Nirayama Furnace Sign General Information Sign Nirayama Furnace Nirayama Furnace
Nirayama Furnace Sign General Information Sign Nirayama Furnace Nirayama Furnace
Air Entry Tapping Area Detail of Air Flow Detail of Foundation
Air Entry Tapping Area Detail of Air Flow Detail of Foundation
Cannon Founder Cannon
Cannon Founder Cannon
Old Picture of Furnace Old Picture of Home Old Picture of Furnace Activity
Old Picture of Furnace Old Picture of Founder Home Old Picture of Furnace Operation


I was able to visit this furnace during a business trip to Japan in September of 2004.

The following information was provided by the Niriyama Historical Site

The Outline of Nirayama Reverberatory Furnace

The Nirayama Reverberatory Furnace on the Izu Peninsular is furnace made toward the end of the Edo Era (1854-1857) for the purpose of casting cannons. Although Japan was closing its doors to foreign countries at that time, Westerners came to Japan, asking the country to open its ports. Under such circumstances, Japan developed a coastal defense policy using batteries at major ports to drive away foreign ships. They, therefore, had to manufacture a large volume of efficient iron cannons at low cost, and accordingly reverberatory furnaces were constructed at several places in the country. However, only two of them remain in two places (Nirayama and Hagi) at present, and the one at Nirayama is the only one that retains most of its original form.

The Nirayama Reverberatory Furnace was built in 1854 (the first year of the Ansei period) by Egawa Tarozaemon Hidetatsu (Duke Tan-an). In November of the same year, two reverberatory furnaces in the south were completed. But in January of the second year if the Ansei period Duke Tan-an passed away. His oldest son Hidetoshi continued working on his father's projects and another two reverberatory furnaces in the north were built.In the spring of the 4th year of the Ansei period, all of them were completed. By 1864 (the first year of the Ganji period), large and small cannons were used at the fort in Shinagawa.

The construction technique of the reverberatory furnace was introduced from the Netherlands, and the structure of the Nirayama Reverberatory Furnace is almost identical to the one specified in the Dutch instruction manual. The Furnace consists of two twin structures and there are a pair of furnaces enclosed by fire-resisting bricks in each stone base (5x6x2 m^3). Each pair of furnaces of the two bases meet at a right angle on the gate sides (the side from which the melted metal flows out) so that the melted metal from the four furnaces can be mixed at one place.

The production ability of one furnace is estimated at 2-3 tons, and therefore a maximum of 150 pound cannons could be produced when the four furnaces were operated simultaneously. The inside of the furnaces are bow shaped to increase the amount of heat reflection, and further, the outlets are narrower on the gate sides. The upper parts of the furnace, 15.6 m in height, are made from bricks, and work as chimneys to secure natural ventilation. It is said that they were equal in standard today's blast furnaces. The present iron frames were added later fro asiesmatic reinforcement.

The site was a cannon manufacturing factory with the reverberatory furnace at its center, and work-huts surrounding it. The Furnace is designated as a national cultural asset adn is protected by the government as it is a precious historical monument to the dawning of Japanese industrialization.

First Visited: 3Q 2004


Start of Operation: 1854


Daily Tonnage: 2-3 tons per furnace, or 8-12 tons per day

Built By: Egawa Tarozaemon Hidetatsu (Duke Tan-an)

Stack: 15.6 m (About 51 feet)

Blast: Hot

Type: Charcoal


The site is located at Nishibashi, Japan, located south-southeast of Tokyo.

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