Heritage of Stone
HERITAGE OF STONE
Recognized as Japan Heritage, Komatsu’s Heritage of Stone, sustained by both the blessings of the land and innovation of our people, can be found embedded within diverse sites!
As the site of one of two quarries in Komatsu that remains active, the area is a chest of both stone and nature’s treasures. Set off on a stone hunt to find the five arch bridges made of Takigahara stone, and uncover the old quarry now beautifully cloaked in greenery. If you’re looking for something new, tours of the current quarry are also permitted with prior appointment! (contact us for more details).
Art fans will be delighted to stumble upon the sculptural work of Scottish artist Julie Brook within the quarry, a hand-built wall parallel to the quarry walls that create a fascinating sensory experience as one walks through.
You may not have heard of Kanagaso before, but its stone is actually pretty famous! It’s not hard to understand why once you’ve seen it in person: its golden glow adds a quiet elegance to its buildings, including the National Diet Building! Many structures in Komatsu make use of this beautiful yellow stone, including the Higashi Sake Brewery, and in Kanagaso itself, Scottish artist Julie Brook has rearranged the quarry stone into a flight of stairs that accentuate the beauty of the quarry.
Speaking of stairs, you can also ascend the 555 steps of nearby Kannonyama, to find a sacred cave where the Goddness of Mercy is enshrined, as well as refreshing views of the Sea of Japan. Afterwards, catch a breather at the Kananbo Café housed within a traditional kominka townhouse, where the locals will enchant you with fascinating tales and warm drinks and sweets.
Natadera Temple was established by the great monk Taicho 1300 years ago in the year 717. Visitors to the temple grounds can admire the distinctive and craggy stones and cliffs; volcanic rocks eroded over the millennia by wind and rain. In addition, 7 buildings and sections within Natadera Temple have been designated nationally important cultural properties or sceneries, which ensures their preservation for future generations to enjoy.Map
Best of Autumn in Komatsu: A Preview Little Local Finds: Winter Wonderlands
Komatsu Castle Stone Wall
Upon retirement, Lord Maeda Toshitsune, the third Kaga lord, moved into Komatsu Castle. All that is left of the castle today are these walls of the castle keep, but they make an intriguing specimen of the advanced skill required to build such complicated structures back then. Note the cute patchwork of differently-shaped and colored stones!Map
Higashi Sake Brewing Company
This reputable brewery will impress not just with its sake, but the twelve buildings that make up its brewery complex, all registered as cultural properties. The four main halls, constructed of local Kanagaso tuff stone, make an especially striking sight. In 2019 Higashi completed an extensive renovation of a traditional stone warehouse where small events and concerts are held, adding to the overall charm of this brewery’s unique architecture.Map
Also on the grounds is Keisho-an, a sukiya-style tea house and garden where tea ceremonies and seasonal sake tastings can be arranged by prior appointment.
You can book a tour of the brewery for a modest fee of 500 yen, from April to November, which includes a voucher of the same amount that can be used to purchase sake.
Higashi Sake Brewing Company (JTA Article)
Yusenji Copper Mine Remains
Once a flourishing mine town, it now serves as a memorial park rich in both nature and history… and the origins of now world-famous machine-maker, Komatsu Ltd. Specifically, the founder of Komatsu Ltd., Takeuchi Meitaro, was the owner of this mine before venturing into making his own mining machines. At the entrance lies a statue of this innovative pioneer, appropriately adorned with sakura trees in spring. And right beside is the Satoyama Mirai Museum, where the history of the mining town is retold through pictures.Map
Venture deeper to find a tranquil cedar wood which is covered in a pale lilac carpet of irises in May. If you’re up for the full historical and nature immersion, you can do the entire hike up the mining hill which takes you past remaining structures such as a giant chimney that looks like something out of an adventure film!
Memoirs of May: Festivals, Flowers & Food
Archaeological Research Center
If you want an immersive learning experience of Komatsu’s stone heritage, this is the place! Apart from a gallery of stone artifacts, some of which can be freely touched, hands-on workshops such as magatama-bead making are regularly conducted…for free!Map
Mountain Road to Recovery (Part 2)
Kodayama Old Burial Mounds Museum
Since clusters of burial mounds from the ancient eras were discovered in Komatsu, extensive excavation works and research has been poured into uncovering their secrets and stories. This museum presents those hard-earned findings, including reconstructions of some of two of the mounds: one serving as the centerpiece of the museum, and another outdoors upon the adjacent hill.Map
Ogoya Mine Museum & Ogoya Mine Road
The history of the Ogoya Mine extends back to the Edo Period (17th~19th cen.). Despite its humble beginnings, it overcame all odds to rank 8th in national copper production by 1920. The Yokoyama family that ran the mine even gained the nickname of “Copper Kings of Hokuriku”. While the eventual decline of the mining industry led to its inevitable closure in 1971, you can still relive their heydays through not just museum exhibits but an entire 553m stretch of the preserved mine tunnel. Life-sized models recreate the ambience and scenes of the busy operations.Map
The Hanibe Caves were founded by the first-generation master sculptor Yuma Tsugata in 1951, when he converted the former quarry into an atelier housing his sculpted pieces. Facing the parking lot is the symbol of Hanibe Caves, the “Hanibe Shakyamuni Daibutsu”. It is a massive Buddha statue that symbolizes the desire for peace. Various other (smaller, of course) sculptures can be found scattered all around the grounds.Map
Little Local Finds: Winter Wonderlands