About Japan Heritage
In April 2016, cultural landmarks in the Okuizumo region were designated as Japan Heritage sites under the moniker “Land of Izumo, Tatara Chronicle～A Thousand Years of Iron.”
The terraced rice fields, the proud Shimane tradition of Yasugi-bushi folk dance, age old festivals, and many other facets of life in the region today are all connected to tatara ironmaking, including of course the tatara itself. These were all borne of a long history of iron, as informed by the Yamata no Orochi myth.
Even now, the tamahagane produced here is used to create beautiful nihontō that attract the attention of collectors worldwide. The long history of iron is even utilized to create high-quality Yasuki Specialty Steel, used in razors and airplance parts all over the world.
Japan Heritage Recognized
Land of Izumo, Tatara Chronicle ～A Thousand Years of Iron～
The Izumo Region in Japan’s Shimane Prefecture is the only place in the world where the flame of the tatara, a traditional iron-smelting furnace, continues to burn. The region’s iron industry was a sustainable one; the mountains excavated for iron sand were turned into expanses of rice fields, and the charcoal that fueled the furnace was made from trees whose land was reforested. The system was an intentional symbiosis between man and nature. The iron trade brought literature and goods from all over Japan, fostering a regional culture as brilliant as Kyoto’s.
Today, the Izumo Region continues its tradition of iron making, a story begun by its predecessors 1000 years ago.