Tatara iron making is a traditional method passed down for a thousand years.

Long ago, people gathered iron sand from mountains, rivers, and oceans and fired it with charcoal to make iron. They made various improvements to their techniques over time, culminating in this unique iron making method. Characteristic to Japanese tatara iron making is the tatara furnace.

Scholars believe that people on the Japanese archipelago first discovered iron in the middle of the Yayoi Period (300 BCE-300 CE). Domestic production of primitive iron tools began shortly after.

The village of Sannai, consisting of people at all levels of the iron production process, was built around the ironworks as the center of production. The location was purposefully set near an expanse of trees for charcoal, iron sand, flowing water, and the conditions for convenient shipping of completed iron and food importation.