The second day we rode from Fukaya to Isobe Onsen, Gunma Pref.
On the way, we stopped at “Tomioka Silk Mill”, where I’ve been to visit the site since it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.
8:00 AM Fukaya to Yoshii Station
We rode on the quiet street along with Shinkansen railroad to Kamisato town because my present boss who is a cyclist grew up near Fukaya Town recommended it.
Fukaya City is always famous for “Fukaya Negi, Japanese bunching onion.
When my son found Negi field, he stopped to take photos.
After crossed Tone River, we entered in Gunma, the third prefecture from Tokyo. Then we had to ride busy R254 to Yoshii Station, Jyoshin Dentetsu Line.
10:50 Yoshii Station to Tomioka Station
I had known that we can bring our bikes on Jyoshin Dentetsu train without packing. Almost all trains in Japan we have to pack our bikes in the bicycle bag.
We wanted to experience it and it was also a good idea to avoid riding in the hottest time in a short period.
11:30 Tomioka Silk Mill
We got off the train and went to the Tomioka Silk Mill.
Tomioka Silk Mill is a first mechanized silk-reeling factory established by the Meiji Government in 1872.
At that time, the main export of Japan was silk. Moreover, silkworm diseases spread across Europe, the demand for silk increased.
The government invited French experts and built government-operated model factories with western latest technology.
There are also some remains of dormitories for female workers who collected all over Japan.
They learned how to operate machines and became instructors in the factories of their hometown.
12:00 Joined the guided tour
We joined the guided tour and heard some interesting stories.
- You can see various workmanship in the same brick building because Japanese brickyard workers and bricklayers had no skills and they improved their skills during the construction.
- At first, few women applied to work in the factory because when they saw western people drunk red wine, they thought it was a mix of blood and water and they feared their blood might be collected when they entered into the factory. But some brave daughters of Samurai family applied because Samurai lost their job and status after the Meiji Restoration.
- The working condition of female workers was not bad. They worked seven hours and forty-five minutes a day and had a day off on Sundays. But after the factory was sold to the private sector, the condition deteriorated.
We had lunch at a restaurant in front of the mill.
14:00 Go to Isobe Onsen
We climbed a steep hill from Tomioka to Isobe.
15:00 Isobe Onsen
We reached Miharukan, a Japanese traditional Onsen Ryokan. After we took Onsen, we strolled in the town.
Isobe Onsen is famous as the birthplace of Japanese Onsen pictogram(♨️).
It was my first visit to Isobe Onsen but the quality of the hot spring water was excellent.
My son slipped on moss of the river bank and get wet.
The supper was delicious. Especially Tofu boiled with hot spring water was light and fluffy.
Distance: 46.22 km