• Culture
  • Gunma

Tomioka Silk Mill

"Tastes of JAPAN by ANA" is a regional vitalization project that collaborates with the different prefectures in Japan to present the Land of the Rising Sun in all of its diverse glory.

Tomioka Silk Mill, the driving force behind Japan's modernization

Located in Gunma Prefecture, Tomioka Silk Mill was established by the Japanese government in 1872 as a model factory equipped with Western silk-reeling machines aimed at advancing Japan's modernization. Its success in high-volume production of quality raw silk contributed greatly to the popularization of silk throughout the world. Today, much of the main facilities from its founding are still preserved in good condition. Highly acclaimed for its historical value, the mill was registered as a World Heritage site in June 2014.

In an effort to put Japan on equal footing with the rest of the world, the Japanese government of the Meiji era (1868-1912) pushed forward with the country's industrial and scientific modernizations. As a way to generate funding for such efforts, the government focused on the export of raw silk along with establishing a state-run model factory equipped with Western silk-reeling machines in order to improve raw silk quality and raise productivity, as well as to train technical supervisors. The high-quality raw silk produced at Tomioka Silk Mill greatly contributed to the popularization of silk around the world. The image on the right illustrates the mill during its time of operation.

A number of shops offering silk and mulberry plant products are located in the areas surrounding Tomioka Silk Mill. A rich variety of products are available as great souvenirs of Tomioka, including silk goods such as handkerchiefs and neckties, as well as soaps and cosmetics using silk and sweets with mulberry leaves.

The route from the station to Tomioka Silk Mill is a fun place for dining and snacking, ranging from Gunma's local cuisine to snacks you can enjoy as you stroll through town. Try the silkworm-shaped sweets or delicious gelato mixed with mulberry leaves.

Location

Name Tomioka Silk Mill
Web Sites http://www.tomioka-silk.jp.e.wv.hp.transer.com/tomioka-silk-mill/
Address 1-1 Tomioka, Tomioka-shi, Gunma
Access Approximately 15 minutes' walk from Joshu-Tomioka Station on the Joshin Electric Railway
Business Hours 9:00 to 17:00 (Final entry at 16:30)
Closed December 29 to 31
Inquiries TEL: 0274-64-0005
Admission Adults: 1,000 yen; College and high school students (must have school ID): 250 yen; Junior high school and elementary students: 150 yen; Pre-school and under: free

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