2. About 3 km to central Tomioka city from Tomoika Exit.
    This spot has no parking area, so you must find it in the city.

Front gate of Tomioka Silk Mill East Cocoon Warehouse
West Cocoon Warehouse Silk Manufacturing Plant
Interior of Workshop Dormitory for Women Workers
Administration Building Brunat House
All photoes are provided by Tomioka city, and I have posted them on this page with permission of the city.

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