A collection of leading-edge technology
from an era dating back more than 100 years
Coal supported Japan's industrial revolution and was the source of energy for the foundation of modern Japan. The Miike coal mine complex, which was located on the boarder of Arao City and neighboring Omuta City, Fukuoka, was very productive and prosperous. The centerpiece of the complex was the Manda coal mine and its two vertical shafts that were some of the largest of their kind in Japan and built using all the latest techniques available in the Meiji era. The two shafts were constructed between the end of the 1800s and the early 1900s and were fully equipped with the necessary machinery and equipment. Production at the mine peaked in the early 1900s as it supported the development of industry in Japan. However, coal mining efficiency declined in the late 1900s and the predominate world energy resource shifted from coal to oil which forced the Manda coal mine to end operations in 1997.
Manda coal mine added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List
Since the mine's closure, the Manda coal mine has been designated an important national cultural asset as one of the sites that supported the modernization of Japan with its existing facilities and machinery carefully preserved. In addition to the Manda coal mine, a number of modern industrial heritage sites remain in Arao and Omuta Cities and are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List as Modern Industrial Heritage Sites in Kyushu and Yamaguchi.
Conveying the past joys and hardships to
the people of today
The well-preserved, large brick buildings are well worth visiting, as are the mine entrances from which the miners descended and ascended, while the machinery house with its large machinery is awe inspiring.
The second shaft tower, which was constructed in 1908, was equipped with a cage elevator used for sending miners and equipment up and down the mine shaft. The shaft is now filled in but when the mine was in operation, the shaft reached a depth of 274 meters. The elevator operation control room is preserved as it was when it was in operation. The elevator winches that the miner lives were dependent on and winches for transporting goods are well preserved, and visitors are able to see the actual equipment. The wooden lockers and helmets used by the miners are still left as they were during the mine's operating days so that visitors can experience the atmosphere of the mine in its heyday when coal supported industry development. A stone statue known as Yama-no-kami that each morning miners would pray to for safety still stands at the site, conveying the past joys and hardships of the miners and engineers to the people of today.