69. Tomioka Silk Mill 富岡製糸場 was the first silk production factory in Japan. It was established at the beginning of the Meiji period when Japan opened up trade links with the west. At that time the most important Japanese export was raw silk. Because raw silk was produced by hand, not enough could be made to meet demand. The government set up a model factory equipped with modern silk producing machines from France to enable the production of silk in bulk and to train local Japanese in these techniques.