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Yawata Steel Works
Yawata Steel Works located in Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture was the second steel mill built in Japan and is known as the birthplace of modern Japanese steel as well as the symbol of steel production in Kitakyushu. One section of the factory is known as a special remains from the Japanese industrial revolution in the Meiji period and is registered as an official World Cultural Heritage site. These steel works were chosen as the first site for heavy industry facilities in Japan. Held in the fall is the symbolic “Kigyo-sai Yahata” festival of Kitakyushu which began in 1901 and celebrates the opening of Yawata Steel Works. The festival is held every year in memory of the opening of the factory and offers many exciting events. There is also a park preserved as a monument in one section of the steel mill facilities.
- 1-1 Tobita-cho, Tobata, Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka
- Watching the factory nightscape on foot: From the north exit of the JR Kokura Station, head on the path towards the Asano Shio-Kaze Koen (Ocean Breeze Park) along the water from which you can see the factory nightscape.
- Official Website
- Admission fee
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Fantastical Treasure Trove of Beautiful Factory Nightscapes
There are very few people even in Japan who aren’t spellbound by the beautiful night views of the factories. The aesthetic architecture of the massive plant constructions, their reflections on the water’s surface, and the whole night view wrapped in lights is nothing less than romantic. There are many places all over the city from which one can get stunning views of the industrial zones of Kitakyushu. (Special night view cruises run from the Kokura Bay every 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Saturdays.)
World Cultural Heritage Site Registered as “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution”
In 2015, various facilities of the Yawata Steel Works such as the former administration building, repair shop, and old forge are registered as an official World Cultural Heritage Site because of their contribution to the four industries of “Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution of iron, steel, shipbuilding and coal mining.” This is a valuable cultural property which reveals the fusion of industrial techniques imported from the West along with traditional Japanese culture that had progressed so rapidly over such a short time.
Preserved Section of the Factory: Higashida Blast Furnace No. 1 Historical Park
The No. 1 blast furnace of the Yawata Steel Works is a monument preserved as a historical park. The giant blast furnace is just as the name suggests, a massive 100 m tall furnace that would extract the pit iron from the iron ores which was very important to the facilities’ production. This blast furnace with such practical structural beauty is also the symbol of the steel works.