Back in 1969, a very strong typhoon hit the Mie Prefecture. The all-white mine of Shiraishi could not stand the strong winds. Its gigantic wooden shelves were shaken way too hard and pretty much all the limestone powder stored on those shelves was washed away with the rain. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the Shiraishi Mine ceased to be. A product exactly called Hakuenka (白艶華) which was first produced here, is exported throughout the world even today by the same company, called Shiraichi, who owns a few more mines, still active.
The day we visited was a beautiful one, without a cloud in the sky. Perfect for a hike through all the green surrounding and covering this Shiraishi Mine. We jumped through the rubbles, feeling like Alice in a perfect wonderland. The river run on one side and the entry is easily accessible over a little fence.
This factory was a cleverly designed one and it is a shame that it ended up abandoned. If you look from high up, you can see that the whole factory is built along the slope of the mountain, at the bottom of which runs the happy river we just walked by. The slope has made it possible to run the whole factory solely by the almighty gravity. If you do need electricity somewhere, it is generated by water from the top of the mountain.
The icy spring water right next to the parking place was a great ending of the day. However, it might not really be a spring but rather the water from the river that might even be polluted. But the two times I visited Shiraishi there was always a queue of people there, filling huge tanks of water. They said it is tasty and healthy. We washed our hands, filled up our water bottles and left for new adventures.
- 1921 – 1961
- Location: Mie Prefecture
- Nippon No Haikyo: 108