Select Page

Shiraishi Mine: An Endless Discovery

Shiraishi Mine: An Endless Discovery

1960s, Japan, Mie Prefecture. A typhoon hit the all-white mine named Shiraishi. The gigantic wooden shelves could not stand against the strong wind, nor did the limestone powder stored on those shelves which was mostly washed away with the rain.

Welcome at Shiraishi Mine

Shiraishi Mine.

Typhoon and Explorers.

Half a century later, 2 brave urban explorers from Belgium reached the very same place. And the mischievous typhoon ones again stroke Mie prefecture. Standing inside the shaking wooden rooms, they thought their lives were to end here.

Shiraishi Mine Compound

Entrance…

Luckily, the haikyo mine protected them, it did not collapse! What a great news for all urban explorers! Otherwise we could have lost 2 great urbex photographers, as well as a charming haikyo location.

Dangerous Roof

Dangerous roof.

Not as brave as they are, we chose a perfect sunny day to pay our second visit. Not a cloud in the sky, it is perfect for a hike through all the greens surrounding and covering Shiraishi. The sun shines through the leaves, the river runs happily on the side. We jump though the rubble, feeling like Alice in a perfect wonderland.

Shading Shiraishi

In the shades…

Having been here once, we should have known the route pretty well. But we still managed to get ourselves stuck in a cul-de-sac. Not to worry, there are many pictures to take on the way; walking back will not be a problem.

Stairs at Shiraishi

Up the stairs!

Mr. Shiraishi.

Awesome Buildings of Shiraishi

Awesome wooden buildings…

Ok, lecture time! What is limestone powder used for? Most people would answer ‘Chalk’! Not bad 😉 Chalk indeed is a form of limestone. Now you must be wondering do they really need so many chalks as to build such a huge mine like Shiraishi. As a matter of fact, limestone powder is used in a variety of industries like steel, plastic manufacturing, construction; it is also used as neutralizer for removing pollutants as well as for changing the acidity in soil. Even paper making involves limestone.

Entrance at Shiraishi

Right in.

As for this mine, it is normally called  Fujiwara Mine (藤原鉱山) or Shiraishi Mine (白石鉱山) by explorers, but its real name is actually Shiraishi Industry Kuwana Factory (白石工業桑名工場). It was founded by a Mr. Shiraishi (白石恒二) in 1921 and he is also the one who invented the “Shiraishi-method of manufacturing light precipitated calcium carbonate”. The corporate founded by him and his brother, named Shiraishi Calcium (白石工業), was successful with the growing need of limestone, and is now a worldwide company!

Drying at Shiraishi

Where the limestone powder rests.

The haikyo we are standing at now is such a cleverly designed factory that it is a shame that it ended up abandoned in 1969. If you look from high up, you can see the whole factory is built along the slope of the mountain, at the bottom of which runs the happy river we just walked by.

Glance

Jordy Meow at Shiraishi Mine

… Snap! … Snap!

The Result at Shiraishi

The result of Jordy Meow’s awkward position 🙂

The slope has made it possible to run the whole factory solely by the almighty gravitation. If you do need electricity somewhere, it is generated by water from the top of the mountain. Great example of ecology! A product called Hakuenka (白艶華) which was first produced here, is exported to the world even till now.

Limestone Powder

Limestone Powder.

Wondering in the Wonderland.

Under Death

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, kansai, mie, mine, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

 

 

Towards the Buildings of Shiraishi

Towards the buildings compound…

 

Climbing Shiraishi

Climbing…

 

Walk at Shiraishi

Slide

Mechanical.

Parts

Machine parts.

 

Lift It Up

Machines…

The Shack at Shiraishi

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, kansai, mie, mine, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

 

 

Truck at Shiraishi

Tsukijism.

 

Purity.

 

The White Mine Haikyo

The White Stone Mine.

 

Jing Meow Dancing at Shiraishi

Dancing or Stabilizing?

 

Mess at the Shiraishi Mine

The Mess.

 

Jing Meow smiles at Shiraishi

Portrait.

The Farewell.

Melancholy at the Mine

Shiraishi Melancholy.

Finally, the sun is setting and we should be heading back to the car.

Sunset at Shiraishi

The Day Ends.

Such a pleasant walk it has been that I really do not mind coming back to here again anytime, on an equivalent brilliant weather.

Sunshine Machine

Rust In Peace.

The icy ‘spring’ water right next to the parking place was a great ending of the day (it is actually not spring water at all…might even be polluted, but there is always a queue there with people getting huge tanks of water, apparently it is tasty and healthy…with the calcium from the factory probably :p). We washed our hands and filled up the water bottles.

Evening at Shiraishi Mine

Nice Dreams.

When the engine starts, I am missing Shiraishi Mine already. Next time, we should come back for some different pictures; maybe at night, or maybe when it snows.

  • Sylvain Bodin

    If you go there in winter, is it more white ?
    Interesting Haikyo, and pictures too.
    And just to be sure, Mister Shiraishi is a nickname, right ?
    If it’s not, you can call it fate !

    • Yes, it would be completely white, the mine would be inside out ! I checked for photos on Internet, but didn’t find anything nice strangely. I’ll think about doing more exploration next winter 🙂

      And yes, it seems it is the real guy’s name. But he might have changed it to match his business ! Who knows !

    • Haha, he has a matching name 😉 Just for the record, he did not change his name or anything, it is his real name, and he named his business after that like any boring guy world do 😛

  • Pingback: Metropolis - Travel | Shiraishi Mine()

Facebook

Who Am I

azalea, drone, flower, japan, japanese, kyushu, natural, nature, saga, spring

I am Jordy Meow, I am a French photographer living in Japan. My interest is to discover and share information about offbeat and lesser known locations for foreigners coming or living in Japan. I published books and now preparing new beautiful series of guidebooks.

asia, autumn, hokkaido, japan, japanese, lake, natural, nature

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news. Only once a month :)

You have Successfully Subscribed!