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  • Writer's pictureALEX

Visit to the Nakayama Mine Site part 3

Updated: Jan 10

The image below showing a wall of awasedo sharpening stone as it rises above the mountainside of the property that once represented the Nakayama mine site in Umegahata, Kyoto represents about 4 feet of vertical gain of a broad 60 foot high cliff of

exposed rock that I came upon in the spring of 2014.

This next photo taken from a long distance away dates to around 1968 and shows that same cliff a full height. The bulldozer was being operated by Ishihara-san of Kamioka acting as a contractor for Kato-san the owner of the mineral rights for the Nakayama mine. This was the last effort to harvest sharpening stone media from the site before

Kato-san closed down the operation. This photo was borrowed from the publication The Charm of Kyoto Sharpening Stones.

A few months ago I had the rare opportunity to walk around the property without guide or a map. My two days alone there were exciting but somewhat confusing and it was not until after the second day that I began to realize how important this bulldozer photo is as a document.

The property is well up off the main road in town, it cannot be seen and not marked in any way and although there are a few houses nearby, that is about it. This was an industrial site, more like a farm for stones and until the last few years it did not resemble a quarry. The first 800 years of the mines production found only hand carts and foot traffic to and from the site much like what would be typical in any other place in the world

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