|Notes on environmental awareness and sense of place||
Environmental Art & Media
July 14, 2003
Oya underground quarry
In 2001, I visited the Oya stone quarry in Oya-machi in Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture. This was the source of the stone used by architect Frank Lloyd Wright for the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Description from the Japan Information Network:
One of the mines closed in 1986 after almost 70 years in operation, and has since reopened as the OYA Stone Museum. The old mine is essentially a huge cavern with a floor area measuring 20,000 square meters, equivalent to about two soccer fields. The floor lies 30 meters under the ground. The museum explains how the tuff was formed and gives a variety of information on oya-ishi stone, such as its distribution and the history of the mines. This huge cavern was formed over 70 years of stone-mining works, and is now an interpretive center and hall for events. What impresses visitors the most is the huge size of the mine, the way the rocks were cut out in geometric shapes, and the uncanny atmosphere of the cavern. The cavern is also used for art exhibitions, concerts, and performances of traditional Noh theater, and as a location for shooting movies and TV shows.