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May 19, 2017 - Trip to Kadogawa in Miyazaki-ken [Matsuno Industrial Business Corp. Glass Bead and Marble Factory, Minamimachi 1-20]
The Matsuno factory sits on the bank of the Isuzu River in Minamimachi. It is the only marble factory in Japan and produces 300,000 marbles for aerosol cans and 150,000 marbles for Codd-necked soda bottles every day. The hulking, nondescript warehouse is visible from Route 10 but from speed by you would never guess that the building is full of luminous beads and marbles of all colors and sizes. Some 70 tons of marbles and 50 tons of beads are produces here each year. Matsuno beads are highly regarded outside of Japan and more than 90% are exported to countries around the world. Many end up in the Philippines, where they are used in an initiative to provide employment to women from low-income families; using Matsuno beads the women make beautiful jewelry and accessories (samples of which can be seen in the Matsuno offices).