A blast furnace in the early period of modern iron manufacturing with the mountain contributing to industry
The Hashino Blast Furnace Ruins is a group of industrial relics built between a mountain and a valley stretching across a narrow 300m length. Among the highlights of the 3 blast furnaces built in the 19th century, the facilities of the Tane incinerator and the Tane granulator which were used for processing the iron ore, the Daimon blast furnace entrance to monitor the comings and goings of people into the facility, and the payment area that served as an office are all that remain. The surrounding nature was essential for creating high-grade iron, so high-quality granite found in the immediate vicinity was used for the walls for the furnace and the rich forest was cut down to make charcoal to fulfill important roles for the blast furnace. As well, in respect to the mountain as a god, a monument and a shrine torii are erected in the middle of the tranquility of the area so that a mysterious scene linking industrial civilization and nature through worship can be witnessed.
The path toward being recognized as a World Heritage site: “The fusion of Western scientific technology and Japanese culture”
The construction of the blast furnace came about from the then-isolated Japan’s resistance to being forced open by the Western powers. There was an effort toward the manufacture of artillery which required high technology, and all over Japan, the construction of blast furnaces progressed with Western technology. As one of those furnaces, Hashino began operations in 1858. Afterwards, two furnaces were built by 1860 and operations continued until 1894. In 1957, the oldest surviving Western-style blast furnace was recognized as a National Historic Site, and in 1984, it was given the Historical Landmark Award by the American Metals Association. And then in 2015, the site was recognized for “…its extremely rare history of achieving within a very short period of time the merging of the spread of Western scientific technology with Japanese culture”, and was registered as a World Heritage site in tandem with industrial relics from the same age in places like Kyushu and Yamaguchi as one of the grouping of historic sites known as “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining”.