4km long Okuragahama beach is the starting point og Clam Go Stone production at Hyuga-city.
If it were not for this beautiful beach, the Clam Go Stone producing technigue would have vanished.
Now this beach is included in a list of the top 100 beaches in Japan.
Like in old times, the beach sings the sound of the ocean.
The history of the game of go is very old. It is said that people enjoyed the game from about 1100 B.C. in China, and from Taiho-era ( 701 A.D. ～ 703 A.D. ) in japan.
They used to play it with natural white stones and black stones, but began to make Go Stones (围棋子) of clam shells in the seventeenth century.
It wasn't until the mid-Meiji era ( 1868 ～ 1912 ) however, that the clam shells of Hyuga were discovered as a material for producing Go Stones.
A pharmacist from Toyama came to Hyuga and took clams to Osaka, where they used to make Go Stones (围棋子) brought in from Hitachi and Kuwana at that time.
Compared to those from Hitachi and Kuwana, the clams of Hyuga are much thicker, more beautiful, and have a finer grain.
This led to Hyuga's Go Stones (围棋子) building a great reputation.
In 1908 a Go Stone craftsman moved from Osaka and began making Go Stones (围棋子) at Hyuga city.
Since then Clam Go Stone production became prosperous in Hyuga whilst dying out in other regions.
Though clam shells in Hyuga are on the brink of extinction and are imported largely from Mexico now, the Go Stone making technigue has been handed down from generation to generation, and now Hyuga city is the only place in Japan where Go Stones (围棋子) , including black stones are being produced.
Nachiguro Black Stone
Black Go Stones (围棋子) are made of the highest quality Nachiguro black stone, which is a mineral ore mined at *Kumano City, Mie Prefecture (near Kyoto). Nachiguro is used as a touchstone to check the purity of gold.
*Kumano is famous for the World Heritage Site.