Japan Silk, Suwa Silk
Silk was the most popular export items during the latter half of the year 1800 till rst half of 1900. Japan used to have technology to manufacture excellent silk because of the custom of wearing Kimono, and also adopting modern technology & facility from France and Italy which made mass production of silk possible. Suwa used to be the number 1 silk producing district which produce quarter of Japan’ s total silk production at it’s peak.
Suwa silk was transferred to Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma Prefecture and export to all over the world.Suwa silk business was one of the chief support of Japan’s economy.
Honjin and Silk Manufacturing Industry
Honjin at Shimosuwa is the designated lodge for Feudal lords during Edo Period.
Honjin is famous for Princess Kazunomiya or The Emperor Meiji staying at this lodge and Iwanami family is still maintaining this precious building from ancient period. As Edo Era ends, roll of lodging business ends. After that, There was the era that Iwanami family ran silk manufacturing business with Katakura family(known as an ex owner of Tomioka Silk Mill during the year 1939~1987). Sister of 35th generation of Iwakura family married to the 3rd generation of Katakura family, Mr. Kenetaro Katakura and they supported silk business in Suwa.
At present, Honjin is open for public for showing the history and tradition of Edo, Meiji Era.
You can put on Silk Kimono at Honjin of Shimouswa.