Historical Museum of Iron
Learn about iron culture and craftsmen's skills
in the place where the traditional "Tatara" iron making method flourished
Yoshida-cho, Unnan City in Shimane Prefecture is where Japan's unique traditional "Tatara iron making method" technology developed. In the Tatara iron making method, iron sand and charcoal are alternately put in an oven made from clay, and a bellows called "Fuigo" is used to blow air and burn the charcoal, decompose the iron sand, and recompose it to get iron. In its peak during the Edo Era, this area produced about 70 % to 80 % of national iron production, and this was said to be the world's highest quality.
Iron made by Tatara masters (iron making craftsmen) was a vital material for building better lives for common people. The Tanabe family played a central role in this. At the Iron and Steel History Museum, one can see iron making history and technology, a description of the Tanabe family, and the role played by iron. A workshop of that era is also reproduced, which is really interesting to see. The history is shown from various angles, using many things such as old tools and documents. Diorama exhibits in various places in the museum show lifelike scenes of craftsmen's movements, enthusiasm and work.
Address: 2533 Yoshida, Yoshida-cho, Unnan City, Shimane
Hours open to visitors: 9:00 to 17:00
Admission Fee: Adult 500 yen, elementary and junior high students 250 yen (discounts for 20 or more people)
Closed: Mondays (if a Monday is a holiday, then the next day)
Directions: From JR San-in Main Line, Izumoshi Station (2 hours 10 minutes from Tokyo (Haneda Airport) via Izumoshi Airport), 90 minutes from Osaka International Airport), ride the JR bus towards Akana for 47 minutes, then change at the Kakeya bus stop, and ride the bus towards Yoshida for 47 minutes, change buses at the Kakeya bus stop and take the bus towards Yoshida for 12 minutes, get off at the Yoshida-cho bus stop, and walk 3 minutes.
(Car) 30 minutes from San-in Expressway, Matsue Expressway, Mitoyakisuki Interchange