For the last few years, I’ve lived in Gifu Prefecture in central Japan. Gifu is mostly made up of the old provinces of Hida and Mino, and has historically been the center of swordmaking. More recently though, with the opening of Chubu International Airport and the completion of the Tokai Loop Expressway, a large number of companies have been establishing themselves in the prefecture.
Gifu governor, Hajime Furuta says:
The Seki Techno Hi-Land, a fusion of cutting-edge IT businesses and beautiful parklands, is home to many such enterprises. So too is the Techno Plaza, which aims to promote the formation of an “intellectual cluster” based on a concept of business development and the creation of new technologies through a union of IT and manufacturing. (Source)
Kakamigahara is one of Gifu’s biggest cities and is making its name in the field of aerospace engineering, particularly due to the presence of Kawasaki Heavy Industries which has a division devoted to aerospace engineering. Kakamigahara also boasts an aerospace museum and the large Gifu Self-Defense Force air base. In addition to this, just down the road from my house is the Techno Plaza, a huge industrial estate that has attracted some hi-tech companies, including contact lens manufacturer, Menicon.
The Techno Plaza’s concept is “Advancement of prefectural industries and creation of new technologies through an integration of IT and manufacturing”. It brings together IT, Virtual Reality (VR), robot and digital media related enterprises for further development as a global hub of manufacturing for the 21st century that can disseminate information worldwide. (Source)
I decided to take the family for a walk around the Techno Plaza to see what all the fuss is about. Knowing full well that nothing would be open on a Sunday evening, I was content just to take a few pictures of the modern buildings that house these companies. I’m curious about the virtual reality and robot research going on, so hopefully I’ll be able to visit the Techno Plaza again sometime and learn more.
Note: The barren land in the first picture below is actually Techno Plaza II, a huge area that will expand on the already established Techno Plaza I in the top-left of the first picture.