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STORY #040

Samurai Silk
Tsuruoka and Scenes of Early Modern Japan

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STORY

Tsuruoka city in Yamagata Prefecture is centered around the Shonai region, an area originally developed as the most northerly location of silk production in Japan. Swapping their swords for farming hoes, samurai warriors of the Shonai domain cleared a vast area of land, creating the Matsugaoka reclamation field where the largest silkworm farm in Japan was established.
This sericulture farm is the only location left today in Japan where all stages of silk production still take place, from the breeding of silkworms to the production of silk products. Outside of Tsuruoka, along the ancient Rokujirigoe route in the village of Tamugimata, a four-story farmhouse still stands, traditionally housing both silkworms and farmers under the same roof. The history and culture of the silk industry is preserved in Tsuruoka, particularly in the unique method of silk processing dating back to the Meiji period (1868-1912) and found nowhere else in Japan.
Efforts are also being made to create a renewed appreciation of the cultural value of silk. Experiencing the accomplishments of these silk pioneers, visitors can gain a better understanding of Japan’s modernization through the historic townscape and scenery of Tsuruoka.

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CULTURAL PROPERTIES

AREA

Tsuruoka City (Yamagata Prefecture)

ACCESS

  • Train
    • JR Tokyo Sta.(Joetsu Shinkansen)~JR Niigata Sta.~JR Tsuruoka Sta.(Approx. 4h)
  • Car
    • From the Tokyo Metropolitan Area to Kawaguchi IC(Tohoku Expressway)~Murata JCT( Yamagata Expressway)~Tsuruoka IC(Approx. 6hr)
  • Airplane
    • Haneda Airport~Shonai Airport(Local Bus/Taxi)~Tsuruoka Sta.
  • Express Bus
    • Tokyo~Tsuruoka(Approx. 8h)

CONTACT

  • Tsuruoka City Policy Planning Division
  • TEL:0235-25-2111

STORY

Samurai Silk

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