During the latter half of the 19th century, Japan was the first non-Western nation to undergo modern industrialization and achieve rapid growth, which it did in an extremely short space of time.
With a focus on coal, the fuel that was the major driving force behind this change, and the iron and steel and shipbuilding that developed alongside this, a series of properties in Kyushu, Yamaguchi and related areas were inscribed collectively in July 2015 as World Cultural Heritage.
Yawata Steel Works First Head Office
The First Head Office was built in 1899, two years before Yawata Steel Works opened up for production. It is a red brick building with bilateral symmetry and a central dome, with rooms including the director’s office, the chief engineer’s office and a room for visiting foreign technicians.
Yawata Steel Works Repair Shop
The Repair Shop was built in 1900 using designs and steel materials from Germany’s Gutehoffnungshütte Radsatz GmbH (GHH). It was used for the fabrication and assembly of all parts and the repair of machinery used at the Steel Works. It is the oldest existing steel-structured building in Japan and, more than 110 years later, is still a repair shop.
Yawata Steel Works Former Forge Shop
The Former Forge Shop is a steel-structured building that was also built in 1900 using designs and steel materials from GHH for the purpose of manufacturing forgings needed for the construction of the steel works. It is currently being used as a steel works museum.
Yawata Steel Works first came into operation in 1901. Its Higashida Daiichi Blast Furnace (10th repaired blast furnace) became a Designated Cultural Property and opened to the public as a historical park. In addition to being able to look inside the furnace, there is a square with panels where you can learn about its history, as well as exhibits including a wagon that was used to carry pig iron melted in the furnace. In July 2015, “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Kyushu-Yamaguchi and Related Areas” was inscribed as World Cultural Heritage. “Yawata Steel Works and Related Facilities” is one of the component properties, and Higashida Daiichi Blast Furnace is an eye-catching symbol of this.
Japan is a country of manufacturing.
Its technologies and designs have brought about wide-ranging innovations. Kitakyushu Innovation Gallery aims to conserve the many amazing technologies of Kitakyushu, Japan and the world along with their history for future generations.
In addition to a permanent gallery introducing industrial technologies and history, as well as special exhibitions featuring industrial design, science and architecture, the gallery also holds a diverse range of events including design courses, public lectures, and workshops.
A visit to this museum will give you many new perspectives on the “things” you take for granted in your daily life.
At one point, Kitakyushu’s skies were choked with “seven colors of smoke,” and Dokai Bay was so polluted that fish were unable to survive there, leading to the nickname “Sea of Death.”
At Kitakyushu Environment Museum, you can learn about the history of the area’s past pollution issues and the measures that were taken to reclaim its blue sky and sea.
The museum also provides practical and fun information on how to lead a more eco-friendly life.
You are sure to be amazed at the environmental technologies of Kitakyushu, a city that has come into the global spotlight for its progressive environmental initiatives.
Every day, the museum holds free workshops on recycling.
Outside the museum building, you will also find the “Earth Path,” where visitors can experience the story of our planet, from its birth to the present day.
Drop by and experience the grand mysteries and wonders of planet Earth, a story written by Kuramoto So, one of the most famous Japanese scriptwriters.
Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History is the largest museum of its kind in western Japan.
Based on the concept of the “journey of life,” visitors to the museum can enjoy highly entertaining exhibits that are both fun and insightful.
The museum houses a number of reconstructed skeleton specimens, such as a 35m long seismosaurus and a stegosaurus, transporting visitors back to the age of the dinosaurs.
Another highlight of the museum is the Time-Travelling Room, where robotic dinosaurs come to life in dioramas which reconstruct Kitakyushu during the Mesozoic and Cretaceous eras.
There is also the History Zone, which reconstructs a Yayoi period dwelling and displays Tangible Cultural Properties.