Gunma’s 150-year-old World Heritage Site Tomioka Silk Mill continues to weave past and present.
While the rich history of silk in Asia began over 5,000 years ago, it wasn’t until the third century when Japan got to work harvesting silk, becoming a prized material for kimono weavers in the Heian Period (794-1185). It wasn’t until the Meiji Restoration in the late 1800s that production was finally modernized. And the Tomioka Silk Mill, built in southern Gunma Prefecture in 1872, was the first full-scale raw silk factory in the nation. (Photo provided by Gunma Prefecture.)